Since policies that address environmental concerns through ecological modernisation are thought to require regulation to achieve their aim, the form that regulation takes becomes crucial. Some suggest softer forms of regulatory governance are effective at inducing eco-innovations, while others support direct regulation. We endorse the view that both are needed, as firms respond to different approaches. Excessive faith in one approach is misplaced and may hinder ecological modernisation. To encourage ecological modernisation we need more individualised approaches, so that they accord with how firms behave when confronted with particular forms of regulation. © 2012 Copyright Taylor and Francis Group, LLC.