Joint Research Centre - European Commission

The European Commission's in-house science service
European Commission

Brussels (BE) - 15/05/12

JRC Conference on "Scientific support for growth, jobs and sustainability: the example of the Eco-Industries"


Eco-Industries are activities which produce goods and services to measure, prevent, limit, minimize or correct environmental damage to water, air and soil, as well as problems related to waste and eco-systems. Thus Eco-Industries produce technologies, products and services that reduce environmental risk and minimize pollution and resources.

The major characteristic of European Eco-Industries is their diversity but also thier potential and the need of additional scientific support. Activities range from high-tech products and complex services in renewable energy, energy efficiency and air quality control to mature and well established applications in recycling and water and waste treatment. The EU's lead in many sectors (water; air quality; waste; energy efficiency; and renewable energy sources) gives a strong potential for growth and generates qualified jobs at local level.

The aim of the conference is to identify where scientific support is needed to strengthen Europe's Eco-Industries as a source of growth and jobs.



Registration is now closed


The event can be followed live via webstreaming here

Agenda and Presentations

→ Download the PDF (Latest version: 03/05/2012)

08:15 - 09:00   Registration of participants

09:00 - 09:45   Opening session

Welcoming words and introduction of the panel by Dominique Ristori, JRC Director-General, European Commission

  • Máire Geoghegan-Quinn, European Commissioner for Research, Innovation and Science
  • Hannes Swoboda, President of the Group of the Progressive Alliance of Socialists and Democrats in the European Parliament
  • Marion Guillou, President and CEO if the French National Institute for Agricultural Research (INRA)

09:45 - 10:45   First session: SCIENCE FOR CLEAN WATER

Water management is an important sector for growth. Between 2000 and 2008, it generation of jobs increased – the employment growth rate reached almost 7% per year. In the eco-industries, the ensemble of water supply activities and wastewater management created about one third of the industries' turnover. One of the key global players in wastewater management is the EU, holding 30% of the global market share. Yet there is still some work to be done – between 20% and 40% of the available water in Europe is being wasted and simulations have shown that the water savings potential could be as much as 65%.

Introduction of session by Moderator David Wilkinson, Director, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission

  • Water savings and Follow-up of World Water Forum: Patrick Lavarde, President of the French National Agency for Water and Aquatic Environments (ONEMA)
  • Sustainable water management in Europe: Gernot Klotz, Executive Director Research and Innovation, European Chemical Industry Council (Cefic)
  • Needs for basic and applied science and research: Nicholas P. Hankins, Department of Engineering Science, University of Oxford

Summary by the Moderator and launch of the discussion


In 2008, air pollution activities amounted to less than 3% of the turnover generated by eco-industries. As there are around 40 million people in the 115 largest cities of the EU being exposed to air exceeding WHO quality guideline values, there is surely some potential for growth in this sector.

Introduction of session by Moderator Leen Hordijk, Principal Adviser to the Director-General, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission

  • Smart cities: Gunnar Söderholm, Director at the Environment and Health Department of the City of Stockholm
  • Future of Mobility: Irene Feige, Director of the Institute for Mobility Research (ifmo), research facility of the BMW Group
  • Needs for basic and applied science and research: David Fowler, Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH)

Summary by the Moderator and launch of the discussion

11:45 – 12:45   Third session: WASTE MANAGEMENT

The EU produces about three billion tonnes of waste a year. With only 40% of the solid waste being recycled, there is still a significant loss of resources (materials, energy).

However, materials' recycling is already the fastest growing area within the eco-industries regarding employment creation (2000-2008) and waste management activities (29% of total turnover in 2008, ranked first). The EU itself holds 50% of the global market share in waste management and recycling technologies.

