The integration of sustainability innovations into the development process in the newly industrializing countries (NICs) requires knowledge build-up and technology cooperation. The prospect of exporting green technologies can add an incentive for NICs to move towards sustainability technologies. However, existence of absorptive capacities in these countries is also an important factor for successful integration of exports from industrialized countries into the economy of the NICs. The general absorptive capacity is measured with R&D intensities, a general innovation system index, and a sustainability index. The technological capacity is measured with various innovation indicators (see methodology sheet).
The national R&D intensity is rather different for the NICs covered. It reaches from very small numbers, e.g. for Indonesia or the Philippines, to values typical for OECD countries, e.g. for Singapore, Taiwan, or South Korea. Thus, there is considerable heterogeneity among the NICs.
Figure 1: R&D indicators for the analyzed NICs
Source: data from Human Development Index
The results for the general innovation index and the sustainability index also show significant differences between the NICs. A highly significant positive correlation between both indicators is to be observed. This can be explained that institutional aspects such as good governance and learning systems influence both indicators positively.
Figure 2: General innovation system and sustainability indices for the analyzed NICs
The accumulated share of the 15 NICs analyzed amounts to about 33 % of the publications on sustainability technologies in the world in 2008. For patents and exports, the accumulated shares amount to about 8 % and 20 %, respectively. These shares have been increasing strongly in the last years, and some of the NICs are building technological capabilities in the sustainability technologies (see also the individual country profiles).
Figure 3: Technology specific innovation indicators for the analyzed NICs
Combining the different indicators, the analyzed NICs can be grouped into the following four country clusters:
Cluster A (“generalists”) is characterized by higher level of general innovation capability, but without specialization on sustainability technologies.
Cluster B (“specialists”) is characterized by specialization on sustainability with a medium overall level of general absorptive capability.
Cluster C (“followers”) is characterized by medium overall level of general absorptive capability, without specialization on sustainability technologies.
Cluster D (“late followers”) is characterized by lower overall level of technological capability.
On average, countries in cluster A and B are likely to participate from the economic opportunities arising from green innovations, whereas countries in cluster C and D are less likely to do so, at least in the near future. But there are important differences between the technological fields, which make a more technology specific analysis necessary (see country specific results).
Figure 4: Overview of capability of NICs for sustainability innovations