Pages 71 - 98
For the last twenty years, economic actors seeking to achieve environmental innovations have taken into account the environmental impacts of their technologies with a view to sustainable development. However, in spite of Rio + 20, the borders of these innovations are still problematic from a theoretical point of view. Therefore we shall analyze how mainstream economics studies and observes them. We assume that a systemic approach is able to provide a clear identification of their failures and their borders. Our work will be divided into three parts. First, we shall indicate the elements feeding the identity of environmental innovations. Second, after this static level, we adopt a dynamic approach in order to provide a better understanding of their processes of evolution. Finally, we discuss the relationship between the dynamics of these innovations and the environment. Our results emphasize that environmental innovations cannot be clearly identified ??ex ante?? and ??ex post?? from a theoretical perspective. Moreover, various theoretical contributions are more oriented towards the resolution of environmental problems without questioning clearly what the “environment” means. This resolution is concerned with reducing the exploitation of resources, which is often put forward as a relevant solution for preserving the environment. Paradoxically such measures may cause more harm to the biosphere in the long term because of the risk of rebound effects.