Researchers in eco-innovations are increasingly concerned with building upon models that are focused upon the concept of nature and related issues of eco-effectiveness for the short and long-term welfare of society and nature, rather than building knowledge on models that are solely based on eco-efficiency, in the short-term in which it is assumed that nature exists for the convenience of man. The proposed change in perspective requires a shift from an anthropocentric to a more eco-centric approach. This shift challenges us to understand and to work with different types of relationships between humans and nature while building upon the basic principles of biology and thermodynamics of the eco-system. In this article, the authors propose a typology of eco-innovations, based on an analysis of historical developments of ideas and concepts pertaining to human and nature interactions. The authors consider nature to be of central importance and they appeal for a dialogical approach to nature in developing innovations that are appropriate from an ecological, social and economic perspectives.

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Journal of Cleaner Production
Erasmus School of Economics

Hofstra, N., & Huisingh, D. (2014). Eco-innovations characterized: A taxonomic classification of relationships between humans and nature. Journal of Cleaner Production, 66, 459–468. doi:10.1016/j.jclepro.2013.11.036