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Regulation and Regenerative eco-innovation: the case of extracted materials in the UK

Dewick, Paul and Maytorena-Sanchez, Eunice and Winch, Graham (2019) Regulation and Regenerative eco-innovation: the case of extracted materials in the UK. Ecological Economics, 160. pp. 38-51. ISSN 0921-8009


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Regenerative eco-innovation, demanding radical and architectural change to restore, renew and revitalise the natural system, is arguably the most important type of eco-innovation to address the pressing challenges of sustainable development. The aim of this paper is to explore the role of the regulatory framework and wider contextual conditions in facilitating or hindering regenerative eco-innovations. This is especially relevant for the built environment, a sector that is highly regulated and where rates of innovation are typically slow. We combined a review of relevant archival material with an interview programme involving key stakeholders from the UK’s built environment sector. We contribute to the literature by extending and elaborating our understanding of regenerative eco-innovation in two ways. First, we extend the literature on regulation and eco-innovation by exploring what constitutes high quality regulation in the context of regenerative development. Second, we elaborate on how regenerative eco-innovations are facilitated or hindered by wider contextual conditions. Our paper also has practical utility. More understanding of how effective regulation can support regenerative eco-innovations, and of how the wider contextual conditions facilitate or hinder regenerative eco-innovations, allows industry and government to respond better to the urgent global challenge of closing material cycles.

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