Sustainable Innovation at the Government Level: What It Is and Why It Matters

Finger pointing to model of earth.

On the government level, sustainable innovation is an important goal that cannot be overlooked. The need for embracing innovation trends is on the rise, as evidenced by research showing 10 percent of the global population living below the poverty level in 2018.

Governments face numerous innovation challenges caused by the use of products and services that damage the earth. One answer to this is to create and implement policies that support sustainable innovation that benefits the environment well into the future.

The need for these policies can be seen on every level, and such policies would change the ways governments address important issues. These innovative policies would also help organizational leaders to better serve citizens through more time-efficient projects that use available resources wisely.

Put a Price on Natural Capital

There are currently inadequate prices on some key life-supporting natural systems. This major market failure requires action.

Putting a price on natural capital would hold decision-makers accountable when taking part in economic activities that are damaging to the earth. Raising the price on the production of harmful goods could provide companies the financial incentive needed to gravitate away from dirty technologies. This, in turn, would form  a market where clean technologies are used for creating products and conducting research, thus encouraging sustainable innovation.

One way to achieve the pricing of natural capital is through direct pricing, which occurs through taxation. The trading of emission permits or emission caps will also achieve this goal.

Support Environmentally Friendly Research and Development

Research and development (R&D) is necessary for innovation and production. Companies pay a great deal of money to ensure new technologies are developed to meet company and public needs. Indirect fiscal incentives such as tax credits help predict financial planning without favoring one technology over another. This tool is widely used and is considered efficient because it produces greater innovation results.

Direct loans and grants are also used to subsidize forms. One distinct advantage is that resources can be targeted to areas that need government intervention. For example, the U.S. Department of Energy made money through a loan guarantee program despite some failed projects simply because the success of other projects outweighed those losses.

R&D is especially relevant in governmental laboratories because clean energy patents from these institutions may be cited more frequently than those found in the private sector. Government research also helps new energy technologies overcome obstacles toward commercialization.

Support Early-Stage Development

First-time innovations face specific challenges because they need to be built from the ground up. This includes training personnel, making legal arrangements and conducting research.

Deploying specific technologies in the early stages is crucial and must be supported at the government level. This is true even if the policies for deploying specific technologies are less cost-effective than neutral policies.

Renewable mandates are a great example of the need for these technologies. These laws require electricity supply companies to produce a certain percentage of electricity using renewable sources.

As governments continue to grapple with the issue of sustainable innovation, they continue to look at viable solutions that will positively impact the public sector as well. Research shows that one out of three innovations leads to more citizen involvement, a trend that may increase as governments work to create a more sustainable future.

Looking for an innovation platform that will bring government leaders and citizens together? Contact us today.

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