Brussels, 14 December 2011 – The EC has launched the Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) as part of the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It aims to bridge the gap between innovation and the market and boost innovation that reduces pressure on the environment.
The Action Plan will accelerate eco-innovation across all sectors of the economy with well targeted actions to help create stronger and more stable market demand for eco-innovation, it will take measures in the areas of regulatory incentives, private and public procurement and standards and it will mobilise support for SMEs to improve investment readiness and networking opportunities. The plan outlines a number of action points, including:
Using environmental policy and legislation to promote eco-innovation;
Mobilising financial instruments and support services for SMEs;
Promoting international co-operation and supporting demonstration projects and partnering;
Developing new standards to boost eco-innovation;
Supporting the development of emerging skills and jobs and related training programmes to match labour market needs.
The EcoAP builds on the 2004 Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP), and expands the focus from green technologies to the broader field of eco-innovation. It includes actions both on the demand and supply side, on research and industry and on policy and financial instruments. The Plan recognizes the key role of environmental regulation as a driver of eco-innovation, and stresses the importance of research and innovation to produce more innovative technologies and bring them to the market.
Environment Commissioner Janez Potocnik described the plan: “The innovation challenge for this Century will be making our resources go further – doing more with less“ and reducing the impact of our activities. Europe must be in the lead in meeting that challenge if we want to be competitive in a world of increasing resource constraints. Worldwide demand for environmental technologies, products and services is growing rapidly even in these difficult times, and it’s an area where Europe has much to offer. This is a plan for green jobs and green growth.”