The Eco-Innovation Challenge
The 2010 annual report of the Eco Innovation Observatory 'The Eco-Innovation Challenge; Pathways to a resource efficient Europe', is now published and available for download.
This first annual report of the Observatory introduces the concept of eco-innovation, placing key findings on the state and potential of eco-innovation in the EU into the context of the resource-efficiency debate, in particular considering the flagship initiative “Resource-efficient Europe” of the Europe 2020 strategy.
Introducing the notion of the “eco-innovation challenge”, this report also opens a discussion on the potential benefits of eco-innovation for companies, sectors and entire economies.
Why focus on resources
This report focuses on material resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, metals, and biomass for three reasons. First, it is the human use (and over-use) of material resources that are linked to the most prominent environmental problems today, most notably climate change. Second, Europe’s dependence on materials imported from abroad is increasing, raising concerns over material security. European industries and consumers are increasingly vulnerable to volatility, increasing scarcity as well as rising material prices. Third, reducing resource use offers a significant business opportunity to reduce costs. At a time of increasing prices this is particularly relevant.
This report offers a general framing of both the problems and the objectives; it begins by analysing current unsustainable trends and ends with a vision of a resource-efficient Europe. This vision reflects what resource efficiency means to us, it also depicts the scope of the eco-innovation challenge.
As we will show, eco-innovation is already occurring in countries, sectors, and markets across the EU, but not to the degree necessary. The EIO therefore aims to demonstrate existing solutions and to explore the untapped, often unrealised, eco-innovative potential of new solutions. In this context, this report aims to provide answers to the following key questions:
What are the current eco-innovation - and eco-innovation relevant - trends?
What types of good practice can be seen in different EU Member States?
What are the drivers and barriers of eco-innovation in countries, sectors and companies?
What policy approaches are most effective for promoting eco-innovation?
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