This case study investigates bargaining and innovation processes around efforts to reduce and to substitute production and use of EDTA between 1985 and 1999. Environmental policy succeeded in stimulating efforts to significantly reduce EDTA release, in particular by aspiring to a voluntary declaration and subsequent voluntary agreements. Supported by continuous debate in EDTA meetings and by the eigendynamic of commitments made by participating actors, these efforts led to substantial results, though not as much as had been envisaged. The environmental innovations arising typically were technical process innovations or a combination of product and process innovation rearranging and optimising chemical processes in various industries using EDTA. Concerning producers and suppliers of chelating agents, their EDTArelated innovative efforts were embedded in general research programs elucidating the pronounced strategic capabilities of large corporations in managing innovations. Without significant public funding policy making and interpolicy coordination of environmental policy and ecology-oriented technology policy in most cases had at best an indirect impact on these innovation processes reinforcing them to some degree by promoting regulatory framework conditions and monitoring programs. Consequently, various relatively separated knowledge, business and regulatory networks originated from these EDTA-related innovative efforts. Comparing different R&D; projects leading to technically viable environmental innovations of reducing, substituting, or degrading EDTA (use), the central importance of corporate capacities and market opportunities for their successful diffusion becomes obvious. Thus, serious obstacles to the innovation processes referred more to their social than to their technical and time dimension. Altogether, environmental policy successfully organised multiple efforts to reduce EDTA release on the basis of voluntary agreements in Germany. These voluntary agreements enhanced, but did hardly induce corresponding environmental innovations, mainly in industry, and also contributed to learning processes among the actors, participating in EDTA discourse and politics, in the direction of a more holistic (policy) perspective towards ecological sustainability.