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The rise of the eco-preneur and the messy world of environmental innovation

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<mark>Journal publication date</mark>2005
<mark>Journal</mark>Local Environment : The International Journal of Justice and Sustainability
Issue number6
Volume10
Number of pages12
Pages (from-to)665-676
<mark>State</mark>Published
<mark>Original language</mark>English

Abstract

Media and academic debates about the environment have increasingly made reference to the so-called ‘eco-preneur’ (‘green entrepreneur’ or ‘environmental entrepreneur’). These discussions encourage us to see the potential of such figures to act as drivers of environmental innovation. Their combination of entrepreneurial zeal and green motivations is seen as providing them with the ability to transcend the usual tensions between business and the environment. In academic circles a new literature is beginning to emerge around this perspective, ‘eco-preneurship’. In this paper we investigate the usefulness of eco-preneurship for understanding environmental innovation. In particular we ask where this literature, supported by popular images in the media, fixes our gaze when we think about environmental innovation in society. And, crucially, what might we be missing by concentrating our attention on these eco-preneurs? The paper concludes by suggesting that environmental innovation is better understood as an inherently messy and complex institutional process, which cannot be reduced to the psychology of entrepreneurial personalities.