Avoiding Environmental Convergence: A Possible Role for Sustainability Experiments in Latecomer Countries?

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Frans Berkhout Anna J. Wieczorek Rob Raven

Abstract

Global sustainability is increasingly influenced by economic growth and social change in non-OECD countries, especially in Asia. Growth models suggest that industrializing economies will become frst relatively more resource- and pollution-intensive, before becoming more resource-effcient and less polluting, following the pattern of higher-income economies. This ‘environmental convergence’ is assumed to parallel economic convergence during processes of catching-up by latecomer countries. To accelerate environmental convergence, or to achieve pathways of ‘green growth’, greater emphasis needs to be placed on sustainable innovation and capability-building in latecomer countries. Drawing on insights from system innovation research on long-run change in socio-technical systems, we discuss the potential role of ‘sustainability experiments’ to generate innovations that will constitute new ‘greener’ growth models. We observe a great number of sustainabilityoriented innovation initiatives in latecomer countries. We set out a conceptual framework for assessing the role of experiments, and for evaluating how they link with and become anchored in alternative more sustainable regimes. We argue that sustainability experiments represent a potentially signifcant new source of innovation and capability-formation, linked to global knowledge and technology flows, which could influence emergent socio-technical regimes and thereby contribute to alternative development pathways.

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How to Cite
BERKHOUT, Frans; WIECZOREK, Anna J.; RAVEN, Rob. Avoiding Environmental Convergence: A Possible Role for Sustainability Experiments in Latecomer Countries?. Institutions and Economies, [S.l.], p. 367-385, july 2017. ISSN 2232-1349. Available at: <http://ijie.um.edu.my/index.php/ijie/article/view/4825>. Date accessed: 23 apr. 2018.
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