Navigation path

News - Archives - Page 1

EU and industry to invest €14bn in green innovation

The EU, Member States and industry would invest €14bn in four R&D public-private partnerships with big potential environmental benefits under legislative proposals unveiled by the European Commission on 10 July.

The proposals, which still need to be agreed by MEPs and member states to become law, envisage the partnerships (also called Joint Technology Initiatives) starting in 2014 for: bio-based industries (€3.8bn), greener aircraft (€4bn), more efficient electronics (€4.8bn), and fuel cells and hydrogen (€1.4bn).

Only the bio-based industries programme is new; the others would prolong existing initiatives set up under the current 7th Framework Programme for Research (FP7). The programmes would run for a decade, except the bio-based industries one, which would end in 2020.

These partnerships are a way of implementing the EU’s new Horizon 2020 programme for R&D for 2014-20. The idea is to invest in innovation in sectors that provide high quality jobs. For each initiative, industry would provide at least half the funds, rising to three-quarters in the case of bio-based industries.

Each programme has specific goals as well as financial commitments. For example, the green aircraft (Clean Sky) initiative aims to reduce CO2, NOx and noise from aircraft by 20-30% and the bio-based industries initiative aims to develop sustainable feedstocks, biorefineries and demand for bio-based products and biofuels.

In addition, the European Commission is looking to strengthen industrial engagement in Horizon 2020 through a second kind of partnership, not bound by legislation. It is considering “Memoranda of Understanding” in the fields of green cars, energy efficient buildings, “factories of the future” and sustainable process industries.

Again, the first three already exist under FP7 but sustainable process industries (SPIRE) is new. It would be dedicated to innovation in resource and energy efficiency in processing sectors such as steel, chemicals, and water.

Ultimately, the EU’s goal is to boost private investments in particular to reach the target of spending 3% of GDP on R&D. This will secure Europe’s future competitiveness and well-being in the environmental, economic and human sense .

Read the press release (including links to individual fact sheets):

Read the European Commission communication:

Visit the SPIRE (Sustainable Process Industry through Resource and Energy Efficiency) website to learn more about this association:

To encourage the exchange of experiences among the community of eco-innovation professionals, DG Environment and the EBAE Secretariat have set up a LinkedIn page dedicated to the European Business Awards for the Environment. The page has recently been launched during Green Week 2013.

With a conference, exhibition and satellite events, Green Week 2013 provided many opportunities to share experiences in eco-innovation. Whilst walking through the stands of over 40 exhibitors, visitors were introduced to business solutions that set new environmental standards, such as emission control applications. Participants could follow the latest discussions among policy makers, industry representatives and other stakeholders by attending some of the 33 sessions, which took place in The Egg Conference Centre in Brussels or virtually by web stream.

The same exchange of ideas, experiences and discussions will now be facilitated online through the LinkedIn page for the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE), which was launched during Green Week. With the Awards, DG Environment showcases and promotes Europe’s pioneers in green innovation. The EBAE’s LinkedIn page will highlight their success stories and will also serve as a platform for business and industry to discuss the benefits of eco-innovation.

With the launch of the EBAE LinkedIn page during Green Week, the EBAE Secretariat has reached out to a large number of professionals with an interest in eco-innovation. With flyers, posters, a newsletter and personalised invitations, they have been invited to join the page and engage in the first discussions. Also members of other LinkedIn groups in the field of sustainable business have been informed and invited to join the group. In the week after its launch, the new EBAE platform attracted several dozen members (national coordinators, jury members, companies, etc), and the first discussions were posted.

The administrators of the group will encourage and facilitate the exchange and postings on the page, which will feature topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility, eco-innovation events and the marketing of sustainable products and services.

European Business Awards for the Environment LinkedIn page

The EBAE LinkedIn page is an open group for all professionals that are interested in green business solutions and eco-innovation. DG Environment and the EBAE Secretariat invite you to join the group and look forward to your contributions.

Green Week 2013
European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) on LinkedIn

EBAE's LinkedIn page stimulates exchange of successful practices in green business

To encourage the exchange of experiences among the community of eco-innovation professionals, DG Environment and the EBAE Secretariat have set up a LinkedIn page dedicated to the European Business Awards for the Environment. The page has recently been launched during Green Week 2013.

With a conference, exhibition and satellite events, Green Week 2013 provided many opportunities to share experiences in eco-innovation. Whilst walking through the stands of over 40 exhibitors, visitors were introduced to business solutions that set new environmental standards, such as emission control applications. Participants could follow the latest discussions among policy makers, industry representatives and other stakeholders by attending some of the 33 sessions, which took place in The Egg Conference Centre in Brussels or virtually by web stream.

The same exchange of ideas, experiences and discussions will now be facilitated online through the LinkedIn page for the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE), which was launched during Green Week. With the Awards, DG Environment showcases and promotes Europe's pioneers in green innovation. The EBAE's LinkedIn page will highlight their success stories and will also serve as a platform for business and industry to discuss the benefits of eco-innovation.

With the launch of the EBAE LinkedIn page during Green Week, the EBAE Secretariat has reached out to a large number of professionals with an interest in eco-innovation. With flyers, posters, a newsletter and personalised invitations, they have been invited to join the page and engage in the first discussions. Also members of other LinkedIn groups in the field of sustainable business have been informed and invited to join the group. In the week after its launch, the new EBAE platform attracted several dozen members (national coordinators, jury members, companies, etc), and the first discussions were posted.

The administrators of the group will encourage and facilitate the exchange and postings on the page, which will feature topics such as Corporate Social Responsibility, eco-innovation events and the marketing of sustainable products and services.

European Business Awards for the Environment LinkedIn page

The EBAE LinkedIn page is an open group for all professionals that are interested in green business solutions and eco-innovation. DG Environment and the EBAE Secretariat invite you to join the group and look forward to your contributions.

Green Week 2013
European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) on LinkedIn

Eco-innovation forum in Prague targets cleaner air

From 2014, the European Forum on Eco-Innovation will also host the Award Ceremony for the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) competition.

Held twice a year, the European fora on eco-innovation bring together specialists from business, finance, technology development, academia, non-governmental organisations and other relevant stakeholders actively involved in eco-innovation and environmental technologies. Participants discuss a theme proposed by the EcoAP High Level Working Group, European Commission or host country.

Let's discover the topic of the latest forum held in Prague, the Czech Republic, on 23-24 May.

Innovation in communication, financing and governance can help Europe deliver on its air quality ambitions, said stakeholders at the 14th European eco-innovation forum.

Their target for action was cities. “I greatly welcome the urban focus,” said Martin Frélich, first deputy minister at the Czech Ministry of the Environment. “Cities must be the real triggers of transformation if we want to create a more pleasant environment for all of us.”

The Forum’s recommendations will feed into a strategic implementation plan due in October, for the European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on Smart Cities and Communities, a public-private partnership. Participants were asked to reflect upon ways for innovative solutions to improve air quality in cities from the three perspectives concerned by the EIP: mobility, energy and ICT.

The Forum’s recommendations appeared to be a good fit with emerging priorities for action on smart cities outlined by EIP leader Henriette van Eijl from the European Commission. First on the list was “seduce the citizen”, which resonated strongly with delegates.
The EU is also due to complete a review of its air quality policy by the end of the year.

A number of case studies and existing solutions adopted by local authorities and developed by EU SMEs were presented and discussed. See some examples below.

“If you ask, do you want to stop driving your car to work, people will say no. If you ask, what kind of a city do you want to live in, you’re framed the question in a way that’s politically palatable,” explained Simon Goddard from Gehl Architects. Citizens need to feel empowered, not imposed upon.

There was a widespread call too for mobility-related data, for example on traffic flows, to be made publicly available to let entrepreneurs invent applications to reduce congestion and get to work faster, for example.

Innovative financing is also essential to green cities, delegates said, suggesting solutions such as including (electric) car-sharing in the cost of office rental or even making public transport available fully free of charge as Tallinn, the capital of Estonia, has done. It has paid for this through higher income tax collection as residents have registered to benefit from the service.

Public procurement can play a vital role in building critical mass for innovative solutions, the conference heard, especially when local or regional authorities come together as in Gothenburg, Sweden.

Finally, policymakers must adopt a more integrated vision and approach that brings together different departments, ensures affordable, accessible alternatives to the private car, and reaches out to suppliers to explain exactly what municipalities are looking for.

Highlights and recommendations of the Forum are published in a report which will be released in the coming weeks.

Visit the Forum and EIP website, to find more information:
14th European Forum on Eco-Innovation
EIP on Smart Cities and Communities

Defining "green" on the European market

The European Commission has released plans to improve how the environmental performance of products and organisations is measured and communicated in an effort to boost the green economy. This is growing, but the overall market share of green products– up to 5% for some categories in some member states – remains marginal.

The problem is, the Commission says, that consumers are unclear over what “green” means. According to a recent Eurobarometer survey, nearly half (48%) of European consumers are confused. Almost a third has encountered misleading information. Industry, meanwhile, wants the EU to define “green” to cut the effort and cost of complying with a multitude of different national definitions.

The goal is to create a single European market for green products, as foreseen in the 2011 resource efficiency roadmap. On 9 April the Commission therefore launched two environmental footprinting methodologies – one for products and one for organisations – plus a set of principles for communicating their results.

