Brussels, 1 February 2011 – The 3rd Greenovate! Europe – ZVO Workshop on Sustainable Manufacturing in Europe – INNOVATION AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION: Opportunities and challenges for SMEs took place in Brussels on February 1st 2011. The workshop attracted forty six participants from all accross Europe, including large industrial players, industrial associations, manufacturing SMEs, consultants as well as European Commission officials. The day was full of interesting presentations and follow up discussions.
The moderator of the day was Ernst-Udo Sievers of i.con innovation, a Board member of Greenovate! Europe. After the welcoming speeches, which set the scene of why sustainable manufacturing and resource efficiency in the surface treatment industry as well as in Europe in general is becoming more and more important, the day kicked off with a set of interesting presentations (find below).
Presenters covered a variety of topics, such as the opportunities and challenges that the surface finishing industry is facing in applying innovative techniques; and possible ways in designing a holistic framework for innovation and environmental regulation. The key message from the industry was that the industry is a cross sectoral one that is interconnected with many others; that cooperation is needed to reduce detailed regulation which sometimes hinders innovation in the industry; that the industry is ready to take unavoidable risks in order to achieve such goals and that resource efficiency is indeed becoming key; and that considering the complexities of supply chains are also key in directing the need for innovation in the industry.
For the event Greenovate! Europe and ZVO presented a discussion paper on “The potential contribution to greater resources efficiency of companies and the supply chain involved in surface finishing” (please see below).The day concluded with a debate on how industry, and more specifically SMEs, can cope and adapt to changing economic and regulatory environments in the future.
Results of this workshop shall feed into reflections of European surface engineering SMEs on their role for resource efficiency of entire supply chains, and their particular requirements from EU institutions in terms of regulation and innovation support.