UCL Institute for Innovation and Public Purpose


Green economy

IIPP works to rethink innovation and challenge existing paradigms towards a market-shaping approach for the green transition.


Moving towards a greener, more inclusive economic model is one of the most imperative and urgent challenges of the 21st century. Climate change, biodiversity loss and environmental pollution have for many years been treated in economic discourse as ‘negative externalities’, to be ‘fixed’ by governments, and endured by citizens when left unchecked.

IIPP is working with partners across the world to rethink the existing economic and innovation paradigms that are barriers to a green transition. It is not ‘market-fixing’, but ‘market-shaping’ activities that will lead us into a new green way of life. Markets can be shaped, by mutualistic relationships between actors from the public, private, charity, and civil society. Markets can be designed towards green missions.

Fear about the climate crisis does not get us a transition. Nor does starting efforts with the query, ‘how do we pay for this?’; an approach which sees greening activity as a cost centre, rather than an opportunity to harness the potential of green growth. Only by turning climate change into positive opportunities for investment and innovation will a green transition come about, affecting production, distribution and consumption across the economy.

Policy implications

Markets will not find a green direction by themselves. Business does not invest unless it sees an opportunity for growth. So we require governments and the public sector to take bold and decisive action. The green shift has to be a cross-economy one – discrete and independent, siloed initiatives are not enough. Harnessing all the levers of government, from industrial strategies, to state investment banks, to challenge prizes; and at all levels, from national to local, is vital. For this reason, IIPP works with national governments and policy-makers, as well as with cities, regions, trade unions and citizens’ governance groups across the world.





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