At the launch of this long-awaited package, EU environment commissioner Janez Potočnik explained: “By giving people reliable and comparable information about the environmental impacts and credentials of products and organisations, we enable them to choose. And by helping companies to align their methods we cut their costs and administrative burdens.”

The footprinting methodologies are voluntary, although an accompanying recommendation urges the private and public sector to apply them. They are based on life cycle analysis (LCA) and improve on some existing methodologies through a more comprehensive approach, the Commission says. They clearly identify potential environmental impact categories and set minimum data quality requirements, for example.

The Commission has launched a three-year test period for the new methodologies. In this time, it hopes to set environmental benchmarks for specific products and sectors, develop ideas to ease application of the new methods (e.g. for SMEs), and test different compliance and verification systems, and communication strategies.

New communication efforts will build on the best practice principles set out by the Commission in its 9 April package, including transparency, completeness and comparability of information.

At the end of the three-year test period, the Commission will decide on further policy applications of the new footprints, including whether they should be made mandatory. The ultimate goal is to provide “the right incentives for citizens and public authorities to choose the most resource efficient products”, as the 2011 resource efficiency roadmap says.

Retailers’ association EuroCommerce has welcomed the proposed methodologies but insists their use should remain voluntary.  The European Engineering Industries Association (Orgalime) and consumer group ANEC however, reject the Commission’s LCA approach and say the proposed methodologies will provide consumers with “misleading information”.

Environmental Technology Verification: EU pilot programme now operational

In 2009, the manufacturer of a water quality monitoring device, hoping to distribute it in Asia, was asked for evidence of an independent, scientific verification of its performance, so that the buyers could compare it with a similar American product.

More recently, a small company developing a new industrial adhesive looked for a scientifically validated way of proving that their product was as good as they said it was, so that they could compete in a market dominated by larger competitors…

These examples are among many that illustrate the need for an Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) scheme. Verifiable claims made about the performance of an innovative technology help new technologies reach the market. By confirming (or completing) the relevant claims to give a fair and complete view on the technologies, based on scientifically rigorous test results, ETV adds further to the credibility of the information provided by the technology developer.

ETV is implemented by Verification Bodies, which are independent organisations specifically accredited under an ISO standard to implement ETV. If additional tests are needed during the ETV process, a testing body will also be involved. The result of a successful ETV process is a 'Statement of Verification'.  This document summarises the actual performance of the verified technology, and it is meant to be used in the usual business-to-business relationship that marketing a new product entails. Statements of Verification may also be used in the context of public procurement procedures and they may be accepted by regulators in authorisation procedures for innovative technologies, e.g. where no standard approval procedure exists.

The ETV process can be summarised as follows:

Three organisations have been ISO accredited as ETV Verification Bodies recently and 10 others are in the process of accreditation. The pilot programme is therefore operational and technology developers can propose technologies for verification in the three fields covered by the ETV pilot: water monitoring and treatment; energy technologies; materials, waste and resources.

Companies interested in having their technologies verified will find all relevant information on the ETV webpage:

In particular, the ETV page on 'Presenting a technology' provides an updated list of ETV Verification Bodies and a step-by-step 'Guide for Proposers' (in 11 languages) explaining the ETV process in detail in a user-friendly way, with practical examples and hints on how companies can make the most of ETV.

In complement, actual 'Statements of Verification' of verified technologies are available on the website of DANETV, a precursor programme supported by the Danish Environment Protection Agency:

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter

Issue 19 - February 2013

Business Awards for the Environment 2014 – Mark Your Diary!

DG Environment is pleased to announce the new programme for the 2014 edition of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE). Launched by the European Commission in 1987 and taking place every two years, the European Business Awards for the Environment recognise and reward those businesses that are most successful in achieving sustainable business models. The EBAE include five awards: green innovations in management, product and services, process, international business cooperation and synergistic combinations of business and biodiversity protection.

The next call for submissions will open in February 2014. In this revised awards scheme, applicants will benefit from a longer application period as the submission phase will be extended from one month to one and a half months. The deadline for applications is scheduled for 31 March 2014. Finalists shall be announced and widely promoted from September 2014, after a first evaluation of the high level jury, whilst the final decision will be announced in autumn 2014.



3 February 2014:
Enrolment period (national coordinators enrol their companies, winners, runners up and special recommendations).

17 February – 31 March 2014
Application period.

5 May – 15 July 2014
Jury members’ preparatory work.

Mid/End of September 2014
Jury meeting in Rome, Italy (EU presidency) followed by the publication of the Finalists for each award

November 2014
Awards ceremony (during the European Eco-Innovation forum and in the country where the autumn 2014 forum is taking place).

Another important change is that the EBAE award ceremony will take place during the European Forum for Eco-innovation (EcoAP). Twice a year, the EcoAP forum unites business, researchers and policy makers with the goal of improving policy and business conditions to boost cross-sectorial innovation in Europe.  By merging two of the main business oriented events, DG Environment is in line with resource efficiency and budget control.

So is your company a best-in-class example of environmental business and sustainable development? Are you proud of, and keen to share your achievements, receiving institutional recognition and support for your business model? Then follow us closely for more information in the coming months!

The 2012 EBAE Ceremony took place in May, during the Green Week 2012. To discover the project details of the 2012 winners please click here.

Plotting the course to a resource-efficient economy

Given the ever increasing strain on resources and the environment, the transition to a circular economy is of the utmost importance to the competitiveness and prosperity of the European Union. Launched in June 2012, the European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP) sets out to facilitate the separation of resource use and economic growth, as outlined in the European Commission’s Roadmap to a Resource-Efficient Europe.

Chaired by the Former Irish Prime Minister and EU Ambassador to the US, John Bruton, the EREP consists of 32 members from the European Commission, European Parliament, the private sector, European Environment Ministries, international organisations, civil society and academia. Through active stakeholder involvement, open consultations, debates and events, the Platform will provide initial recommendations concerning the move towards a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy by June 2013 – the final outcomes are expected by mid-2014.

During its first plenary session – which took place in June 2012 – the Platform established working groups addressing three priority elements: greening the economy; setting objectives and measuring progress; and framework conditions for investments in resource efficiency. Each of the working groups defined policy priorities, which were presented during the Platform's second plenary session – held in December 2012.

The working group focusing on 'greening the economy' put forward three horizontal theme recommendations – the need to consider the international dimension of resource efficiency; the importance of raising awareness of the circular economy; and the introduction of incentives for consumers to use resource-efficient products and services. It also tabled seven 'theme-specific' recommendations, namely: measuring environmental and resource impacts; standard setting for sustainable sourcing; a coherent resource efficient product policy framework; improved information for purchasers (e.g. product passports); encouraging green procurement (public and private); promoting industrial symbiosis; and specific incentives for reducing waste (targets, pricing, fiscal, eliminating residual waste).

The recommendations of the 'setting objectives and measuring progress' working group highlighted the shortcomings of material productivity as a lead indicator of resource efficiency. The group called for the integration of the international dimension of resource efficiency by using the 'material footprint' when available. A 'dashboard of indicators' is needed, which includes the lead indicator and complementary indicators covering the issues of land, carbon and water. The group underlined the importance of setting targets as they focus political attention and indicate whether a policy is on the right track. In addition to covering the environmental aspect of resource efficiency, indicators and targets should also address economic issues such as growth and jobs.

The development of existing policies and initiatives, as well as the need for innovative financial instruments were identified as key elements for establishing the right framework for innovation and investments in resource efficiency. Furthermore, the working group dealing with this issue identified five themes for short-term action: environmentally harmful subsidies and the European Semester process; innovative instruments to support resource efficiency in SMEs; water and waste pricing; company reporting; and ecosystem services and natural capital accounting.

An agreement concerning the EREP's priorities for the coming months was reached at the end of the December plenary session. The Platform will now formulate specific short-term actionable recommendations – to be adopted at the plenary session in June 2013. The EREP also agreed on its manifesto, which calls for a move towards resource efficiency as a route out of current economic problems. Published on 17 December 2012, it sets out the key priorities to achieve a circular, resource-efficient and resilient economy.     

As part of the EREP, the Online Resource Efficiency Platform (OREP) allows stakeholders to access information on resource efficiency, and share views and perspectives on opportunities and challenges associated with achieving sustainable growth.

For more information about the European Resource Efficiency Platform, please visit:

Read the press release:

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter

Issue 18 - November 2012

Rome hosts EBAE Steering Committee meeting

This year’s second Steering Committee meeting of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) took place in Rome, Italy on 14 December 2012. The one day event brought together National Coordinators, representatives of the European Commission and members of the EBAE Secretariat to discuss the development of the competition.

