European Commission grants for green ideas prove to be a success
Young, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) working in the area of environmentally innovative technologies have been funded over the past two years under the Eco-innovation component of the EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP). Their performance has been analysed and shows impressive results – every euro invested resulted in 20 euros for its beneficiaries and each supported project generated eight new permanent, full-time job positions. This proves that good business, job creation and environmental protection can be achieved in the same project. Read more…
Launched in 2008, the Eco-innovation initiative is part of the EU's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme, set up to support innovation among SMEs and to improve their competitiveness. The initiative creates a bridge between research and the market, promoting good ideas to become reality in five main sectors – material recycling, water, sustainable building products, green business and the food and drink sector. In doing so, the initiative helps the EU meet its environmental objectives while boosting economic growth.
More than 240 projects funded by the Eco-innovation scheme are already underway. The performance of the EU-funded projects has been analysed and substantial benefits were revealed:
- annual water consumption has been reduced by 170 million m3, equivalent to that used by an EU city of 350,000 people;
- GHG emissions have been reduced 11.6 Mt, equivalent to those from the annual electricity use of 1.7 million EU homes; and
- 609.000 tonnes of waste have been avoided, equivalent to the annual waste generation of an EU city of 125,000 people.
In cash terms, the value of these environmental savings is estimated to be more than EUR800 million in 5 years. Examples of funded projects are:
- REBRICK, which has developed an automated sorting process to separate out used bricks for demolition waste;
- Textile for Textile aims to recover fabrics, avoiding the heavy impacts on the environment typical of the textile industry;
- Glass Plus recycles old cathode ray televisions to produce high-quality and eco-friendly ceramic tiles.
Due to this success, the European Commission invested a new budget of EUR31.5 million for a further 45 Eco-innovation projects.
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