Poland is one of the largest EU Member States and the only one that had positive economic growth during the 2008–09 crisis. During the last 20 years, like othe Eastern European states Poland went through two transformations: the first from totalitarianism and a centrally planned economy to democracy and a market-based economy; the second through accession to EU membership. Currently, the main policy focus is to diminish the gap in standards of living between Poland and the most developed EU Member States.

Poland, since its accession to the EU in 2004, has been trying to utilise EU funds, reduce the backlogs in transportation infrastructure and environmental protection and at the same time build a strong and stable economy. The state of the natural environment has improved, while the resources productivity and energy intensity have increased. Despite that, Polish productivity indexes per GDP still remain below performances of the most of the EU countries. During the last 20 years, energy consumption remained stable in spite of significant GDP growth (due to energy efficiency improvement and changing the structure of economy). Nevertheless, the energy intensity index is still 2-3 times lower than the EU-27 average.

Despite the fact that the official state policy in the area of eco-innovation misses synergy, the eco-innovations have been addressed via national policy strategies on environmental protection, product policy, energy efficiency in buildings, etc. The interest of SMEs in eco-innovation is slowly growing, especially in relation to cost reduction possibilities (notably reduction of energy consumption and decreasing expenditures related to pollutant emissions). The country also has outstanding examples of eco-innovations in energy and water management, hazardous waste treatment, solar energy, green banking and coke industry and a number of eco-innovation related programmes and initiatives within various clusters. On the other hand, eco-innovation does not constitute a driving force for new business opportunities in Poland.

2012 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for Poland

Eco-innovation in Poland: 2012 update

Eco-innovation in Poland: 2012 update

Positive, albeit slow changes can be observed in Poland in the area of eco-innovations. They do not immediately translate into a significant increase in the value of the eco-innovativeness index. Compared with 2011 Poland moved from the last place to the 25th position. The increase occurred in the area of eco-innovation output.

Significant recent initiatives include:

  • Publication of the document “Innovativeness and Efficiency of the Economy – Strategy for 2012-2020. Dynamic Poland” prepared by the Ministry of Economy. It draws attention to low environmental awareness and sees eco-innovations as a driver for increasing knowledge, competences and abilities.
  • Agreement between the National Fund for Environmental Protection and Water Management and the National Centre for Research and Development on the establishment of the programme GEKON – Environmental Concept Generator. It gathers various initiatives that support Polish research institutions and companies in developing environmentally-friendly technologies.
  • Successful continuation of the programme Greenevo – Green Technologies Accelerator. This initiative of the Ministry of Environment supports Polish eco-innovators, mostly small and medium enterprises (SMEs) transferring their technologies all around the world. In 2011 alone, GreenEvo participants revenues increased by 31% on average, and their export revenues soared by 58%. What is more 86% of companies made a trade offer to foreign customers, and 50% of them have signed distribution agreements with foreign partners.
  • Establishing a number of eco-innovation oriented clusters e.g. Silesian Cluster of Environmental Technologies, Baltic Eco-energy cluster and Clen Energy Cluster of Małopolska and Podkarpackie
  • Participation of Poland in the Environmental Technologies Verification (ETV) Pilot Programme of the European Union – a scheme supporting market uptake of eco-innovative technologies. 

Despite these positive signals, development of eco-innovations in Poland is still hindered by a number of barriers. Eco-innovations still tend to be perceived as “end of pipe, environmental protection technologies” rather than a cross- cutting innovations. Transition to a low-carbon economy is perceived as a threat in companies and SMEs. Implementation of stringent environmental regulations is seen solely as a cost and not as an opportunity for building an innovative and competitive economy. Awareness on the benefits resulting from implementation of eco-innovative technologies among entrepreneurs and consumers in general is relatively low. Entrepreneurs tend to invest in cheapest technologies allowing them to achieve the commercial goal or meet the minimum legislative requirement. Many entrepreneurs and research organisation fail to see benefits from cooperation. Establishment of the National Centre for Research and Development and development of clusters should improve that situation.

In overall, Poland sill lacks an integrated support system for eco-innovations that would cover all institutions and subjects involved in the development of the green economy.

Last Updated on Friday, 28 February 2014 14:09
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1 KAPLANs water turbine 713
2 Gasifier QM12 for gasification of biomass and waste 836
3 Solar and wind powered street lighting in Prudnik municipality 835
4 T-Technology - a system for production of liquid fuels from plastics waste 1257
5 Lighting in the Mechanical Vocational School in Łapy 1010
6 Smart energy grid at the Hel Peninsula 835
7 Energy-efficient teaching and laboratory building powered with renewable energy 899
8 Hazardous waste management technology - MTT method (Microwave Thermal Treatment). 2989
9 Support for environmentally-friendly energy sector development with the use of Smart Grids infrastructure. 1496
10 Aerator: an aeration device for the purpose of water treatment 2752
11 PolSEFF - Polish Sustainable Energy Financing Facility 1962
12 Loan with a Climate. Bank Ochrony Środowiska (BOŚ) 2599
13 ROVAPO – a zero discharge technology. PP-EKO, Sp. z o. o. 4999
14 Installation of photovoltaic (PV) systems on a public building – a building of the Warsaw University of Technology (WUT). 3345
15 PROM@R MONITORING SYSTEM (PMS). Promar, Sp. z o.o. 3767
16 CLEVEO Intelligent LED street lamp. LEDIKO Walendowski i Wilanowski Sp. j. 4087
17 Producer of solar sewage sludge dryers. Ekotop Roman Sobczyk 5657
18 WATT- producer of solar collectors 3433

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