The Steering Committee meeting was combined with the Italian national ceremony, held at the Temple of Hadrian in Rome. The Italian annual award scheme is run by Asset Camera, a special agency of the Chamber of Commerce of Rome. The winning businesses in each category (for both 2012 and 2013) will also go forward as the Italian entries for the 2014 European Business Awards

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter

Issue 18 - November 2012

Success breeds success for EBAE 2012 winners (part 2)

M&S delivers on Plan A commitments to become Responsible Retailer of the Year

Thanks to the achievements of Plan A – an ambitious environmental and ethical programme – the international retailer Marks & Spencer (M&S) has continued to meet its commitment to become carbon neutral. In addition to collecting the top prize in the management category of the EBAE 2012, the company has been named Responsible Retailer of the Year at the World Retailer Awards and Company of the Year in the Business Community's Awards for Excellence.
M&S received the EBAE Management Award for its project 'Marks & SpencerPlan A - Doing the Right Thing', which outlined a strategy to reduce the company's resource impact by meeting 180 sustainable commitments. Launched in 2007, Plan A sets out objectives to be achieved in the areas of green procurement, fair trade, waste management, biodiversity conservation, corporate social responsibility, carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency.

The company has made significant progress in terms of achieving the Plan A objectives. A report published in June 2012 confirms that M&S is the first major retailer to become carbon neutral. The '2012 How We Do Business Report' states that 138 of the Plan A commitments have already been achieved, while a further 30 are currently on schedule. According to the report, M&S now recycles 100% of its waste – ensuring nothing goes to landfill. It also states that 31% of M&S products now have a 'Plan A attribute' – meaning they are either free range, produced at an 'eco-factory' or made from recycled material.

In line with it's Plan A commitments, M&S introduced a new clothes recycling policy known as 'Shwopping'. First launched in April 2012, the Shwopping initiative encourages customers to bring any brand of unwanted clothing to M&S clothes stores. The company believes that unwanted clothes should be put to good use, not just thrown away. It is therefore asking its customers to 'shwop' – donate an unwanted piece of clothing every time they buy a new one.

The Shwopping initiative aims to dramatically reduce the number of clothing items sent to landfill. At present, one billion items – roughly 500,000 tonnes – of clothing a year are sent to landfill (one in four items sold in the UK each year). In the first six weeks of the initiative half a million used and unwanted items were donated. Every single item was passed on to Oxfam for re-sale, re-use or recycling.

In June 2012, M&S also unveiled what it describes as the 'world's most sustainable suit'. Using the most sustainable materials possible, the suit is made from organic wool which is fully traceable back to the farms where it is produced. It also features lining made from recycled plastic bottles, as well as buttons and pockets manufactured from reclaimed materials. The suit's label also boasts a QR code, which enables customers to download information on the suit and the materials it's made from.

The company's efforts to deliver on the commitments presented in Plan A have not gone unnoticed. In June 2012, M&S was named Responsible Business of the Year at the Business in the Community's (BITC) Awards for Excellence. The BITC awards recognise companies that have successfully placed responsible and sustainable practices at the core of their strategy. 

The company received another accolade in September, when M&S was named Responsible Retailer of the Year at the World Retail Awards, which were held in London. The competition recognises and rewards outstanding achievements in the retail industry at global level.

Want to learn more about the Business Community Awards for Excellence go to

Success breeds success for EBAE 2012 winners (part 1)

Onwards and upwards for Aquamarine Power's Oyster technology

Based in Scotland, Aquamarine Power has continued to garner recognition for its Oyster wave energy technology since the company won the Product Award at the EBAE 2012. Aquamarine Power's winning project involved the development of a hydro-electric near-shore device known as Oyster, which captures wave energy and converts it into clean sustainable electricity. Onwards and upwards for Aquamarine Power's Oyster technology

The pioneering wave energy company has enjoyed a series of successes during 2012. In January, Aquamarine Power received a tremendous vote of confidence in the shape of support from the Environmental Energies Fund (EEF). By acquiring a significant shareholding in the company, the new green energies fund – which is managed by Scottish Equity Partners – will provide the company with financial and strategic expertise, as well as a 20-year track record in helping innovative companies grow and deliver value.

The company continued to expand its operations in March 2012 by announcing a proposal for its first wave energy development on Lewis – the northern part of the largest island of the Outer Hebrides (also known as the Western Isles). Following on from Aquamarine Power's projects on Orkney, the company was awarded an agreement for lease in May 2011 for an area of the seabed with a potential installed capacity of 40MW. This project could see the installation of between 40 to 50 Oyster devices with the potential to power 38,000 homes.

Aquamarine Power's installation of wave energy systems in Orkney has already benefited the local community. The company has so far spent over £3m (€3.78m) in the local economy during the installation of the first two Oyster devices and has worked with over 40 local companies. They hope to bring similar benefits to Lewis by providing a new renewable energy source as well as stimulating new jobs and economic opportunities.

In addition to winning the Product Award at the EBAE 2012, the company became the inaugural winner of the Product and Innovation prize at the RenewableUK Energy Awards. Held in London in June 2012, the competition was organised by RenewableUK – the trade and professional body for the UK wind and marine renewables industries. Created to recognise and celebrate excellence in the wind and marine energy industries, the RenewableUK Energy Awards pay tribute to inspiring examples of tenacity and success.

Aquamarine Power's Oyster wave energy system could be in line for further awards, as the company is competing in the £10m (€12.5m) Saltire Prize – the Scottish Government's global ocean energy challenge.

The Saltire Prize 'Grand Challenge' period, during which competitors must produce commercial quantities of electricity from the sea, was officially launched in August 2012. Aquamarine Power will use their Oyster technology to compete for the prize – the largest clean-tech innovation award of its kind in the world.

Watch out for part 2 (upcoming in November news) all about Marks & Spencer, another UK-based company making an outstanding contribution to sustainable development.


New website to support EcoAP community

A new website has been launched to support the implementation of the European Commission's Eco-innovation Action Plan (EcoAP). In addition to supplying relevant information, the website will provide interactive features to enable policymakers and stakeholders involved in EcoAP – as well as the wider eco-innovation community – to exchange ideas and best practice.

Adopted by the European Commission in December 2011, the Eco-innovation Action Plan  (EcoAP) sets out to broaden the European Union's focus beyond green technologies to include a comprehensive range of eco-innovative processes, products and services. By defining initiatives to improve the market’s uptake of eco-innovation, EcoAP will create jobs, stimulate growth and help to increase resource efficiency.

In line with the initiative's overall objectives, the EcoAP website will emphasise that the concept of eco-innovation, in addition to incorporating clean technologies, also encompasses new thinking, behavioural change and social innovation. The website will therefore also turn the spotlight on new strategies, approaches and good practices, entrepreneurial endeavours and original thinking about eco-innovation.

EcoAP stakeholders are invited to contribute to the website by sharing news concerning the latest developments in eco-innovation. The website will ultimately act as a forum to facilitate the exchange of experience across the eco-innovation community.

The successor to the 2004 Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP), EcoAP is a broad policy framework, which provides directions for eco-innovation policy and funding. It will build on the valuable experience gained to date – especially in promoting eco-innovation’s development and uptake across Europe.

The EcoAP website – which is available in English, French, German, Italian and Spanish –   provides a comprehensive overview of the latest eco-innovation thinking through a variety of sections addressing policy matters, good practices, research and development, as well as business and funding. It will also highlight the views of leading players in the field of eco-innovation through regular expert interviews.

To view the EcoAP website, please visit:


Current funding opportunities for environmental projects

In line with the Europe 2020 Strategy to transform the European Union into a smarter, greener and more inclusive economy, the European Commission is helping businesses to get their environmental projects off the ground. Through the 2012 Eco-innovation call for proposals and the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) 'Research for the benefit of SMEs' call, funding has been made available to provide vital research support and ensure green ideas reach an EU-wide market.

Eco-innovation: where business and the environment meet
The 2012 Eco-innovation call for proposals sets out to nurture ideas for new processes, products or services that are good for business and the environment. Under the title 'CIP-EIP-ECO-INNOVATION-2012', the call will provide grants of up to 50% to co-finance green projects – the total budget available for the 2012 call is €34.8 million.
Part of the Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP) – which is in turn part of the Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP) – the call will fund projects across a wide range of sectors, all of which reduce environmental impacts or increase resource efficiency. Five specific priority areas have been identified, namely: materials recycling; sustainable building projects; the food and drink sector; water and greening businesses.
With particular priority given to SMEs and private beneficiaries, the call aims to support projects concerned with the first application or market replication of eco-innovative techniques, products, services or practices, which have already been successfully demonstrated but which have not yet penetrated the market.
The closing date for submissions is 6 September 2012 – 17:00 Brussels time. Applications submitted after the closing date will not be taken into consideration. Those wishing to apply must use the online submission system and application forms.

To find out more, or to apply for funding, please visit: 

Providing research support for innovative SMEs
In addition to the 2012 Eco-innovation call for proposals, the Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) Research for the benefit of SMEs call was launched on 10 July 2012. With a budget of more than €250 million, the call will help SMEs expand their innovation capacity by enabling them to outsource research, increase their research efforts, extend their networks, better exploit research results and acquire technological know how, bridging the gap between research and innovation.

Open to all research fields, the call includes four areas of activity, namely: research for SMEs; research for SME associations; demonstration activities; and, coordination and support actions. Part of the FP7 Capacities Work Programme, it complements the objectives of Europe 2020, the Innovation Union Flagship and other EU policies. Moreover, it provides for a smooth transition towards the new research and innovation programme for 2014-2020 – Horizon 2020.

To this end, Research for the benefit of SMEs endeavours to support European SMEs which have little or no research capacity themselves to turn innovative ideas into products and services with clear future market potential in line with the aims of the Innovation Union.

