Eco-innovation for sustainable tourism transitions as a process of collaborative co-production: the case of a carbon management calculator for the Dutch travel industry

Harald Buijtendijk*, Juultje Blom, Jorien Vermeer, V.R. van der Duim

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Eco-innovations that reduce carbon emissions help advance sustainability
transitions in tourism. This article examines the analytical potential of actor-
network theory (ANT) to study eco-innovation. ANT assumes that reality
consists of actor-networks made of human and non-human elements that
perform actors as network effects. We argue that, in a time when climate
change is the simultaneous product and producer of human actions, eco-
innovation is better understood when research gives the human and non-
human elements that perform eco-innovations equal analytical treatment.
We therefore develop an ANT-inspired framework, which we apply in a
case study to investigate the development of a specific eco-innovation:
CARMACAL, a web-based carbon management application in the Dutch
travel industry. We find that technological novelty alone is insufficient to
instigate transition. CARMACAL affords multiple new practices with oppos-
ite implications for socio-economic and environmental sustainability. The
practices triggering most industry support are least effective in addressing
tourism's climate impacts and vice versa. Examining eco-innovation
through ANT helps us put eco-innovation in a different light. Seemingly
contradictory practices may be mutually supportive: their individual
strengths and weaknesses may help prevent the failure of eco-innovations.
This new possibility opens the way for concerted policies strengthening the
contribution of eco-innovations to sustainability transitions.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1222-1240
Number of pages19
JournalJournal of Sustainable Tourism
Volume26
Issue number7
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 15 Mar 2018

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