France is a major European player in the field of eco-innovation, and possesses a strong track record in environmental regulation and support schemes – targeting both public and private actors (including individuals). This is illustrated by its strong ranking in the 2015 Eco-Innovation Scoreboard (seventh among the 28 EU Member States). However, France still falls behind a number of front-runners, particularly due to limited energy and water productivity and limited green early-stage investments. Increasing levels of resource efficiency, particularly energy efficiency, in key sectors such as transport and building are also key priorities.

The most important eco-innovation areas in France are linked to network and network management industries, and more specifically water management and sanitation, waste management, and environmental engineering. These sectors are well organised around very large international firms that are also major aggregators of innovations.

Since 2010, a group of clusters, focusing on environmental technologies, have supported the creation of innovative local networks of SMEs and large companies based around water and waste management, energy efficiency, renewable energies, smart cities and smart transport. These clusters act as a major testbed for the emergence of eco-innovations, and help to bring together public and private partners around common issues.

In addition, the national and regional support to eco-innovation and the circular economy is strong. At the national level, a number of dedicated calls for projects have been set up in recent years, complementing existing support measures such as eco-innovation equity funds or tax incentives focusing on the demand side of eco-innovation. At the regional level, 20 out of the 22 (former) metropolitan regions have at least one strategic domain of their Regional Smart Specialisation Strategy directly related to eco-industries. 

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





Labels: France

france_Econoving_resizedEconoving is a research programme specialised in eco-innovation for sustainable cities. Econoving is a grouping of five higher education and research insitutions (Université Paris-Sud 11, University of Versailles-Saint-Quentin-en-Yvelines, Ecole Normale Supérieure de Cachan, Ecole Centrale de Paris and Ecole Supérieure d'Electricité - Supélec), five partner companies (Alstom, GDF SUEZ, Italcementi, Saur, SNCF) and ADEME (French Environment and Energy Management Agency).

Together, they created an international chair on eco-innovations in 2009-2010. Some of the research projects are the “Programme Gare”, on energy performance in train stations and the “Energie Positive IT” programme, aiming at creating an open information system so as to enable steering of energy and carbon footprint management system within eco-districts. The programme, whose team includes 27 people, has been labeled by the Advancity and Mov'eo clusters, and is one of the six projects selected by the National Research Agency as part of its new programme “Industrial Chairs” and will receive as a support of  € 720 000.

A dedicated international master degree and a doctoral programme with currently four doctorants involved have been created under this frame. A challenge aiming at rewarding young eco-innovative entrepreneurs has been created in 2012 in partnership with Saur.

The Econoving programme is now in its second phase (2012-2016).

Barriers and Drivers

Econoving aims at filling several gaps, such as the demand for tailored training in the field of eco-innovation and the need to develop a prospective view on the development of the eco-innovation market. Econoving is based on the need to develop a technology road map and to analyse market opportunities in eco-innovation. It also highlights the necessity to increase collaboration between academia and the industry.

This programme is based on five strategic objectives:

•              Accelerate the transition between the various scientific fields and industrial applications

•              Anticipate and respond to increasing needs from the current and future businesses in knowledge and skills in eco-innovations related fields

•              Create eco-companies from new services, products and professions

•              Advise on all opportunities and risks associated with eco-innovative projects

•              Build a network of international resources on eco-innovation

Economic Performance

This initiative aims at developing market intelligence and prospective studies on eco-innovation so as to improve productivity and competitiveness in eco-innovation fields.One of the five strategic objectives is to improve technology transfer and cooperation between academia and the industry. The project also aims at the increased number of eco-companies.

Social Performance

This initiative encompasses two educational programmes, a Master's degree as well as a doctoral programme. It aims at filling gaps in education and training in eco-innovation and to foster sustainable job creation.

Environmental Impact

The main mission of Econoving is to support the development of an eco-innovation cluster so as to foster green technologies and innovation for sustainable cities.  Its research programmes aim at improving energy efficiency in train stations as well as create a tool in order to facilitate steering of energy and carbon footprint management systems.

One of its main missions is also to sustain emulation and innovation in eco-districts and in general in urban areas. The challenge Saur-Econoving answers this demand.

Further Impact

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