It is the ambition of many social innovation initiatives to develop new solutions – often in the form of services – to environmental issues by locally framing often global environmental problems. These green social innovations are very diverse in nature. In order to better systematize this diversity, we first address the questions, what particular challenges do social innovations in the area of the green economy experience. Second, we want to establish a typology of social innovation initiatives that provides insights in the special challenges of social innovations in the green economy. The empirical basis for this contribution is formed by a mapping of 300 social innovation initiatives in the area of environment, energy and mobility, and expert workshops. In order to contribute to an improved understanding of the processes of social innovation and transcend the limits of the single social innovation activity, we study types of social innovations, dynamic patterns of their development and challenges specific to green social innovations.