Industrial Innovation and Environmental Regulation: Developing Workable Solutions

By Saeed Parto; Brent Herbert-Copley | Go to book overview

1
Corporate environmental
innovation and public policy:
Case studies from Taiwan

Nonita T. Yap, John Devlin, Chih Chao Wu and Shanshin Ton

Technological “innovation” is frequently conceived as the transformation of an idea into a marketable product, process or service (See for example Palda 1993; Voyer and Ryan 1994). Indeed “the perspective of a potential market” is posited as “the starting point for the chain of innovation at the firm level” (UNIDO Secretariat 1997:10). But environmental innovations within firms often do not meet this criterion. Environmental innovations, or “incremental technical change” (OECD 1993), are introduced primarily to reduce the environmental impacts of a manufacturing process or product and not for commercialization purposes (Beise and Rennings 2003). These innovations are therefore not always apparent to external observers. To study environmental innovation it is necessary to work within firms. This chapter analyses environmental innovation in 13 manufacturing enterprises in Taiwan. The study asked whether Taiwanese firms had engaged in environmental innovation, and if so, what form it had taken. The study also considered what factors influenced environmental innovation among these firms.

Previous international studies have suggested that regulations, or what are frequently called “command and control” approaches, have not played an effective role in stimulating environmental innovation (Baas et al. 1992; Hanks 1998; Kemp 2002; Palda 1993).1 Others assert that the picture is mixed (Ashford 2002; Boyd 1998; Christie et al. 1995; Ecotec 2000; Halme 1995; Hassanali-Bourdeau 2004; Lebourveau 2004; Ministry of Economic Affairs [MOEA] 1999; NUTEK 2003; Tilley 1999; Yap 1988, 2000a; Yap and Heathcote 1995; Yap and Zvauya 1999).

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