The deadline for the call is 15 November 2012 – 17:00 Brussels time. For more information, please visit:

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter

Issue 17 - July 2012

Learn more about the 2012 winners and runners-up

EBAE brochure with full details of 2012 winners and runners-up is available here.

Pictures of the 2012 EBAE Ceremony are available for download here.

Download the video of the Awards Ceremony 2012 here.

And the winners are...

Winners of the 2012 European Business Awards for the Environment announced

The winners of the 2012 European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) were announced during a prestigious award ceremony held in Brussels on 24 May 2012.

The ceremony – which took place in theRoyal Museum of Art and History, Brussels – recognised five pioneering companies that have successfully combined innovation, competitiveness and outstanding environmental performance.

The winners of the 2012 EBAE are:

  • Management Award – Marks and Spencer (UK)
  • Product Award – Aquamarine Power (UK)
  • Process Award – Umicore (Belgium)
  • International Business Cooperation Award – INENSUS GmbH (Germany)
  • Business and Biodiversity Award – Slovenské elektrárne, a.s. (Slovakia) 

The official press release is available here.

Pictures of the 2012 EBAE Ceremony will be available next week.

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter

Issue 16 - April 2012

EBAE Finalists to be showcased at Green Week 2012

The 14 Finalists for this year's European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) will be promoted during Green Week 2012 – the biggest annual conference on European environment policy. The 12th edition of the Green Week conference will take place from 22 to 25 May in Brussels.

As part of this year's event, the EBAE Awards Ceremony will be held on Thursday 24 May. The finalists from the five EBAE award categories will have their projects exhibited throughout Green Week 2012. This prestigious event will provide an excellent opportunity to showcase these pioneering and eco-innovative companies.

Green Week 2012 will focus on the subject of water. This high-profile conference – which attracts more than 3,000 participants annually – will gather together representatives from government, business and industry, non-governmental organisations, academia and the media.

For more information or to register for Green Week 2012, please visit:

The Best of the Best: 14 Finalists for the EBAE 2012

Following a two-day jury meeting in Copenhagen, Denmark, the Finalists for the European Business Awards for the Environment were announced on 19 March 2012. From a total of 156 entries, 14 companies were nominated across the five award categories. This year's Finalists come from nine EU Member States – Belgium, France, Germany, Spain, Austria, Portugal, Slovakia, Finland and the United Kingdom.

The finalists were selected by a high-level jury chaired by Mr Claus Torp, Deputy Director-General at the Danish Ministry of the Environment.

The winners and runners-up of the 2012 EBAE will be announced during the competition's award ceremony, which will be held in Brussels on 24 May as part of Green Week 2012.

The Management Award

Águas do Douro e Paiva S.A. - SME - Portugal
Project title: An integrated and sustainable management model for drinking water utilities
Description: The regional water supplier has developed an integrated management model to address water quality and quantity challenges.
Jury’s view: The model incorporates a wide range of parameters such as product safety, energy savings, biodiversity protection, employees’ involvement and customer satisfaction.

Marks & Spencer - Major Corporation - United Kingdom
Project title: Marks & Spencer Plan A - Doing the Right Thing
Description: The retailer has developed an ambitious strategy to reduce its resource impact by delivering on 180 commitments in fields such as green procurement, fair trade, waste management, carbon emissions reduction and energy efficiency.
Jury’s view: The company has successfully integrated resource management across all its operations and has adopted a sustainable retail practice model with high replication potential.

SNCF - Major Corporation - France
Project title: The implementation of sustainable procurement creates value: a global value for business, the environment, society and suppliers!
Description: The railway operator has implemented a new procurement process, which takes into account environmental and health protection and enhanced resource management.
Jury’s view: The new purchasing system combines cost, quality, sustainability and corporate social responsibility criteria under a single procurement instrument.

The Product Award

Aquamarine Power - SME - United Kingdom
Project title: Aquamarine Power’s Oyster wave energy technology
Description: The company has developed a hydro-electric near-shore device known as Oyster, which captures wave energy and converts it into clean sustainable electricity.
Jury’s view: The product is innovative, can be used in many coastal areas under tough operating conditions and may provide low-cost electricity for water desalination.

LichtBlick AG - Major Corporation - Germany
Project title: Generating ‘swarm power’ with intelligently controlled at home power plants.
Description: LichtBlick has developed decentralised cogeneration home power plants, which offer an environmentally friendly way of producing electricity and heat.
Jury’s view: The product is an excellent clean-tech innovation, which can play an important role in balancing grid capacity with local heat demand. The replication potential is high.

Ochsner Wärmepumpen GmbH - SME - Austria
Project title: New generation of air-source heatpumps
Description: OCHSNER has developed a new high-efficiency evaporator for its air-to-water heatpumps, which significantly boosts their efficiency, while reducing noise.
Jury’s view: The product can result in enormous energy efficiency gains. Its performance has been verified by an independent body and its replication potential is high.

The Process Award

Freudenberg Sealing Technologies (FST) - Major Corporation - Germany
Project title: Narrow Strip Forming Laser Technology (SUL): A process technology innovation for manufacturing metal rings for dynamic seals in a sustainable way which conserves both resources and the environment.
Description: By utilising laser technology and automatic end-processing, this new sheet forming process is virtually waste-free and reduces material use by 73%.
Jury’s view: This is an efficient and innovative method of metal forming to manufacture radial shaft seals. It saves resources and chemicals, while negating the need for post-cleaning.

Sener Ingeniería y Sistemas - Major Corporation - Spain
Project title: Gemasolar, the Sun's cathedral
Description: The first commercial concentrated solar power plant with central tower receiver and molten salt storage technology. Solar power is used to melt a salt mixture at high temperatures. The resulting energy can be harnessed to generate electricity or stored for later use.
Jury’s view: This company has successfully addressed both energy storage and renewable electricity generation. Their use of salt as a high temperature storage medium, rather than for instance oil, is innovative and increases storage time.

UMICORE – Major Corporation – Belgium
Project title: Recycling of NiMH and Li-ion batteries; a sustainable new business
Description: The first industrial scale recycling project for NiMH and Li-ion batteries; this project permits closed loop recycling of valuable elements such as cobalt, nickel, copper and rare earth elements.
Jury’s view: In line with the Raw Materials Initiative and Batteries Directive, this project facilitates the recycling of all types of Li-on batteries together, without mechanical disassembling, thereby avoiding the release of dusts and organics into the atmosphere.

The International Business Cooperation Award
GreenStream Network plc - SME - Finland
Project title: Expanding Climate Knowledge in China: A Co-Operative Business Approach
Description: In co-operation with Juno Capital Group, GreenStream has developed a leading centre of environmental services based in Beijing, China. It has resulted in sixty projects in China – with potential CO2 emission reductions of 50 million tons per year.
Jury’s view: A proven partnership in the Chinese renewable energy sector between the Finnish company GreenStream and the Chinese Juno Capital Group. This project has a great replication potential within emerging economies, especially in countries with growing energy demands.

Inensus GmbH - SME - Germany
Project title: MicroPowerEconomy – a Private Public Partnership model for comprehensive island-grid village electrification with renewable energy
Description: A private-public partnership between the German SME Inensus and the Senegalese company Matforce CSI, "MicroPowerEconomy” is an innovative business and risk management model for electricity supply in off-grid villages of developing countries. 
Jury’s view: A truly innovative and proven cooperative business model, which will be replicated to provide off-grid micropower to other Senegalese villages. The use of renewable sources for energy production reduces greenhouse gas emissions and local pollution.

The Business and Biodiversity Award

Cafédirect - SME - United Kingdom
Project title: Adaptation for Smallholders to Climate Change (AdapCC) 
Description: The project involves the financing of re-afforestation at high altitudes with multiple benefits for biodiversity. Since 2007, Cafédirect has developed and implemented adaptation strategies with smallholder tea and coffee farmers. It aims to create replicable examples of successful adaptation and funding mechanisms.
Jury’s view: An innovative financing mechanism, this project provides an opportunity for locals to benefit from tradable CO2 quotas. As an SME with global outreach and a fair-trade record, Cafédirect has overseen agroforestry management, particularly in the area of ecosystem services for water sustainability.

Slovenské elektrárne, a.s. - Major Corporation – Slovakia
Project title: Energy for Nature: Saving most precious animal species in Slovak mountains
Description: The Energy for Nature project carries out environmental protection activities, which combine biodiversity support and stabilisation. In cooperation with the Tatras National Park, Slovenské elektrárne has been involved in the protection of endangered species since 2007.
Jury’s view: In addition to supporting the Natura 2000 habitat and species directive, and creating sustainable promotion and investment public-private partnerships in this area, the project has led to the engagement of employees and the local community to deliver activities on the ground. Furthermore, it is a template for cross-border corporate social responsibility and biodiversity financing projects.

Voies Navigables de France - Major Corporation – France
Project title: Restoring the French waterways embankments in an ecological engineering approach
Description: An ecological engineering approach to restore, maintain and consolidate the waterway embankments using natural materials such as plants, wood and biodegradable textiles.
Jury’s view: The project implements commendable methods for sustainable river basin management involving the use of sound ecosystem practices. In addition to encouraging the development of green waterways, the project has also resulted in the exclusion and reduction of invasive alien species.

