The Polish economy is among the least resource- and energy-efficient economies in the EU. These present both a challenge and a considerable economic opportunity for the country, which is still undergoing the process of economic modernisation. Eco-innovation opportunity, leading to cost savings and higher productivity in both production and service-delivery, remains largely untapped.
Poland is among the countries that have scored lowest in the European Eco-Innovation Scoreboard since 2010. In the 2015 edition, it came second to last in the EU with a score well below the EU average. The country underperforms particularly in R&D and innovation investments and early-stage investments in green technologies, as well as in economic activities related to eco-innovation. The Polish green technology market is in the early phase of development and is considered to have sizable growth potential.
The most significant barriers to eco-innovation in Poland are mainly of an economic nature, including high cost of implementation, difficult access to capital, uncertain return on investment and the weak system of economic and fiscal incentives encouraging eco-innovation. Other problems include administrative barriers. The most important driver are significant investment from structural funds and national sources, mainly from the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and its regional branches.
Although Poland has not developed an integrated approach to eco-innovation policy, the development and implementation of eco-innovative technologies are now supported by the objectives of key national and regional strategy documents. These include ‘dynamic Poland 2020’ (Strategy for Efficiency and Innovation Economy), Entrepreneurship Development Programme, the National Smart Specialisation with priorities relevant for eco-innovation and circular economy, such as waste reduction, re-use and recycling, sustainable transport, energy-efficient construction, water efficiency technologies as well as material substitution .
2015 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Poland