Green and Blue Economy: Definitions, Challenges and Limits

Green and Blue Economy: Definitions, Challenges and Limits

Fabrizio Striani (University of Salento, Lecce, Italy)
DOI: 10.4018/IJESGT.2020070102
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The concept of green economy has received significant international attention over the past few years as a tool to address the 2008 financial crisis. Governments today are seeking effective ways to lead their nations out of the crisis and the green economy (in its various forms) has been proposed as a means for catalyzing renewed national policy development and international cooperation and support for sustainable development. The aim of this article is to define and highlight the importance of the green (blue) economy and compare it with the so-called greed economy. This article is divided into different sections: after a brief introduction is a systematic literature review; the second section is about sustainable development and the green economy concept; the third is about the green economy and blue economy concept; and the fourth compares greed economy to green (blue) economy. Finally, the author will draw conclusions.
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First of all, a systematic literature review (SLR) was carried out based on the key words of this paper and to do this the approach of Tranfield et al. (2003) was adopted. In this approach a three-step process is proposed: planning, execution, reporting and dissemination.

We start with the planning phase. To achieve our goal, we have entered the selected terms as follows to search for the title, abstract and keywords: “Green Economy” OR “Blue Economy” OR “Sustainability” OR “Greed Economy.”

Moving on to execution the SLR, the initial Scopus search (we choose the Scopus database to ensure the quality of the review1) based on the selected words appearing in titles, abstracts or key words between 1970 and 2020 identified a total of 192508 publications. We therefore restricted the field to the last 20 years (2000-2020), as our research is based on recent years, obtaining 185833 publications.

By limiting the search to “articles”, “articles in the press”, “reviews”, “books” and “book chapters”, a total of 147076 publications were obtained. Considering only the publications in journals and books, there were 139868 documents. However, to achieve the aims established, only documents included in the fields of economics, econometrics, finance, business, management and accounting were selected, obtaining a total of 30533 publications.

Due to the significant number of articles found and considering that those of greatest interest here would be the ones that incorporated the key words, we used a new filter (the key words “sustainable development”, “environmental sustainability, “green economy” and “fishery management”) obtaining 8211 publications.

After selecting only the open access documents (481 publications) and the language English, the total number of documents obtained was 455. We reported the above SLR process in Figure 1.

Figure 1.

Systematic literature review process. Source: Scopus, own elaborations.


We faced, finally, the last stage of Tranfield approach (reporting and dissemination). A total of 455 publications were obtained from the execution stage of the SLR. The number of publications in 2016 (58), 2017 (66) and 2018 (108) increased, as did future publications for 2019-2020. These topics were published by 126 journals, with 14 of them publishing eight or more articles (262), representing 58% of the total. Analyzing the Scopus impact evaluation of sources with the most publications, 64% are in the first quartile, 21% in the second and 15% in the third, demonstrating the high standard of the publications and the level of interest in the subjects (Table 1).

Table 1.
Journals with eight or more documents published
SourceDocumentsRanking Scopus
Journal of Cleaner Production104Q1
Marine Policy24Q1
Resources Conservation and Recycling19Q1
Journal of Civil Engineering and Management13Q2
Business Strategy and The Environment12Q1
Journal of Industrial Engineering and Management12Q2
Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences12Q3
Technological Forecasting and Social Change12Q1
Entrepreneurship and Sustainability Issues10Q1
Asian Social Science9Q3
Economy of Region9Q2
Research Policy9Q1
Technological and Economic Development of Economy9Q1
Frontiers in Energy Research8Q1

(Data source: (own elaborations))

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