The Greek economy, part of the hardly hit by the debt crisis Eurozone countries, has seen its annual growth rates falling from an average of 3-4% since 2004. The on-going financial crisis inevitably affected all economic sectors, local business and labour market. On the other hand, the financial downturn has provided the impetus for a comprehensive and structural reform, aimed at the development of a healthier investment and business environment, including among others faster licensing procedures, a better focused investment law and the liberalisation of a number of markets; however the implementation of these structural changes is still at an early stage.
The uncertainty of the economic and social environment seems to have further enhanced the openness of the Greek businesses and society to new concepts; however, the majority of indices measuring innovation rank the country below the EU27 average, showing particular difficulties in the implementation of new ideas. Greece seems to be performing better in the promotion of new to the firm products or processes, as well as to organisational innovation.

Eco-innovation is not an exception to the above. Despite the crisis, public funding available for eco-innovation investments has increased (Structural Funds), while the availability of scientific and research personnel has remained adequate, even though often lacks sufficient business experience. Availability of eco-innovation inputs is expected to be further improved in the future; the Greek National Strategic Framework for Research and Innovation (NSFRI) is based on a global target for R&D public spending at 2 % of GDP in 2020, while at the same time anticipates that research will be primarily focused on selected priority areas, with ‘Environment’ already being identified as a prominent sector, in line with the national strategic objective for Green Growth.
It shows relatively better performance in company level eco-innovation activities targeting energy and material efficiency improvement. Furthermore, Greece ranks among the five top EU performers in energy productivity of its economy. Food and chemical industries are showed to be more active in promoting eco-innovative products and processes. Present policy priorities and strategic developments indicate the following emerging lead markets with a good potential for eco-innovation: the waste management sector (recycling, treatment, re-use), the green tourism industry; the green banking services. Eco-innovation is not explicitly framed in the policy agenda of Greece; its elements are somewhat captured by general innovation and S&T policy strategies and the availability of eco-innovation inputs is expected to grow in the future. At the same time, there are regulatory and policy restrictions in business exploitation of eco-innovative concepts.

2013 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Greece



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Eco Innovation in Practice in Greece

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