Environmental innovations in the Nordic countries: effects of firm and employee characteristics

Authors: Christian R. Oestergaard*, Aalborg University
Topics: Economic Geography, Environment, Urban and Regional Planning
Keywords: environmental innovation, skills, human capital
Session Type: Paper
Day: 4/6/2019
Start / End Time: 9:55 AM / 11:35 AM
Room: Hampton Room, Omni, East
Presentation File: No File Uploaded

Supporting green transition pose challenges for regional innovation policy. Traditional accounts of green transition have relied on sectoral classifications. However, the empirical evidence indicates that the underlying assumption that all firms within a predefined sector contribute to green transition, and that no firms outside such sectors do, is often wrong. This approach ignores that green transitions may occur in sectors, which are not usually associated with eco-technologies. Therefore, a challenge for regional economies is promoting conditions for firms introducing innovation that have environmental benefits for themselves, the users or both - regardless of the sector. Recent research has shown that the skills and human capital needed in green jobs are different from that of non-green jobs. However, these green jobs are not directly translatable to other contexts. In addition, little is known on whether these green skills actually are important for firms that aims at developing eco-innovations. The purpose of this paper is to identify the regional distribution of green skills in the Nordic countries and analyse whether these are important for firms’ introducing eco-innovations. The paper draws on a combination of firm level survey data on eco-innovations linked with employer-employee census data from Denmark, Sweden, Finland and Norway. The paper develops an education-based and an occupation-based indicator for green skills. Results show that, both indicators are positively related to firms’ likelihood of introducing eco-innovations. The different Nordic countries show rather distinct patterns of the geographical distribution of these green skills, which have implications for firms’ possibilities for introducing eco-innovations.

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