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Can European eco-innovation policies accelerate the uptake of product-service systems?


Author: Tan, A.R. · Diaz Lopez, F.J. · Mudgal, S. · Tukker, A.
TNO Working paper series
Identifier: 503121
Keywords: Innovation · Product-service systems (PSS) · Eco-innovation · Sustainable consumtpion and production · Sustainable policy · Innovation policy · Sustainable business models · Sustainable Chemical Industry · Industrial Innovation · Society · SP1 - Strategy & Policy 1 · BSS - Behavioural and Societal Sciences


Despite the apparent potential of product-service systems (PSS) as a more profitable, resource efficient and socially responsible form of eco-innovation, there has seemingly been limited uptake of this type of business model. A current gap in the literature is that most of the available academic work on PSS has focussed on design strategies, environmental potentials and uptake in industry, but few have explored the role and importance of public policy and policy intervention. Recent policy reports suggest a recent interest of policy makers in the identification of policy mixes that support new forms of eco-innovation. The European Union (EU) has a broad set of policies in place to support the adoption of sustainable development principles in businesses. In spite of the availability of a rich set of innovation and sustainability policies, the current focus of intervention is not directly targeting the promotion of PSS. Using narrative analysis of eighteen key policy papers and a number reports, the authors of this paper offer an exploratory analysis of European policy and its potential for supporting the market uptake of PSS. The outcome of this analytical effort presents work in progress aiming at identifying adequate mechanisms of support using the existing policy instruments in Europe. The main message unveiled by this explorative analysis is that only less than a handful of existing policy instruments in the EU have good potential to foster market uptake of PSS. Notwithstanding, about a dozen of instruments could potentially be modified to improve their potential to support PSS.