Introduction of session by Moderator John Bensted-Smith, Director, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission

  • Waste Management and Environmental Services: Peter Kurth, President of the European Federation of Waste Management and Environmental Services (FEAD)
  • Recycling for industries needs: Ross Bartley, Director of Environment and Technical Affairs of the Bureau of International Recycling (BIR)
  • Waste management: the need for applied science and research: Luis Delgado, Head of Unit, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission

Summary by the Moderator and launch of the discussion

12:45 – 14:15   Lunch and Exhibition: displaying new techniques in eco-industries

Innovative European companies and institutes will display new techniques in eco-industries during a lunch break exhibition. A working lunch will be served at the venue.

14:15 – 15:15   Fourth session: RENEWABLES

Renewable energy is a sector with a growing employment rate with 11% employment growth per year between 2000 and 2008. Possessing 40% of global market shares, the EU has a comparative advantage in renewable energy technologies.

Compared to overall patent applications for eco-industries (6% total growth rate), renewable energy shows a high dynamism. Between 1999 and 2008, the annual growth rate of patent applications was as high as 24% in OECD countries.

Introduction of the session by Moderator Paul Rübig, Member of European Parliament

  • Renewables: Arthouros Zervos, President of the European Renewable Energy Council (EREC)
  • Photovoltaic: Heinz Ossenbrink, head of Unit, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission
  • Biomass and bio fuels in aviation: Kati Ihamäki, Finnair Vice-President Sustainable Development

Summary by the Moderator and launch of the discussion

15:15 -16:45   Fifth session: ENERGY EFFICIENCY

As in the renewable energies sector, the number of patent inventions in energy efficiency (building and lighting) increased more rapidly (11%) compared to the average growth of total patents between 1999 and 2008.

With a global market share of about 35%, the EU is a key actor in this sector. In addition, new efficiency labelling is coming into force in Europe for electric engines. This labelling from 1.1 to 90 kW is going to make it easier for consumers to choose the most efficient application.

Introduction of session by Moderator Daniel Calleja Crespo, Director-General of DG Enterprise, European Commission

  • Transport - decreasing of consumption: Ivan Hodac, Secretary General of the European Automobile Manufacturer's Association (ACEA)
  • Low carbon technology and RD&D (Research, Development and Deployment) needs for "Smart Cities": Jean-Paul Peers, Vice-President Energy & climate, Siemens Energy Sector.
  • Needs for basic and applied science and research: Helmfried Meinel, Director General, Ministry for the Environment, Climate, and Energy of the State of Baden-Württemberg

Summary by the Moderator and launch of the discussion

16:45 -17:30   Concluding Session

  • Malcolm Harbour, Member of the European Parliament, Chairman of the Committee on Internal Market and Consumer Protection (IMCO)
  • Dominique Ristori, Director General, Joint Research Centre (JRC), European Commission

Practical Information

Date of conference: Tuesday, 15 May 2012

Venue: Alcide De Gasperi, Charlemagne Building, 2nd Floor, 170 rue de la Loi, B-1049 Brussels

How to reach the venue?

Photo of the TAD installation in Setubal, Portugal

Venue Map ©2011 Google - Map Data ©2011 Google

  • By Metro: Metro Station "Schuman" Line 1 or 5 – exit indicating "Berlaymont and Charlemagne"
  • From the airport: Bus No.12 - Direction "Brussels City”, get off at Bus Stop "Rond-point Schuman".
  • Train: Take the train towards Brussels, get off at "Central Station", then take the metro, line 1 or 5, get off at "Schuman" - exit indicating "Berlaymont and Charlemagne" For more information on timetables and transport please check:

Access to the building: For security reasons access to Charlemagne building will be controlled. Please bring your passport or identity card.

Welcome/Registration Desk: The Welcome desk will be open on 15 May from 08h15 to 17h30. The registration desk is located to the left of the entrance of the building.

Fees: There are no registration fees for this conference but you are required to register.

Travel and hotel accommodation: Participants must make their own arrangements for travel and hotel accommodation. The European Commission will not reimburse these expenses.

Information on accommodation in Brussels can be found on one of the following websites:

Lunch: On 15 May, the European Commission invites all participants to a working lunch at the venue.

Exhibition: "New techniques in Eco-Industries". This exhibition will be located near the conference room.