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EcoAP (The Eco-innovation Action Plan) FAQs

What is EcoAP?

The EcoAP (Eco-innovation Action Plan), launched by the European Commission in December 2011, is the logical successor to the ETAP, the EU’s Environmental Technologies Action Plan.

EcoAP will build on the valuable experience gained to date – moving the EU beyond green technologies to foster a comprehensive range of eco-innovative processes, products and services.

 

How will the new action plan work with other EU initiatives?

The transition to a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy is a central pillar of the Europe 2020 Strategy which will set the course for the EU’s economy for the next decade and beyond. One of the 7 flagship initiatives in the 2020 Strategy is the Innovation Union. EcoAP will work with the Innovation Union to target specific eco-innovation barriers and opportunities.

 

Why do we need to encourage eco-innovative processes, products and services?

Eco-innovation reduces costs and improves our chances of moving into new markets, so boosting our capacity for economic growth. It also enhances the reputation of businesses in the eyes of their clients, investors and consumers. This sector has an estimated turnover of around €227 billion, corresponding to 2.2% of EU GDP, and employs 3.4 million people directly.

 

What is Eco-AP intended to achieve?

Designed to improve the market’s uptake of eco-innovation, the Action Plan will bring benefits for the environment, create growth and jobs, and ensure a more efficient use of our increasingly scarce resources. It will focus on specific bottlenecks, challenges and opportunities for achieving environmental objectives through technological and non-technological innovation.

 

What are Eco-AP’s priorities?

With the exception of renewable energy, eco innovative products have had limited access to markets. To turn this situation around, EcoAP will target eco-innovation’s biggest barriers by:

  • Stepping up current actions
  • Optimising the use of existing resources
  • Mobilising additional financial resources

 

What are its key activities?

Seven actions will help foster a stronger market for eco-innovation, bringing together stakeholders, the private and public sectors, and the European Commission.

Key activities include:

  • Putting eco-innovation at the heart of the revision of EU legislation.
  • Funding eco-innovation demonstration projects to boost industrial confidence and get concepts from the lab to the market.
  • Identifying international standards where relevant, in areas such as waste treatment, drinking water and others.
  • Funding for SMEs through the creation of a network of eco-innovation financiers.
  • Fostering international cooperation beyond the EU through European business and technology centers.
  • Equipping tomorrow’s labor force with the skills they’ll need in a green economy.
  • Innovation Partnerships which get private and public individuals together in key sectors such as sustainable agriculture and water.

 

Who pays/funds EcoAP activities?

Support depends on the activity:

  • research and development - support for R&D projects can be obtained through the EU Seventh Framework Programme (FP7) for research; specific support for the development and implementation of environmental policy can be obtained through the EU Life+ funding instrument http://ec.europa.eu/environment/life/funding/lifeplus.htm
  • innovative projects and start-ups - support is available through the Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP);

A wider use of environmental technologies and investments in eco-innovation can also be supported by the Structural Funds and the Cohesion Fund .

 

How is Eco-AP implemented and monitored?

A High Level Working Group - composed of representatives from EU Member States and European Commission services - helps facilitate implementation. Participation of all stakeholders with mobilisation of relevant business and finance players and technology developers is encouraged through the European Fora on Eco-Innovation. These Fora provide a regular platform for discussion, debate and interaction. 

 

Where can I find more information?

More information and news about EU and Member State policies, environmental technologies themselves and innovative projects can be found elsewhere on this website. Or sign up for our news service to be kept regularly informed.