Read the press release: FR - EN - DE - ES - NL - SW - PT - FI - SK

Further information about the European Business Awards for the Environment is available at:

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter
Issue 15 - February 2012

156 entries compete for the 2012 EBAE and join forces for sustainable development

Despite the current economic climate, European businesses increasingly demonstrate their commitment to the environment by adopting pioneering eco-innovative practices. This is apparent from the exceptionally high number of applications that were submitted for the 2012 European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE).

The competition attracted 156 submissions, a 10% increase compared to 2010, which originate from 24 countries and are divided into five categories:

  • Product: 52 entries
  • Management: 47 entries
  • Process: 46 entries
  • International co-operation: 11 entries
  • Business and biodiversity: 62 entries - a new category established to reward achievements in halting biodiversity loss and supporting natural ecosystems

This year’s submissions represent a variety of business fields, ranging from telecommunications to retail, eco-design, petroleum and accommodation. Primarily SMEs and micro-enterprises are participating, followed by large-scale companies and organisations.

Currently all submitted initiatives and projects are being evaluated by a high-level jury, composed of experts from European and national authorities, academia, business and the environmental technology sector. The jury is meeting on 15 and 16 March in Copenhagen to collectively select the best submissions per award category.

The five winners will be announced during the 2012 EBAE Award ceremony which will take place in Brussels on 24 May.

Helping green technologies flourish through performance verification

A promising initiative for the performance verification of innovative environmental technologies has been recently launched by the European Commission. The Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) pilot programme aims to help cutting-edge green technologies reach the market.

While environmental technologies are positively perceived, several questions arise when it comes to their purchase and implementation. Why invest in an innovative technology instead of an old, well-established one?  Is it reliable and effective? Are there limitations and risks associated with it?  This is exactly where the ETV pilot programme can play a key role by providing independent information on new green technologies' performance claims.

Verified performance means better chances in the market

The ETV is a new voluntary tool for companies to verify the performance of their innovative environmental technologies that are ready for the market. The programme aims to increase the confidence of purchasers in new technologies that meet their needs and to help technology providers prove the credibility of their products and open up to new markets.

At this initial stage, verification will cover three key technology fields that represent a broad range of innovation and business opportunities:

  1. Water treatment and quality monitoring
  2. Materials, waste and resources
  3. Energy efficiency and renewable energy sources

The ETV pilot programme is among the milestones outlined in the recently launched Eco-innovation Action Plan.

Better business, improved policies, more jobs

Through the ETV, eco-innovative companies will acquire objective, science-based evidence to back their products’ performance claims. This is particularly important for Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs), as they traditionally encounter greater challenges in establishing their products and services.

Similarly, investors and purchasers will be able to take informed decisions on which technology best corresponds to their requirements, what benefits to expect and how to minimise the risks.

Finally, policy-makers and regulators will have access to sound information for improving and better implementing environmental legislation, while citizens will benefit from new jobs in dynamic economic sectors.

One-stop shop for technology providers

In practice, under the ETV programme a Statement of Verification will be published to summarise in 3 to 5 pages how accurate, complete and fair a technology’s performance claims are. The Statement will be based on the conclusions of a detailed verification process that will be managed by an accredited Verification Body.

The procedure is thorough yet simple in principle. The technology provider submits a proposal to the Verification Body, which in turn defines the technical parameters to be checked, evaluates existing data, possibly orders tests, assesses their results and drafts the final documents, including the Statement of Verification.

Verification vs. certification

Several technology certification schemes are already in place. So why create a verification programme as well? Certification is based on a set of pre-defined criteria, against which a technology is evaluated. Verification on the other hand, uses the performance claim of the technology provider as a starting point to assess the technology.

Such a flexible and customised approach is vital for the uptake of technologies and innovations that do not fit into existing labelling or standardisation frameworks.

Financial support foreseen

The ETV programme will start by accrediting Verification Bodies across Europe. Organisations competent in evaluating environmental technologies can currently apply to their national accreditation agencies. A call for proposals under the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) will be published in order to support Verification Bodies in implementing the ETV programme.

Once the accreditation is completed in the first half of 2012, companies will have the opportunity to submit their technology proposals for verification under the ETV. As the verification and testing costs may vary, technology manufacturers, especially SMEs, may ask for financial support through the EU's and Member States' existing programmes and funding instruments.     

Read the press release

More information

ETV webpage:

Common website of research and pilot projects on ETV:

European co-operation for Accreditation:

Eco-innovation Action Plan:

Competitiveness and Innovation framework Programme (CIP) :

European Commission ETV contact:


The Eco-innovation Action Plan: creating employment and green business opportunities through innovation

The European Commission has launched the Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) as part of the Europe 2020 strategy. The plan sets out to boost innovation that reduces pressures on the environment, and bridge the gap between innovation and the market.

Eco-innovation is a key element of the Europe 2020 strategy for smart, sustainable and inclusive growth. It is a means to boost resource productivity, efficiency, competitiveness and deliver genuine environmental benefits.

Furthermore, the implementation of existing EU policies on environmental technologies, along with the emergence of vibrant green businesses in the EU, has highlighted how eco-innovation can create new business opportunities, growth and jobs in Europe.

Part of the Innovation Union Flagship Initiative – one of the seven flagship initiatives of the Europe 2020 strategy – the EcoAP builds on the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). Rather than focusing solely on environmental technologies, the new plan will address the broader concept of eco-innovation, targeting specific bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities for achieving environmental objectives through innovation.

As stated in the plan, eco-innovation is any form of innovation resulting in or aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment, enhancing resilience to environmental pressures, or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of natural resources.

The EcoAP outlines a coherent overview of what needs to be done at EU and Member State level to stimulate both economic growth and job creation. To this end, it includes targeted actions designed to act as catalysts for the development of eco-innovation across all sectors of the economy.

These targeted actions include:

  1. Using environmental policy and legislation to promote eco-innovation;
  2. Supporting demonstration projects and partnering to bring promising, smart and ambitious operational technologies to market;
  3. Developing new standards to boost eco-innovation;
  4. Mobilising financial instruments and support services for SMEs;
  5. Promoting international co-operation;
  6. Supporting the development of emerging skills and jobs and related training programmes to match labour market needs; and
  7. Promoting eco-innovation through European Innovation Partnerships.

Speaking about the new plan, European Commissioner for the Environment Janez Potočnik said: "The innovation challenge for this century will be making our resources go further – doing more with less – and reducing the impact of our activities. Europe must be in the lead in meeting that challenge if we want to be competitive in a world of increasing resource constraints. Worldwide demand for environmental technologies, products and services is growing rapidly even in these difficult times, and it's an area where Europe has much to offer. This is a plan for green jobs and green growth."

European eco-industries represent a significant economic sector with an estimated annual turnover of € 319 billion – roughly 2.5 % of the EU's gross domestic product. Furthermore, no less than 3.4 million people now work in the sector, with 600,000 additional jobs created between 2004 and 2008. The potential for further growth has not gone unnoticed. European venture capital investments in this area totalled € 1.3 billion in 2010.

In addition to outlining a comprehensive future framework for eco-innovation, the EcoAP provides the European Commission and the Member States with new tools to achieve the Europe 2020 goals.

Read the press release here.


Recognising small and medium-sized enterprises' contribution to the European economy

The European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) reward and promote companies that have successfully combined innovation, financial viability and environmental concerns. For this reason, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are a particular focus of the competition, as they have significant potential to turn eco-innovative ideas into economically viable solutions.

SMEs are the life blood of our economy. As a driver of economic competitiveness, they represent 99 % of all European businesses. In addition to providing two out of every three private sector jobs, they contribute more than half of the total value-added created by businesses in the EU.

Past results have shown SMEs have a very good chance of winning in the EBAE. Despite a lower rate of participation, SMEs fared better than large companies. Between 2004 and 2010, nine of the 235 large companies to enter the competition won an award. In comparison, the same number of SMEs were also winners despite the fact that there were only 186 entries. The percentage of winners is therefore higher for SMEs (4.84 %) than large companies (3.83 %).

Receiving an EBAE award can help SMEs increase their recognition and speed up growth. It enables them to stand out in their specific market and raises their profile with financial backers.

The promotion activities carried out by national authorities and the European Commission for the EBAE mean winning the award can make a major difference to the credibility of an SME – as Italian 2006 management award winner Sotral found. This Turin-based SME offers logistic and environmental services for the food services industry. Its keys to success include a km/meal environmental indicator and its innovative ‘The Sustainable Meal’ catering format. Since winning its award five years ago, Sotral has increased visibility markedly and helped form a worldwide alliance for sustainable food systems. Sotral started a joint venture in 2008 with major European food services consultancy Philippe Hersant and Partners, based in France.

“As a results of EBAE, Sotral obtained unexpected visibility in national newspapers, across the Internet and even on local TV,” said Sotral Director, Andrea Ivaldi. “We were able to intensify our participation in international events and conferences in Paris, London, Seville and Brussels. The EBAE awards have been an essential element in the internationalisation of Sotral.”

