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Eco-innovation forms part
of the EU's Competitiveness & Innovation Programme

Eco-innovation: all innovation, which can benefit the environment.

Eco-innovation means all forms of innovation activities resulting in or aimed at significantly improving environmental protection. Eco-innovation includes new production processes, new products or services, and new management and business methods, the use or implementation of which is likely to prevent or substantially reduce the risks to the environment, pollution and any other negative impact of the use of resources throughout the lifecycle of related activities.

The world market of environmental products and services is growing. According to a OECD study, in the EU-25 alone, goods and services provided by eco-industries is estimated to represent around 2.2% of the EU-25 GDP. Clearly, eco-innovation represents a key opportunity to establish Europe's leading role to overcoming the world's sustainability challenges, and a sizeable business opportunity that can make Europe's economy even stronger and more competitive in the future.

Eco-Innovation 2009 call Priority Areas

This call supports Eco-innovative projects in different sectors which aim at the prevention or reduction of environmental impacts or which contribute to the optimal use of resources. However, more specific priorities have been set up considering its important environmental impact.
They are summarised hereafter:

In the field of materials recycling:

  • Improved sorting processes for waste materials such as construction, industrial, household, electrical and electronic waste;
  • Eco-friendly design and production of high quality consumer goods, innovative recycling processes;
  • Business innovations that strengthen the competitiveness of the recycling industries.

In the building & construction sector:

  • Innovative building products that reduce environmental impact and/or support a rational use of natural resources;
  • Innovative sorting, reuse and recycling of construction and demolition waste;
  • Innovative water systems including water saving, re-use of natural waters, rainwater collection and re-use, green roofs.

In the food & drink sector:

  • Innovative products including packaging methods and material that reduce environmental impact and maximise the use of raw materials in the food sector;
  • Cleaner and more efficient processing of food and drink products so as to reduce waste and increase material recycling and recovery;
  • Improved efficiency water management processes that reduce the use of water across the food & drink supply chain;
  • Innovative products, processes and services reducing environmental impacts of consumption including packaging, distribution and purchasing decisions.

In the area of greening business & 'smart' purchasing:

  • Products and services that follow the principles of Integrated Product Policy and the life-cycle approach and in line with the various policies documented in the Action Plan on Sustainable Consumption and Production and Sustainable Industrial Policy;
  • Implementation and promotion of environmental criteria for purchasing decisions of enterprises;
  • Innovative approaches to EMAS (Eco-Management and Audit Scheme) including increased resource and energy efficiency and biodiversity aspects or simplifications (Cluster approach is mandatory).

key differences between this initiative & other funding programmes:

Check out the call for proposals application page.