Environmental Strategy, Innovation, and the Evolution of Firms

By Blandine Laperche, Gilliane Lefebvre


The purpose of this paper is to study the place of eco-innovation in industrial firms’ current strategies and to understand how they execute changes in their technological trajectory. It is based on interviews with eight multinational corporations located in France and conducted in 2009–“2011. In a context of crisis, the firms consider eco-innovation as a new path that is able to generate a future. To refocus their strategy, they reorganize their "knowledge capital", a concept used here as a tool for studying the dynamic capabilities needed to achieve change. The capability to develop collaborative research is central to developing eco-innovation for two reasons: the need to share the costs and risks of development, and the need to comply with the various aims and objectives of the stakeholders. However, this trajectory change is both costly and risky, both in the development of new technology and the protection of the knowledge capital. The support of public policies is essential to achieving successful trajectory change. JEL Codes: F23, M14, O32, O33


  • firms
  • eco-innovation
  • trajectory
  • knowledge-capital
  • dynamic capabilities
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