Winning an EBAE award can also give a company the impetus to develop further. Netherlands-based iD-L won the 2006 International Business Co-operation Award for its 'RagBag' project. This focused on the production of fashionable bags from recycled plastic sacks collected by ragpickers in the slums of Delhi. The project has already created jobs for more than 60 ragpickers, people at collection centres and manufacturers in New Delhi. It has provided them and their families with a livelihood and access to greater opportunities. Since 2006, the company has developed its international aspect and the project continues to co-operate with organisations in Delhi, Kolkata and Tamil Nadu.

“As a young company, it was a really big thing to get an award at the European level. Winning the EBAE award was a big stimulus and a great motivation to continue the work we were doing,” said the Director of iD-L, Siem Haffmans. “Winning these awards can give tremendous recognition, thereby helping a company to grow and gain credibility.”

In conclusion, in the context of the European Business Awards for the Environment, SMEs perform better and have a greater chance of winning a European award. By doing so they can gain international recognition for their green creativity and enhance the profile of their enterprise.


2012 European Business Awards for the Environment launched

The 2012 edition of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) was officially launched during a two-day meeting of the competition's steering committee in Istanbul, Turkey. The meeting provided the steering committee with an opportunity to discuss the modalities of the 2012 edition and present the new online registration and evaluation tool, which will reduce time and paperwork for coordinators, candidates and jury members.

The EBAE national coordinators – representing most of the 30 EU and candidate countries involved in the competition – were given the warmest of welcomes to Istanbul by the host of the event Kerem Okumus, National Coordinator for Turkey and Deputy Director of the Regional Environmental Center (REC). The two-day meeting, which was held on 10-11 November 2011, marked the official launch of the 2012 EBAE.

The European Commission's Robert Konrad, Head of the Communication Unit, DG Environment, presented a comprehensive overview of DG Environment's priorities for 2012. After introducing the results of the 2011 Eurobarometer study “Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment”, Mr Konrad presented DG Environment's political priorities for the coming years: resource efficiency, water and biodiversity. The Commission published a Resource Efficiency Roadmap in September 2011, which was complemented by an awareness raising campaign on resource efficiency “Generation Awake. Your choices make a world of difference!”

The meeting gave the national coordinators the chance to outline how each of the national award schemes is progressing. Given the success of the national competitions, the number of applications for the 2012 edition of the EBAE is promising.

Participants were presented with the new online registration and evaluation platform, which will be used for the first time during the 2012 edition of the EBAE. The tool will be used by national coordinators, competing companies and members of the jury panel. The new platform – which received an enthusiastic response from the national coordinators – will reduce the amount of time needed to make a submission, cut paper waste and increase reliability, flexibility and security.    

The meeting also provided the steering committee members with an opportunity to discuss the new structure of the competition, with the addition of a fifth award category as from 2012. The Business & Biodiversity category will recognise a European company who has made a valuable contribution to the protection of biodiversity and the support of natural ecosystems. The winner of this new award will be selected among companies applying in one of the four existing categories.

The jury panel for the 2012 European Business Awards for the Environment will meet to evaluate the entries in Copenhagen, Denmark in March 2012.The results will then be announced during the EBAE awards ceremony, which will take place in Brussels, in May 2012. In order to be eligible to compete in the European Business Awards for the Environment companies must have already succeeded at the national level – only winners and runners-up of the national competitions and specially commended companies may apply to the EBAE.

To this end, it is not possible to directly apply to the competition. Eligible applicants must first enter one of the national award schemes, and are then in turn selected to compete at the European level. The submission of entries to the EBAE is managed by national coordinating bodies.


EBAE Finalists maintain commitment to environmental endeavour

For almost 25 years, the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) have championed companies who develop and implement processes which deliver economic success by environmentally-friendly means. Two past Finalists from the Process Award category, Ecover (Belgium) and Fortum (Finland), have continued to establish themselves as internationally recognised innovators in their respective fields.

Based in Espoo, Finland, the energy company Fortum was nominated in the Product Award category of the EBAE in 2006. Fortum was recognised for a project which found a cost-effective solution to reduce emissions – chiefly nitrogen oxides – from power plants using fossil fuels. The company's innovative process optimised the design of a power plant's burner to reduce emissions without incurring high investment costs.

Since receiving its EBAE nomination, Fortum has continued to place an emphasis on CO2-free production and sustainability. In November 2007, the company contributed to a report, entitled 'Respect table and the Road to Copenhagen', which was published in the run up to Conference of Parties to the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change  in Copenhagen in 2009.

In 2009, Fortum – along with 60 other electricity companies – signed a declaration to become carbon neutral by the middle of the century. To achieve this goal, the company drafted a 'Roadmap to a CO2-free future' in 2010.

Fortum has made significant contributions to the development of solar energy. Along with the Tampere University of Technology, the company is developing high-efficiency solar cells, which concentrate sunlight, to reach efficiency levels of 40%.

In 2010, Fortum, in collaboration with the City of Espoo, opened Finland’s first solar power plant to recharge electric vehicles. The plant was awarded the Helsinki Region Climate Award in January 2011.
Like Fortum, the Belgian company Ecover, has continued to display its commitment to developing sustainable processes since it was nominated for the 2010 EBAE Process Award. Ecover was recognised for its project which focused on the low-energy production of ‘eco-surfactants’ for cleaning products through a natural fermentation process. The technique used fully renewable raw materials instead of fossil resources.

In collaboration with the Brazilian company Braskem, Ecover is developing environmentally-friendly packaging made from sugar cane-based plastic.

In 2010, the company marked its 30th year in business by organising the '30 Under 30 Contest'. The competition highlighted the next generation of environmental innovators, and culminated in a gala award ceremony in November of that year.

Highlighting its commitment to environmental endeavour, Ecover sponsored Study – a sustainable fashion brand which uses chemical-free fabrics from fair-trade organisations – for the New York Fashion Week.

Ecover was nominated for The Daily Green's 2011 Heart of Green Awards in the category Best Green Cleaning Line. The company won further accolades when it was recognised in the 2011 KIWI Awards for best green cleaners. The company's Automatic Dishwashing Powder, Automatic Dishwashing Tablets, Rinse Aid, Toilet Bowl Cleaner, Laundry Liquid/Laundry Powder, Fabric Softener, and Stain Remover were all named “additional winners” in seven categories by KIWI magazine.

Since receiving EBAE nominations, both Fortum and Ecover have shown a desire to develop their sustainable processes. Rather than representing the culmination of their environmental endeavours, the nominations have been springboards to further actions and awards.





More information:


Fortum's 'Roadmap to a CO2-free future':

Case study: 'Recharging electric vehicles with solar power':


‘Ecover to pioneer the use of sugar cane based materials to create more sustainable packaging!’:

'Ecover Wins 2011 Kiwi Awards For Best Green Cleaners!':


EU citizens show commitment to environmental protection and willingness to invest in green products

A recent Eurobarometer survey has highlighted the importance European citizens place on environmental protection, their belief that it can boost the EU economy and their willingness to pay more for environmentally-friendly products.

Published in August 2011, the report – entitled: “Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment” – was commissioned by the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment. The report revisits the subject of Eurobarometer 295 – which was published in March 2008.

In the context of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE), this survey provides a fascinating insight into how European citizens view the environment, how it relates to economic and social factors, and who they believe should bear the responsibility for protecting it. Furthermore, in terms of the objectives of the EBAE, it highlights the public demand for companies that combine innovation, economic viability and environmental concerns.

From a business perspective this report outlines the public perception of environmentally-friendly products, green labelling and green procurement. Furthermore, it indicates how Europeans view the link between the environment / natural resources and economic growth.

The survey was carried-out in all 27 EU Member States. In total, 26,825 respondents were interviewed.

Boosting economic growth through environmental action

According to the results of the survey, Europeans believe environmental protection and the efficient use of resources can drive economic growth. 77% state that protecting the environment can lead to economic growth – this figure has risen dramatically from 66% in 2008.

There is a general consensus concerning the importance of environmental protection. Overall, 95% of EU citizens believe that protecting the environment is important to them personally.

Perception of industry's role in protecting the environment

The survey indicates that EU citizens feel corporations and industry must bear additional responsibility when it comes to addressing environmental issues. For example, 79% of those interviewed believe these entities need to do more to use natural resources more effectively.

Citizens willing to invest in environmentally-friendly products

Interestingly for European environmental enterprises, the survey also confirms that not only are EU citizens willing to take environmental actions, but on average 72% of Europeans are prepared to pay more for products that are environmentally friendly.

Expectations and opportunities for green businesses

From the point of view of green enterprises, this latest Eurobarometer survey has shown that while Europe's citizens expect corporations and industry to do more when it comes to protecting the environment and natural resources, they are also willing to invest in genuinely environmentally-friendly products. To this end, while companies must bear their share of responsibility when it comes to environmental protection, those that are willing to do so will find a market hungry for green products and processes.

More information:

Eurobarometer 365 - “Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment: Report” (August 2011):

Eurobarometer 365 - “Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment: Summary” (August 2011):

Eurobarometer 295 - “Attitudes of European citizens towards the environment: Report” (March 2008):


Runners-up in the European Business Awards for the Environment enjoy worldwide success

Since their inception, the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) have recognised products which have a positive environmental impact, are economically viable, and exhibit the potential for replication. After being nominated in the Product Award category, Frigoglass (Greece) and VA Tech Hydro (Austria) have seen their respective products achieve worldwide success.

