This essay argues that modem environmental protection is a stimulus for innovation. Innovative moves - whether technical, economic, social or cultural - are frequently stimulated by legislation and, vice-versa, themselves have an effect on legislative decisions and the application of law. This applies most particularly in the case of legislation, which has been used to translate the principle of sustainability into the legal framework and into planning. In South Korea as in Germany, the instrument of legislation was used in an attempt to keep - by guidance and regulation - the many and varied dangers and risks of industrial-economic development, which are now also being recognised through the acquisition of new scientific knowledge, to a socially and ecologically compatible level. As a part of this innovation process, which is modifying social and economic development, there occurred several disjunctions in moving from the environment legislation principle of averting danger to the precautionary principle, and then to the principle of sustainability. In particular in South Korea, environmental legislation in accordance with sustainability has been an innovation which stimulated new developments, as in soil conservation legislation, with a special law for installations and facilities, and in water legislation regulating the use of rain water and grey or re-cycled (treated) water.