Sustainability and Innovation: Frameworks, Concepts, and Tools for Product and Strategy Redesign

27 Pages Posted: 7 Apr 2010

See all articles by Andrea Larson

Andrea Larson

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business


This technical note introduces the concepts and terms entrepreneurial innovators use in addressing sustainability. It explores the evolution of such terms as sustainable development, environmental justice, earth systems engineering, sustainable science, the Natural Step framework, industrial ecology, and biomimicry. It also explores how paradigms are created and replaced.



January 20, 2010

Sustainability and innovation: Frameworks, concepts,

and tools for product and strategy redesign


Companies are under growing pressure to offer less polluting, cleaner, safer alternatives to existing products—pressure driven by a range of challenges from climate change threats to environmental health problems and regulation. During the 1990s and the first decade of the 21st century, start-up ventures and large corporations adopted a variety of approaches to shape what have come to be called sustainability-based products and strategies. An increasing number of firms are applying these tools to implement creative practices, demonstrating the compatibility of profit, health, and natural systems. This note provides an introduction to some of the most important approaches guiding the redesign of corporate strategy and products.

. . .

Keywords: innovation, entrepreneurship, sustainability, sustainable business, sustainable development, environment, environmental justice, equity, cradle to cradle, industrial ecology, biomimicry

Suggested Citation

Larson, Andrea, Sustainability and Innovation: Frameworks, Concepts, and Tools for Product and Strategy Redesign. Darden Case No. UVA-ENT-0138, Available at SSRN:

Andrea Larson (Contact Author)

University of Virginia - Darden School of Business ( email )

P.O. Box 6550
Charlottesville, VA 22906-6550
United States


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