The European Commission has launched a new Eco-innovation Action Plan as part of Europe 2020. Building on the lessons-learnt of ETAP, the plan complements the EU policies on innovation, resource efficiency, industry and skills to support the transition towards smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. The new Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) will boost innovation that reduces pressure on the environment, and bridge the gap between innovation and the market. Eco-friendly technologies are good for business and help create new jobs, so eco-innovation is crucial to the economic competitiveness of Europe.
The Action Plan will accelerate eco-innovation across all sectors of the economy with well targeted actions, taking measures in the areas of regulatory incentives, private and public procurement and standards and it will mobilize support for SMEs to improve investment readiness and networking opportunities.
The key aspects of the new Action Plan include:
Using environmental policy and legislation to promote eco-innovation;
Supporting demonstration projects and partnering to bring promising, smart and ambitious operational technologies to market;
Developing new standards to boost eco-innovation;
Mobilizing financial instruments and support services for SMEs;
Promoting international co-operation;
Supporting the development of emerging skills and jobs and related training programmes to match labour market needs;
Promoting eco-innovation through European Innovation Partnerships.
Therefore, the next steps will consist in the implementation of the plan via partnership between stakeholders, private and public sector, and the Commission. The upcoming mid-term financial review will provide a good opportunity to assess the achievement of the goals set in this Action Plan.
New efforts will focus on product development and demonstration activities to fill the gap between technology and market uptake.
The new Eco-innovation Action Plan provides a clear outline of the actions now needed at EU and Member State levels to meet the challenges for jobs and economic growth in a resource- and environmentally-constrained world.