Eco-innovation has become a very topical issue, as the challenges of climate change and the oil peak have climbed much higher up the political agenda but there are several definitions of the term. The 2007 review of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) defined eco-innovation as “any innovation that benefits the environment – embracing technological innovation, process innovation and business innovation.”
However, the absence of a precise definition does not prevent economic stakeholders from having an interest in the topic. On the contrary, eco-innovation attracts the attention of policy-makers and business actors alike because of the significance and speed of growth of its market potential. A 2009 report produced by the German Ministry of Environment in association with its Federal Environmental Agency stated that “In 2005 they (green markets) already represented a global market volume of nearly 1000 billion euro. Estimates indicate that turnover from these environmental industries will more than double by 2020, to 2,200 billion euro.”
Apart from a lack of definition, there is also a lack of comprehensive methodological approaches for measuring eco-innovation, and of robust indicators and statistical systems for an in-depth analysis and so research in this field still has challenges to tackle.
In terms of policy interventions, several instruments exist, such as fiscal measures, green public procurements, standards and subsidies but the horizontal and pervasive character of eco-innovation calls for an orchestrated, coordinated approach across different policy areas.
Within Europe INNOVA, the Eco-innovation platform aims to provide a European integrated platform offering support tools and instruments to the innovation business service providers.
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Download the Eco-Innovation general factsheet here