CI Food Webinar Series: Dr. Fernando J. Diaz Lopez


Fernando J. Diaz Lopez

Eco-Innovation for Sustainability

Fernando J. Diaz Lopez, PhD

Dr. Fernando J. Diaz Lopez works at the Netherlands Organisation for applied Scientific Research TNO as senior advisor and programme manager. He is also associate professor extraordinary in sustainability systems at Stellenbosch University, in South Africa. Fernando is a founding member and current Director of the Innovation for Sustainable Development – a global initiative funded by the European Commission,


Manifold terms are used to describe innovations that lead to positive environmental benefits, such as clean innovation, eco-innovation, green innovation, environmental innovation, sustainable innovation, etc. Eco-innovation (EcoI) is broadly defined as innovations that contribute to sustainable development (c.f. Rennings, 2000). Eco-innovation and associated terms are used by scholars in 47 countries - which in turn are responsible for more than two thirds of global greenhouse gas emissions (Turkeli & Kemp 2019). It traces its origins to the work of Van Es and Pampel (1976) in the field of agro-food research analysing voluntary adoption practices of environmental control in farming.

Diaz Lopez will present an overview of concepts, theories and methods used in eco-innovation research. Based on recent peer-reviewed publications and implementation in forms, Fernando will present examples of eco-innovation at the systemic and business levels. Discussion and Q&A will follow. Eco-innovation (EcoI) is a field of research, policy and practice that has gained an unprecedent level of atten-tion in many international forums (e.g. UN Technology Facilitation Mechanism, UNFCC COP, the OECD, etc.). The underlying positive expectation about the potential green innovation is due to its transformative and economic potential (c.f. European Commission, 2014; UN Environment 2014; OECD 2011). For example, in Europe the added value of green-innovation (renewable energy, environmental technologies and the bio economy) was about 2,2 % of the GDP, with a turnover of 227 billion EUR and contributed to the crea-tion of 4200 new business ventures. Canadian cleantech firms owned about 1,3 % of the global market, report revenues of almost 12 billion Canadian dollars, employ over 55,6000 people and typically invest about 10% of their revenue in R&D.

About the series

The Convergent Innovation Webinar Series will feature cutting edge science, technology and innovation in agriculture, food and health domains as well as in the behavioural, commercial, social and complexity sciences. These, combined with traditions from around the world, will altogether articulate an interdisciplinary research and action strategy to transform agricultural products like pulses from undifferentiated commodities into higher-margin whole and value-added food products that support sustainable development and affordable healthcare. Progressively, programs in the CI-Food webinar series will be developed for other agricultural products with high CI potential, e.g., dairy, fruits, vegetables, and others.