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Abstract: There is an emergent understanding that humanity has precipitated an ‘Anthropocene’ such that we are now operating in a reduced space for humanity in which urgent action is required. This case study paper links degrowth, technological innovation, business model innovation and corporate governance. The arguments are illustrated with the case of an embryonic vehicle and mobility business called Riversimple. The paper shows that radical technology innovations in the vehicle itself are achieved by underlying principles that focus on mass decompounding, powertrain de-coupling, whole system design, and low-volume production systems. The characteristics of the technologies are fundamental to, and in part derive from, the business model adopted by the case, and the governance structures designed to avoid the primacy usually afforded to returns to financial shareholders. While the case is embryonic, the paper argues that an important possible contribution is the ability to commence a disruptive transition to a degrowth future from within existing legal frameworks, social practices, cultural expectations and physical infrastructures.

Journal of Cleaner Production; Available online 5 July 2016
Part of a special issue on degrowth and technology