Advanced environmental standards such as sustainability require substantial improvements in the environmental performances of present technologies. Governments are faced with the challenge to design green innovation policies able to support producers and users of technologies to comply with such high standards. The paper proposes an evolutionary approach on the dynamics of socio-technological change and innovation, as an analytical basis for the design of such green innovation policies. The main idea suggested is that evolutionary theory can be helpful in clarifying not only the novelty and greenness of innovation, but also the processes of technological variation emergence and selection at various system levels. Such an understanding would facilitate policy-makers in identifying the most appropriate intervention points and styles in order to maximize the scope, quality and endurance of green innovation. The paper departs with the conceptualization of "greenness" of innovation in section 2, and proceeds further, in section 3, with an evolutionary-based inquiry in the innovation dynamics within the economic system, the science/technology system and at their interface. Based on such an approach, section 4 proposes a framework for the design of green innovation policies, taking into account the multidimensional institutional environment of innovations. The framework suggests that green innovation policies should be best conceived by simultaneously affecting selection processes in the three main systems, for which the appropriate combination of intervention points and styles of regulation should be underpinned.
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