The European Eco-Innovation Platform
The Eco-innovation Platform (Eco-IP) is a European platform established under the Europe INNOVA initiative, with the aim to accelerate the take-up of eco-innovative solutions in Europe. The initiative focuses on the development and testing of new or better innovation support mechanisms for innovative small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), in particular in technological and industrial fields.
The Eco-IP brings together public and private partners from different countries willing to cooperate in developing new forms of support for innovation, taking into account the specific needs of those companies holding eco-innovative solutions, as well as the potential role of services innovation in support of societal needs. This includes experimentation with new forms of intermediation between companies holding prototype eco-innovative solutions and companies willing to produce greener and available to test the prototypes as first users. The Eco-IP thus contributes to bridge the demand for and supply of environment-friendly solutions and, in doing so, to the development of innovative eco-industries in Europe. Market failures that still hamper the wider take-up of eco-innovation are being alleviated.
The Eco-IP is open for cooperation with other initiatives in support of eco-innovation and undertakes maximum efforts to develop and test a set of new innovation support services that can ultimately be integrated into regional and national innovation support programmes. Specific attention is paid to leveraging proven and tested solutions into the Enterprise Europe Network that offers great potential to strengthen the impact of new concepts developed under Europe INNOVA.
The Eco-IP is strengthening the innovation capacity of SMEs active in emerging eco-innovation market areas, as identified by the Lead Market Initiative and the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). The Eco-IP contains four sectoral partnerships: in the sector of bio-based products, water and wastewater, recycling and resource efficiency as well as the food industry. Each partnership addresses a number of specific challenges to better respond to the specific needs of potential high growth companies active in eco-innovative solutions. A fifth project, a horizontal support action, links the partnerships of the Eco-IP to the wider eco-innovation community, as well as fostering the exchange of experience among European innovation champions in the area of eco-innovation.
- The BIOCHEM project tests tools to support companies, and especially SMEs, to enter the emerging and highly promising market for bio-based products in the chemical sector.
Bio-based products are made from renewable, biological raw materials such as plants and trees. They are typically sold on into market sectors such as bio-plastics, bio-lubricants, surfactants, enzymes and pharmaceuticals. Bio-based products also constitute one of Europe’s six ‘Lead Markets'. The proposed support solutions are referred to as the ‘BIOCHEM Accelerator,’ which comprises training programmes for innovators and potential first users, together with awareness-raising campaigns.
- INNOWATER partnership provides better innovation support tools and delivery mechanisms in sustainable water and wastewater. It is a public private innovation partnership of public innovation agencies, water associations and technology specialists, innovation experts and eco-innovative cluster organisations.
INNOWATER supports innovators by giving them concrete advice and support to bring their innovative technologies to the market, using specifically developed tools. On the demand side, it supports water-users in evaluating their water-use, identifying their challenges and bringing them into contact with innovative technologies to address these challenges. During the project, this support is provided in the UK and the Netherlands (for innovators) and Spain and Cyprus (for water-using industry).
- REMake develops a number of tools in support of innovative companies in the lead market area of recycling and resource efficiency (RRE). The core of its activities is the testing of a comprehensive set of consulting tools, including modules on eco-design, life-cycle assessment, and eco-innovation management. This is carried out by means of a two-stage voucher scheme for manufacturing SMEs producing or applying RRE technologies.
Partners of REMake are innovation agencies, industrial associations and technical centres. REMake targets SMEs with ambitions to grow along greening processes in the manufacturing of engineered products, with focus on fabricated metal products, plastic products, surface finishing, mechanical engineering, electric and electronic equipment.
- EcoTroFood addresses the environmental challenges faced by the food industry. It aims to increase the commercialisation of innovative eco-friendly technical solutions, products and services in the food/drink processing industry and thus radically decrease its environmental impact, in addition to reducing costs.
With this in mind, EcoTroFood is intended to improve access to information and knowledge of food eco-innovation, in particular for SMEs. The practices developed within the project will become part of a European food eco-innovation platform for the provision of information to, and the sharing of knowledge with, relevant eco-innovation actors.
- ECOLINK+ is a project to strengthen Europe's eco-innovation community. It exploits synergies between the actions of Eco-IP and the relevant eco-innovation support policies of the EU through the set up a steering group for the Eco-IP to ensure an overall coherence of the platform’s vertical activities and with other EU initiatives within and outside Europe INNOVA.
In addition, through the involvement of economic development actors at regional level, ECOLINK+ is creating a business club that will gather the 100 best performing Eco-innovators in the EU and give them the opportunity to develop business relationships with their peers, investors and service providers. Moreover, the project reaches out to eco-innovation support actors that take a close interest in the activities of the Eco-IP. Such actors can be enlisted to participate in actions of the Eco-IP, notably in view of following up on certain of its outcomes.
The Eco-innovation Observatory supports the Eco-IP by being a strategic knowledge resource on eco-innovation for businesses and policy-makers. As part of the ETAP, its main objective is to gather market intelligence on eco-innovation, analyse technology trends and provide sectoral analysis. The Observatory also provides enterprises with the latest market insights to spot and exploit market opportunities and trends. The Observatory liaises with other EU initiatives in the field. Its main deliverable is an annual report on the state of eco-innovation and eco-industries in the EU and an online information tool for businesses and policy-makers.