Environmental policy in Greece focuses on the promotion of renewable energies and energy efficiency measures which can promote eco-innovations. Despite the fact that the installation of photovoltaics has slowed down significantly due to the economic crisis, by the end of 2015, the installed capacity of photovoltaics, covered 7.1% of the electricity consumption. Several energy-related research programmes are also carried out in universities.

In terms of eco-innovation performance, Greece continues to rank low among the EU-28 countries with a score of only 72 (on an EU-28 average of 100). This places Greece seventh from the bottom in the EU-28 ranking of eco-innovative countries.

The funding of research activities in country, depends heavily on European Structural Funds. In the forthcoming years, the Operational Programme on Competitiveness, Entrepreneurship and Innovation under the new National Strategic Reference Framework (2004-2020) will allocate 28.8 million EUR on the promotion of innovative technologies for environmental protection and resource efficiency in the areas of waste management, water management, soil contamination and air pollution. 

In terms of competitiveness, the trade balance of high- and medium-tech products is negative and this prevents by default all types of technological innovation (Innovation Union 2014). The poor performance on technological innovation is also demonstrated by the low number of patent applications. The economic downturn, together with structural problems and bureaucratic obstacles have forced companies to prefer investments with low risks and short-term return over knowledge-based activities where by default the risks are higher and the return period longer.

The policy framework to support innovation is expected to improve significantly, through the 2014 Action Plan for the Implementation of the National Strategy for Research, Technological Development and Innovation for the period 2015-2021, which amongst others promotes specific activities in relation to eco-innovation .

2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Greece




Green Banking – Piraeus Bank: an example of material flow and marketing innovation

greenbankingPIRAEUS bank offers since 2006 specially designed green banking products to support environment related entrepreneurship. The bank has developed green loans for renewable energy investments; green mortgages; green loans for households (purchase of bicycles, energy saving infrastructure and equipment); green leasing; as well as green insurance products. Moreover, the bank has designed and implemented an environmental management system comprising a series of measures to minimize its environmental footprint and to communicate the benefits of these actions to its customers. The project was co-financed by the European Commission through the LIFE programme.

Possible effects: economic, social, environmental
The bank has reduced its energy consumption and improved natural resource management, taking simple measures such as mainstreaming electronic transactions (offering to its customers, fully electronic - no need for paper - means of transactions). Widespread use of Green Banking has changed the relationship between the bank and the customer, achieving among others: direct benefits to the environment; improved quality of service; significant reduction in transaction costs; good marketing results with eco conscious clients.
The environmental benefits are summarised as follows: with 20,000,000 electronic transactions conducted annually, Piraeus Bank saves 90,000 kg of paper, a number interpreted in 2,000 trees; 3,500,000 litres of water and 450,000 KWh of energy saved by not consuming this amount of paper; additionally, by saving energy, the emission of 90,000 kg of CO2 in the atmosphere is avoided. Moreover, the bank makes continuous efforts to raise customers’ environmental awareness, through messages in web and ATM banking.


  • Green Ethics: The motivation for promoting the Green banking derives from the excessive penetration of bank transactions in everyday life and activities. A key point in green banking is that the additional profit that derives from the green banking operation is contributory to the environment and the public and not benefiting the bank units themselves.
  • Market demand: Green Growth, now a national, EU and global strategic vision, creates a huge market for Green Banking products; competition is due to promote eco-innovation.


  • Risk: Green banking products are a new market, in which traditional banks have little experience.
  • Knowledge: Environmental know-how is not fully available in-house, hence a new department as well as strategic alliances with external consultants were required.

Further Information

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Eco Innovation in Practice in Greece

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