Greening Economy

Journal of Economic Geography 11 (2011) pp. 793–816 Advance Access Published on 23 December 2010


Greening the economy: interrogating sustainability innovations beyond the mainstream
Anna R. Daviesà and Sue J. Mullin
Department of Geography, Trinity College Dublin, Ireland à Corresponding author: email 5daviesa@tcd.ie4

Current international economic and environmental conditions have led to increasing calls for alternative pathways of development. Globally, the language of a green economy is being promoted as a means to develop a ‘win-win’ for the economy and the environment. There are concerns, however, that the emerging frameworks for sustainable economic renewal marginalize social dimensions of sustainability and the already existing practices of sustainability innovation within the social economy. Using empirical evidence from Ireland, this article examines the dimensions of this marginalisation by interrogating the dynamic landscape of environmentally focused social economy enterprises as additional spaces of sustainability innovation for a greener economy. It is found that while these enterprises can be cast as spaces of actually existing sustainable development tensions persist which together raise general questions about measuring and communicating sustainability as well as more foundational issues relating to permissible forms of sustainable economic renewal. Keywords: green economy, ecological modernisation, sustainability innovation, social enterprise, Ireland JEL classifications: A13, G38, L31, L53, P16, P12, P13, Q20, Q56, Z10 Date submitted: 19 July 2010 Date accepted: 23 November 2010

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1. Introduction
The global economic downturn of the late 2000s, and the increasing cognizance of global environmental change among actors across the governance spectrum during the same period, has reincarnated demands for greener...