Green Innovation and Future Technology: Engaging Regional SMEs in the Green Economy

Mattie Belfield reviews Felicity Kelliher and Leana Reinl's book, Green Innovation and Future Technology: Engaging Regional SMEs in the Green Economy. 

Green Innovation and Future Technology: Engaging Regional SMEs in the Green Economy

Green Innovation and Future Technology: Engaging Regional SMEs in the Green Economy

Editors: Felicity Kelliher, Leana Reinl

Publisher: Palgrave Pivot

Price: £45 

Meeting European policies for a greener Europe might not be at the forefront of your mind if you’re running a small enterprise in a remote, rural area of the UK, but Kelliher and Reinl will tell you to think again: the economy and the environment are intrinsically intertwined and ensuring the sustainability of your business is essential for a regional and national flourishing of the economy.

In an exploration of green innovation and future skill development within small- to medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), Green Innovation and Future Technology sets out the value of cross-border and multi-disciplinary teams to help regional businesses become more environmentally minded.

This article was taken from Issue 82

Underlying every chapter is the central basis that the economy and the environment are linked: through in-depth research, case studies and theories, the authors establish the ‘green economy’ as something SMEs should strive towards to enhance business growth, development and economic recovery. The way to pursue this green innovation, then, according to this book, is through a collaboration of academic strategies and cross- disciplinary action.

The first part of the book, a detailed explanation of green innovation and how SMEs can focus on sustainability, tends to lapse in to heavy theory. Though care is taken to explain any jargon, this can leave the reader feeling adrift, waiting until chapter three to contextualise the theory through case studies.

However, when we do reach the case studies, the previously abstracted theory is brought to life. Touching mini-narratives are added through testimonials from an Irish B&B owner and other regional participants in trials, reminding us that the book is rooted in the value of grassroots and alliance. In emphasising the need for SMEs to forge ‘ongoing network connectivity’ through multiregional, academic-driven transactions, this book promises ‘more detailed and accurate information, and therefore superior informational advantage’, allowing SMEs to prosper in their shared knowledge.

Is this almost utopian ambition possible in the everyday financial and time constraints so many SMEs face? In asserting that ‘there are no projects, only partnerships’, the authors call for SMEs, as the ‘backbone’ of modern economy, to construct lasting relationships through which they can work in unison to promote the sustainability of their business and economy alike.