A global leader in commercial refrigeration, Frigoglass SAIC was a runner-up in the Product category of the 2010 EBAE. Nominated for its project "Frigoglass 'Ecocool' eco-friendly cooling solutions", the company produced a range of drinks coolers designed to minimise the environmental impact of commercial beverage refrigerators by cutting both energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions.

The Athens-based company is one of the world's leading manufacturers of beverage coolers. Founded in 1982, its operations span five continents, incorporating no less than 20 different locations. Today, it provides coolers to some of the world's biggest beverage, brewing and dairy companies – including Coca-Cola, SABMiller, Heineken and Nestlé.

Prior to its success at the EBAE, Frigoglass received second prize in the "Greek Business Awards for the Environment 2009-2010" which is organised by the Greek Association of Environmental Protection Enterprises (PASEPPE). As the runner-up in the competition's Ecological Product Award category, Frigoglass was put forward to compete in the EBAE.

In September 2010, the company received a Ruban d'Honneur in the Award for Innovation category of the European Business Awards. Frigoglass gained further recognition for its environmental endeavours in October 2010, when it was presented with an award at the Heineken International Purchasing Conference in Noordwijkerhout, Netherlands. The company was rewarded for its "valuable contribution to Heineken's Sustainability programme – Brewing a Better Future."

Since then, Frigoglass has continued to adopt measures to further improve its environmental performance. In October 2010, the company came together with Coca-Cola to announce a joint effort that will facilitate the manufacturing of beverage cooler components from specially processed post-consumer recycled polyethylene terephthalate (R-PET) bottles.

Furthermore, in January 2011 Frigoglass became the first beverage cooler manufacturer in the United States to use cyclopentane (C5) as an insulation agent. A natural substance, this insulating foam enables the company to produce more eco-friendly coolers as it "has zero ozone depletion, is halogen free, with virtually no global warming effect."

The Austrian company VA Tech Hydro was selected as a runner-up in the Product Award category of the 2006 edition of the EBAE. Its project "The Hydromatrix Power Plant" used tailor-made hydro turbine generators which could be installed in existing weirs and dams. In addition to offering a high replication potential, the project did not require any alterations to the environment or landscape.

Hydromatrix is an innovative, environmentally-friendly hydropower technology which can also be used in existing hydropower stations. The turbine generator units can be arranged flexibly, and the investment costs are lower than for conventional hydropower plants.

After the company was purchased by the Austrian plant engineering group, Andritz, in June 2006, it became one of the largest suppliers of hydropower equipment in the world. Since changing its name to Andritz Hydro in January 2009, the company has gone from strength to strength.

Andritz Hydro has installed over 30,000 turbines (more than 400,000 MW) worldwide. Today, it employs no less than 7,266 people in its hydro business operations.

In 2007, the company received the Africa Frost & Sullivan Award for Customer Satisfaction in Hydro Services. More recently, Andritz Hydro was presented with the 2010 Austrian State Award for Environmental and Energy Technology for its Hydromatrix plant in Chievo, Italy.

More information:

Frigoglass SAIC (company website)


"Frigoglass' "Green" Credentials Recognized by Heineken" (12 November 2010)


"Frigoglass North America use the Environmentally-friendly Insulation Agent Cyclopentane" (18 January 2011)

Andritz Hydro (company website)

"Andritz VA TECH HYDRO receives 2007 Africa Frost & Sullivan award" (26 September 2007)

"State environmental award for Hydromatrix technology" (Annual Report 2010)


EBAE runners-up carry on building environmental excellence

In recent years, a host of innovative and inspiring companies have been nominated in the Management award category of the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE). The awards have been a stepping stone for many of these companies who have continued to improve their environmental credentials and publicise them. Since competing in the EBAE, Arçelik A.Ş. (Turkey) and Ecoprint (Estonia)have continued implementing pioneering management systems consistent with the principles of sustainable development, and receiving recognition for their actions.

A runner-up in the 2010 edition of the EBAE, Turkish household appliance manufacturer Arçelik A.Ş. has continued to improve its environmental performance. Arçelik became the first company from an EU candidate country to be selected as an EBAE finalist when it was nominated in the Management award category.

Arçelik's project 'Respects the Globe, Respected Globally: A Good Eco-Management Practice' focused on the integration of environmental and social issues – including clear objectives and measurable targets – into the company's overall management approach. The project advanced to compete in the EBAE after winning first prize in the Turkish National Environment Awards.

Following its success at the European level, Arçelik has reinforced its commitment to sustainable management practices. In December 2010, the company published the 'Arçelik A.Ş. 2008-2009 Sustainability Report'. Outlining Arçelik's sustainability performance, the report was produced in accordance with the globally recognised Sustainability Reporting Guidelines of the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), a framework that promotes disclosure of environmental, social and governance performance.

The report – which has been approved by the GRI Secretariat – outlines how Arçelik's sustainability approach addresses five main issues: corporate governance, environmental responsibility, social responsibility, human resources management and the company's role in the community. As a result of this approach and the energy efficiency projects developed to implement it, energy consumption at Arçelik's plants decreased by 11% in 2009.

Arçelik has continued to receive recognition for its environmental achievements. In January 2011, the company received three awards during the Competition for Industrial Energy Efficiency Projects. Organised by the Turkish Ministry of Energy and Natural Resources the competition rewards energy efficient and environmentally-friendly projects.

The Estonian company Triip Ltd was nominated for the EBAE Management award in 2008. The company's project, entitled 'Completely integrated environmental and quality management system of a printing company', was recognised by the EBAE jury as “proof of how environmental improvement can run in parallel with economic performance and encompass a great replication potential”.

Triip Ltd was the first Estonian print company to implement integrated environmental and quality management approaches. The company reduced its environmental impact and promoted sustainability by planting its own forest, developing environmentally-friendly printing services and reducing chemical use.

The company – which merged with AS Guttenberg and OÜ Repro in 2008 to become Ecoprint – took first prize in the management category of Estonia's national Environment Awards for Business. Advancing on to the European level, it became the first Estonian company to be nominated as an EBAE finalist.

Ecoprint continued its success at national level by winning an award at the 2009 edition of the Estonian Environment Awards for Business. This time the company was recognised for its achievements in the area of ecologically friendly production.

In 2010, the company received a certificate under the European Environmental Management and Auditing Scheme (EMAS). Further success followed in November 2010, when Ecoprint received the top prize in the small organisations category of the EMAS Awards

More information:

'Arçelik Publishes Sustainability Report' (27 December 2010):

'Arçelik Wins Three Awards For Energy Efficiency' (13 January 2011):

Arçelik A.Ş.(Company website):

'Ecoprint - EMAS award winner 2010'(29 November 2010):

'Ecoprint won the Environmental Award' (2 December 2009):

 Ecoprint (Company website):

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter
Issue 13 - June 2011 (pdf 2913 Kb)

The Global Green Economy: good for business, employment and the environment

The United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP) and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) have indicated that a Global Green Economy would not only benefit the environment, but would also stimulate significant job creation and help alleviate poverty worldwide. The UNEP has called on policy-makers to support the development of green industries in order to help achieve the Millennium Development Goals.

In addition to lowering resource consumption, mitigating the effects of climate change and protecting the environment, green industries could alleviate poverty, create millions of jobs and ensure future economic stability. Reports published by both the UNEP and the OECD have suggested that in the interests of employment, sustainability and economic well-being, policy-makers must support the emergence of a Global Green Economy.

Since they were established in 1987, the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) have recognised the achievements of enterprises from various green industries. The UNEP and the OECD believe the development of green industries will stimulate significant job creation and lead to an environmentally sound, sustainable global economy.

A recent UNEP report, entitled: 'Green Economy: A Brief for Policymakers on the Green Economy and Millennium Development Goals', has highlighted the integral role a green economy will play in attaining the Millennium Development Goals.

The report, which was published in 2010, suggests a Global Green Economy can drive job creation and growth, while at the same time addressing the issues of environmental degradation and poverty.

The report analyses how different green industries could help to achieve the UN's Millennium Development Goals. In the context of the fishing industry, sustainable practices – such as those exhibited by the recipient of the 2010 EBAE Management Award, the Findus Group – could help to protect vulnerable coastal fishing communities in developing countries.

In terms of the energy sector, by helping developing countries to rely more on renewable energy, the high costs associated with importing petroleum could be avoided, thereby reducing poverty. KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) Holding/Mali BioCarburant SA was awarded the EBAE 2008 International Cooperation Award for a project which helped alleviate poverty in Mali by supporting the sustainable production of biodiesel.

Referring to the issue of access to water, the report suggests ensuring a secure water supply can not only reduce illness and increase productivity, but can also ultimately alleviate poverty. The 2010 winner of the EBAE International Cooperation Award, Ferrovial, provided a base for sustainable economic development in the Serengeti, Tanzania, by ensuring a secure water supply for 50,000 people.

By supporting the development of green industries in these areas – as well as in construction, transport and waste – policy-makers can encourage job creation and economic prosperity.

Launched in May 2011, the OECD's 'Green Growth Strategy' states that investment in green activities will create a significant number of jobs – up to 20 million worldwide by 2030 – in the areas of renewable energy generation and distribution alone.

