Greening the knowledge-based economies: Harnessing natural resources and innovation in information and communication technologies for green growth

Zhen WANG, Yaoxuan HUANG*, Victoria ANKRAH, Jiapeng DAI

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Journal PublicationsJournal Article (refereed)peer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


The quest for green growth through the sustainable use of natural resources (NRs) and innovation in information and communication technologies (IICTs) has gained the utmost significance in the modern era, and the knowledge-based economies (KBEs) have been at the leading edge of embracing sustainable methods for accomplishing sustainable development objectives. However, the relationship between NRs, IICTs, and green growth remain unexplored. This study evaluates the impact of IICTs and NRs, alongside other key factors such as contractionary export policy (CEP), expansionary export policy (EEP), fossil fuels consumption (FFC), the labor force (LF), and gross fixed capital formation (GFCF) on green growth. Findings confirm that IICTs, NRs, GFCF, LF, and EEP positively affect green growth. The current research employs Slope homogeneity test, cross-sectional dependency test, Westerlund and Edgerton cointegration test, and cross-sectional augmented autoregressive distributed lag estimator to achieve the study's objective. These results highlight the significance of integrating environmentally conscious procedures and relying on technological advances within the information and communication technology sector to promote green development and ecological integrity. In addition, the study indicates that a growing reliance on FFC and the implementation of CEP harm green growth, underscoring the necessity of moving to renewable energy sources and promoting favorable trade policies. This study suggests that policymakers should emphasize IICTs, effective NRs management, GFCF, labor skills, EEP, and the transition to greener energy. Moreover, they should incorporate ecological factors in their trade practices to reconcile economic growth with sustainability goals.
Original languageEnglish
Article number104181
JournalResources Policy
Early online date2 Oct 2023
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
In addition, confirmation of CSD implies that policies intended to promote green growth should be comprehensive and synchronized. Fostering IICTs should be supported by attempts to minimize the FFC and promote environmentally friendly resource management. Commercial policies must align with environmental goals to ensure that KBEs add to global sustainability goals. The importance of CSD within KBEs also emphasizes the need for collaborative and cross-disciplinary studies. The investigators, legislators, and stakeholders should work collaboratively to find new solutions and devise policies addressing the links between green growth, IICTs, FFC, GFCF, EEP, CEP, and NRs.Third, the data implies that an upward trend in FFC is linked to an unfavorable effect on the overall advancement of green growth in KBEs in both the short- and long-runs. Increased FFC limits green growth in KBEs, emphasizing the complex link between energy use and green growth. These nations rank technological progress and environmentally friendly ideas, identifying their desire to transition to healthier and cleaner energy sources. Increased FFC has a negative impact due to CO2e, causing global warming and environmental damage. Further, FFC also contributes to the exhaustion of unsustainable, fossilized, scarce resources. Higher FFC may impede the development of green methods, as conventional energy sources may provide less incentive to invest in pure and green energy solutions. This restricts the development of clean technologies and moves to a less polluting future. The adverse effect of higher FFC expands to socioeconomic factors, as the overall expenses linked to the extraction of fossil fuels, transportation, and infrastructure upkeep can divert funds from sustainable growth initiatives. This finding aligns with prior studies for the APEC region (Jin et al., 2023) and Asian countries (Shang et al., 2023).Lastly, the results showed that an increase in the use of LF in the production process led to a rise in green growth in KBEs in both the short- and long-runs. The findings confirm that a boost in LF usage in the production process relates to an uptick in green growth in KBEs. These findings have significant repercussions when viewed through the lens of most KBEs. These economies, which are heavily dependent on knowledge-intensive activities and advances in technology, have the perfect opportunity to take advantage of the potential of LF to promote sustainable development (Sharma et al., 2016). KBEs are characterized by an effective LF, which boosts green growth via R&D investments and higher education (Machiba, 2011). These countries may support efficient processes and creativity by increasing the use of LF in the industry (Awan et al., 2019). KBEs also have robust research and development (R&D) facilities, which allows them to apply their research and scientific expertise to issues associated with sustainability (Schot and Steinmueller, 2018). KBEs are at the forefront of technological innovation, maximizing efficiency in their use of resources while reducing their negative impacts on the environment and encouraging long-term growth and development by applying cutting-edge digital tools like digitization and machine learning (Obaideen et al., 2021; Rowan et al., 2022). This result is consistent with the previous studies conducted in China (Zhang and Dongyang, 2023) and Asian economies (Shang et al., 2023).The obtained results hold significant implications for policymaking in KBEs. Firstly, governments should prioritize policies promoting IICTs to foster green growth. This can be achieved through research grants, tax incentives, and public-private partnerships supporting sustainable ICT solutions development. Emphasizing green innovation will drive the adoption of environmentally friendly practices and technologies in KBEs. Secondly, sustainable management of NRs is crucial for green growth. Governments should implement policies safeguarding biodiversity, promoting sustainable agriculture, and ensuring responsible resource extraction. Encouraging sustainable practices will protect the environment and contribute to the long-term viability of KBEs. Thirdly, governments should focus on increasing GFCF in environmentally friendly sectors to enhance green growth. This can be accomplished by providing financial incentives and support for businesses investing in renewable energy, energy-efficient infrastructure, and sustainable transportation systems. Governments can drive economic growth by facilitating green investments while reducing environmental impact.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2023 Elsevier Ltd


  • Green growth
  • Natural resources
  • ICT
  • Digital revolution
  • Green innovation
  • Trade policies


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