The Eco-innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) is a comprehensive set of initiatives to improve the market’s uptake of eco-innovation. Adopted by the Commission in 2011, the plan expands the EU’s focus from green technologies to every aspect of eco-innovation – including products and services. In this way, it will bring benefits for the environment, create growth and jobs, and ensure more-efficient use of our increasingly scarce resources.
The EcoAP builds on EU eco-innovation activities and experience gained over the last decade, especially under the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP). These encompass everything from recycled materials to wastewater treatment, and from green business and smart purchasing schemes to environmental labelling.
Eco-innovation supports innovative products, services and technologies that make better use of resources, while reducing Europe’s ecological footprint. With the exception of renewable energy however, eco-innovation has a limited access to markets.
So the EcoAP will target eco-innovation’s biggest barriers, such as market uncertainty and worries about return on investment. It will also address eco-innovation’s main drivers, among them high energy prices, targeted regulations and standards, and access to knowledge. Above all the plan will strive to accelerate development and uptake of eco-innovations by:
The European Commission and Member States will provide strong governance for eco-innovation policies with a dedicated High-Level Working Group. Other public and private actors will be invited to form a Multi-Stakeholder Group, so as to enlarge the dialogue to businesses and the civil society – which are vital transmission points for eco-innovation initiatives.
The Commission and Member States will also coordinate national and EU policies on eco-innovation, for example by identifying and exchanging information on good practice. A range of useful tools will be available to them, including Eco-innovation National Roadmaps and Eco-innovation Fora. An Eco-innovation Scoreboard will gather data on eco-innovation performance across the EU and beyond, thus helping to monitor and evaluate progress made by 2020.