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The rise of the eco-preneur and the messy world of environmental innovation

Lookup NU author(s): Professor Simon Guy


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Media and academic debates about the environment have increasingly made reference to the so-called 'eco-preneur' ('green entrepreneur' or 'environmental entrepreneur'). These discussions encourage us to see the potential of such figures to act as drivers of environmental innovation. Their combination of entrepreneurial zeal and green motivations is seen as providing them with the ability to transcend the usual tensions between business and the environment. In academic circles a new literature is beginning to emerge around this perspective, 'eco-preneurship'. In this paper we investigate the usefulness of eco-preneurship for understanding environmental innovation. In particular we ask where this literature, supported by popular images in the media, fixes our gaze when we think about environmental innovation in society. And, crucially, what might we be missing by concentrating our attention on these eco-preneurs? The paper concludes by suggesting that environmental innovation is better understood as an inherently messy and complex institutional process, which cannot be reduced to the psychology of entrepreneurial personalities. © 2005 Taylor & Francis.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Beveridge R, Guy S

Publication type: Review

Publication status: Published

Journal: Local Environment

Year: 2005

Volume: 10

Issue: 6

Pages: 665-676

ISSN (print): 1354-9839

ISSN (electronic): 1469-6711


DOI: 10.1080/13549830500321972