Should policy-makers need further evidence of the viability of green industries to deliver employment and economic stability, they need look no further than the numerous recipients of the European Business Awards for the Environment.

While these companies are moving in the right direction, more needs to be done. Not only is there a need for more of these responsible companies, consumers must also play their part. Just as companies must help to build green industries, consumers must be prepared to make sustainable consumption choices.

More information:

UNEP report: 'Green Economy: A Brief for Policymakers on the Green Economy and Millennium Development Goals' (2010):

OECD report: 'Green Growth Strategy' (2011):,3746,en_2649_37465_44076170_1_1_1_37465,00.html

The Findus Group (winner of the 2010 EBAE Management Award):

KIT (Royal Tropical Institute) Holding/Mali BioCarburant SA (winner of the 2008 EBAE International Cooperation Award):

Ferrovial (winner of the 2010 EBAE International Cooperation Award):

EBAE winners continue to develop pioneering technology

Zenergy Power GmbH, the German superconductor energy technology company, is continuing to break new ground with the innovative application of its environmentally-friendly superconductor technology.

Together with Bültmann GmbH, Zenergy Power received the top prize in the process category of the 2010 European Business Awards for the Environment. The two companies were awarded for their project 'Cutting energy consumption by 50% using magnetic billet heating based on superconductor technology' – the first industrial level application of superconductor technology in the world.

Through the application of a superconductor, this innovative system reduces energy consumption by 50%. Furthermore, the first enterprise to apply the magnetic billet heating system in aluminium processing found it yielded significant quality gains and increased overall productivity by 25%.

Since winning the 2010 EBAE process award, Zenergy Power has continued to develop its pioneering superconductor technology both as an energy-efficient industrial solution and a means to reduce the cost of renewable energy. Zenergy Power has become one of the leading companies behind the development of 2G wires (second generation superconductors) manufactured for application, inter alia, in wind power generators.

2G wires are expected to offer significant advantages for environmentally-friendly electric power generation by enabling the cost-efficient production of superconductor based generators. These generators can substantially reduce the cost of renewable energy. Superconductor wind turbine generators are the technical alternative to permanent magnet generators – which demand significant amounts of rare earth elements.

In 2010, Zenergy Power received additional funding from the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia to continue its research activities in the field of renewable energies in collaboration with ThyssenKrupp VDM, a leading manufacturer of high-performance materials.

Bültmann GmbH – Zenergy Power's collaborators in the EBAE awarded project – has updated its production facilities. In January 2011, the machine manufacturer of the Magnetic Billet Heater installed a range of new equipment at its plant in Neuenrade, Germany. From 23-26 May 2011, Bültmann will be exhibited as part of the Federal Republic of Germany's presentation at the Tube Russia 2011 event in Moscow.

More information:

Zenergy Power:


'Superconductors Solve Rare Earth Element Problem for Wind Power':

'Superconductors for renewable energies:
ThyssenKrupp VDM and Zenergy Power get funding for research into innovative wire':

'Tube Russia 2011':

EnergyICT: a European SME providing energy management  solutions to large companies around the world!

Since winning the Product Award in the 2010 European Business Awards for the Environment, Belgian company EnergyICT has consolidated its position as a global market leader in the field of energy information technology, communication technology and service solutions.

Founded in 1991, the Flanders-based company received the 2010 EBAE Product Award. This SME – which has offices in Europe, the United States and Australia – divides its business into two major segments: smarter grids and energy management.

The company's EIServer software platform – the EBAE awarded product – serves both as a central meter data management platform for utilities and as an energy management system for end customers and suppliers. Through this technology the company has helped its clients reduce their energy consumption and carbon footprint by 15% to 60%.The major British retailer Tesco is one of the beneficiaries of this product.

Following its success at the European Business Awards for the Environment, EnergyICT has received further international recognition. As part of the 2010 Platts Global Energy Awards, Tesco was awarded the 'Energy Efficiency Program of the Year'. This achievement was due in part to the global retailer's collaboration with EnergyICT. By implementing the EIServer in its operations, Tesco was able to slash its energy consumption by 20%.

EnergyICT now provides energy information solutions to the UK's 3 largest retailers. In addition to Tesco, the Belgian company offers services to Sainbury's and ASDA – thereby covering 65% of the total UK retail market.

More recently, EnergyICT, together with Ericsson, was selected by Hydro-Québec to participate in the first phase of a smart metering pilot project. Hydro-Québec – one of the largest electricity utilities in North America – has commissioned Ericsson to oversee the implementation and integration of EnergyICT's EIServer Meter Data Management System. A pilot project will be deployed initially, in order to obtain the authorisation for the broad deployment of smart meters – slated to begin in early 2012.

More information:


'Tesco Winner at the 2010 Platts Global Energy Awards'

'Ericsson selected as prime integrator by Hydro-Québec'

EBAE promoted at the European Sustainable Energy Week, 11-15 April 2011 in Brussels.

More information, here

Interview of Janez Potočnik: Biodiversity and SMEs helping shape future of the EBAE

Since 1987 the European Business Awards for the Environment (EBAE) have rewarded companies that make an outstanding contribution to sustainable development. Although the initiative is now well-established, the EBAE is constantly looking for ways to improve its success. European Commissioner for Environment Janez Potočnik explains how a new biodiversity award and small and medium-sized enterprises will help in shaping the future of the award scheme.

Read the interview here

European Business Awards for the Environment Newsletter
Issue 12 - March 2011 (pdf 616 Kb)

EBAE to include Business & Biodiversity Award from 2012

From the 2012 edition of the European Business Awards for the Environment, a new 'Business & Biodiversity' award will be presented to a European company with outstanding achievements in halting biodiversity loss and supporting natural ecosystems. The winner will be selected from the companies applying for one of the four existing categories – i.e. Management, Product, Process and International Business Cooperation.

Companies will be evaluated by the jury panel following these main criteria: 

- Is the ecosystem/habitat/species important? E.g. Is the action in a Natura 2000 area or one covered by the Habitat or the Birds Directive? Is it threatened? Is it indigenous?

- How extensive is the impact? E.g. What is the geographical area covered? What other types of land use can be found in the region? Are there negative side effects?

- Does the action contribute to the protection of biodiversity in a broader context? E.g. is it a constituent of an ecological corridor? Does the action involve others in the company or beyond? Does it develop and/or use green-infrastructure and/or ecosystem-based approaches to climate-change adaptation and mitigation?

-How sustainable is the protection of biodiversity? E.g. Are staff appropriately trained? Is financing in place to sustain the action? Is the awareness of other actors raised?

If the jury is unable to reach a decision on the basis of these four main criteria, additional criteria may be used. The judging criteria for the Business & Biodiversity award.

To learn how the European Commission is facilitating the exchange of best practices in this area, visit the EU Business @ Biodiversity Platform website:

EBAE featured in Environment for Europeans Magazine

ebae brochureThe European Business Awards for the Environment are featured in the 40th issue of Environment for Europeans (EFE) – the magazine of the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment. The article, entitled: "Belgian and German companies win European Business Awards for the Environment" focuses on the winners of the product and process awards – Zenergy Power GmbH and Bültmann GmbH (DE) and EnergyICT (BE).

View the 40th issue of EFE online

View the 40th issue of EFE in PDF

EBAE 2010 winners promoted on the Economist website from 15-22 December
For more information click here.

  ebae brochure

EBAE featured in Environment for Europeans Magazine

ebae brochureThe European Business Awards for the Environment are featured in the 39th issue of Environment for Europeans (EFE) – the magazine of the European Commission's Directorate-General for the Environment. The latest edition of EFE – which is published in 13 languages and has an estimated readership of 65,000 – profiles the winners of the 2010 Management and International Cooperation Awards, The Findus Group (UK) and Ferrovial (ES). The article, entitled: 'Green businesses on the increase', also provides an overview of this year's competition. The winners of the Process and Product Awards – Zenergy Power GmbH and Bültmann GmbH (DE) and EnergyICT (BE) – are set to feature in the 40th issue of EFE.

View the 39th issue of EFE online

View the 39th issue of EFE in PDF

2010 Media Report summary available online

Following the 2010 Awards ceremony and thanks to a comprehensive media strategy, the EBAE received significant media exposure from news outlets at the local, regional, national and European level.

A selection of publications were gathered by the Secretariat into a Media Report which is available online. They represent articles published in newspapers and magazines, online news services, public websites, and on highly visible social networks.

  ebae brochure


Tesco receives energy efficiency award thanks to the energy monitoring and control system developed by EnergyICT - 2010 EBAE Winner in the Product Category

The UK-based global retailer Tesco has been awarded the Energy Efficiency Program of the Year – Commercial End-User as part of 2010 Platts Global Energy Awards. Tesco's success is due in part to their collaboration with EnergyICT – winners of the Product Award in the 2010 European Business Awards for the Environment. Based in Belgium, EnergyICT provided Tesco with a sophisticated energy management system which enabled the retailer to cut its energy consumption by 20%. Find out more about the 2010 Platts Global Energy Awards.

  ebae brochure   ebae brochure  

News pages: What's New | Archives Page 1 | Archives Page 2