When business meets the environment

The programme

Launched in 2008, the Eco-innovation initiative is part of the EU's Entrepreneurship and Innovation Programme (EIP), set up to support innovation among SMEs and to improve their competitiveness. It is included in the EIP's annual work programmes.

The Eco-innovation initiative was one of the measures designed to implement the EU's Eco-innovation Action Plan (EcoAP).

Managing the initiative

The Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) manages the eco-innovation initiative on a daily basis on behalf of the European Commission.

Official name of the initiative

CIP Eco-innovation First Application and Market Replication Projects.

Background documents

Projects funded by the initiative

Visit the eco-innovation database for information on projects that have been awarded funding.

About the initiative

The eco-innovation initiative bridges the gap between research and the market. It helps good ideas for innovative products, services and processes that protect the environment become fully-fledged commercial prospects, ready for use by business and industry. In doing so the initiative not only helps the EU meet its environmental objectives but also boosts economic growth.

A five-pronged attack

Eco-innovation is about reducing our environmental impact and making better use of resources. This means developing products, techniques, services and processes that reduce CO2 emissions, use resources efficiently, promote recycling and so on. There are five main strands to this initiative:

  • Materials recycling and recycling processes;
  • Sustainable building products;
  • Food and drink sector;
  • Water efficiency, treatment and distribution;
  • Greening business.

The EU is looking to maximise the impact of Eco-innovation and make every euro go as far as possible. The best Eco-innovation projects are those that can be replicated across the EU.

Eco-innovation projects are not research projects. The ideas must be developed, feasible and also viable in the long-term to qualify for funding.

Putting the EU in the driving seat

Eco-innovation represents a key opportunity to establish Europe's leading role in overcoming the world's sustainability challenges while making Europe's economy even stronger and more competitive. The world market of environmental products and services is growing. According to an OECD study, goods and services provided by eco-industries are estimated to represent around 2.5 % of the EU GDP.

The initiative contributes to the implementation of the Eco-innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) that seeks to boost environmental technologies while strengthening economic growth and competitiveness.

SMEs play a major role in this regard. This is why priority is given to projects presented by small firms.

Managing the initiative

The Eco-innovation initiative is managed by the Executive Agency for Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (EASME) in close cooperation with the European Commission's Environment Directorate-General. It forms part of the EU's Competitiveness and Innovation Framework Programme (CIP).


Between 2008 and 2013 nearly €200 million were available to fund projects under the eco-innovation initiative.

Have a look at our projects database EU Eco-innovation Action Plan

Last update: 03/10/2016 | Top