The European research project EMInInn will track the past development and diffusion through the economy of pervasive innovations that can be expected to have had an appreciable positive or negative environmental impact. The aim of the project is to generate deeper insights into the role of innovation in decoupling environmental impacts from economic growth, helping policy makers to both assess the benefits from past innovations as well as maximize benefits from present and emerging innovations. It is difficult to assess the positive or negative macro-environmental impacts of innovations, because they are not inherent to a technology, but a product of physical, behavioural, social and economic conditions. A "green" car may be an additional car instead of a substitute. Money saved through energy-saving will result in shifted expenditures with low or high negative environmental impacts. Positive micro or meso impacts of eco-innovation may be outweighed at the macro level by larger-scale processes which they may have catalysed.
Focussing on pressures, the project will analyse macro-environmental impacts of innovations in five sectors:
- Information and Communication Technology (ICT)