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Sustainable and responsible business


Illustration: factory and flower © Onidji - Fotolia

Identifying and addressing market failures and regulatory barriers that hinder the competitiveness of environmental industries and influence the uptake of more sustainable solutions by other industries is a key objective of the Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy.

A first step in the process of developing policy initiatives for environmental industries consists of carrying out a competitiveness analysis of environmental industries in Europe, with the view to identify areas for future policy initiatives. Analysing which key factors influence the competitiveness of these industries is of utmost importance.

All enterprises, including service enterprises, having energy and environment issues as the core source of income are considered part of eco-industries.

Two broad categories of eco-industries can be considered, one of small and innovative companies acting in the field of, e.g. renewable energy, waste recycling, environmental auditing and consultancy; the other of more capital intensive enterprises providing goods and services in specific areas, e.g. waste, wastewater, transport. Different policy options are required to address the specificities of each of these categories.

Consulting business and other stakeholders is important, notably regarding, the barriers that may hamper growth on the Internal Market; and the mechanisms and incentives to help SMEs to adopt more environmentally friendly and energy efficient solutions.

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