Eco-Innovation in Enterprises
Europe has become a leader in environmental technologies during the last decade. A key strength of the European industry is its leadership in innovative technologies and products. Eco-Innovations bear a large potential for Europe to extend its global leadership and strengthen its position in the worldwide markets. We need to think beyond established markets and find new cross-sector solutions to reduce the impact of growing prices of energy and raw material on the EU markets (for enterprises and consumers). Product design and infrastructures have to be adapted to the needs of enhanced resource and energy efficiency, closed material flow loops and the recovering of prized resources. Eco-Innovation requires a new thinking on production and consumption. We need to develop new products and services to consumers aiming at reducing their environmental footprint - based on eco-innovative technologies. Eco-Innovation concerns all sectors and is not only a technology approach but a business or sub-system approach.
Information and Communication Technologies (ICT) as cross-sector technologies have a key impact for Eco-Innovation. ICTs play an important role in most sectors as well as for private users. They already offer a range of possibilities to help the environment, by e.g. reducing mobility needs through teleworking opportunities, dematerialising products through digital equivalents or intelligent optimisation of energy consumption. To exhaust the further potential of ICT for Eco-Innovation and to avoid contradictory developments, ICT should be incorporated into Eco-Innovation programmes from the first beginning. ECO-INNOVERA will investigate the specific integration of ICT in current Eco-Innovation programmes and at the level of the different actors (scientists, companies, government). We will develop and provide a mapping tool to support the active incorporation of ICT in Eco-Innovation programmes. Additionally, ICT can function as a key tool to build and disseminate knowledge on Eco-Innovation.
Eco-Innovation parks have been established in Europe, hosting commercial enterprises and/or research institutions dedicated to research and development as well as piloting installations and processes in sustainable technologies and services. With a focus on eco-innovation parks in Europe and abroad an overview of initiatives will be provided, trying to improve interaction by gathering potential partners in the same area. ECO-INNOVERA aims to identify success factors in the creation and management of Eco-Innovation parks as well as assessing and proposing instruments for sustainable creation and management of such parks. Besides commercial aspects also the opportunity of qualification for personal/communities as well as for locations will be taken into account. The different initiatives will be assessed and compared in relation to the political, environmental, sociological, economical and legal framework (e.g. requirements, incentives).