The Paradoxes of Environmental Innovations: The Case of Green Chemistry

Par Romain Debref


Current environmental impacts are leaching the sector of chemistry to modify his methods of production. A special attention has been given to the main role of the green innovations in the paradigm of green chemistry. They are led by public policies that call for a sustainable transition. But what are their peculiarities? This paper aims to show that the various definitions that appear in the economic literature are restricted to integrate the technosphere and the biosphere. First, we show the difficulty to distinguish generic innovations from environmental innovations from different perspectives. Secondly, we confirm these confusions in studying their applications to the green chemistry sector. We conclude that green innovations need a reconceptualisation. Indeed, technological expectations face irreversible physical processes and rebound effects because of the quest of eco-efficiency.
JEL Codes: Q01, Q55, Q57, O14, O32, O33

  • green innovation
  • green chemistry
  • ecological industry
  • rebound effect
  • eco-efficiency
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