ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
The study provides an overview of trends in technological digital eco-innovations and illustrates those by good technology and policy practices that can further drive the circular economy, as well as innovation to make digital products, hardware and infrastructures more sustainable in Member States.
Digitalisation is taking place at a fast pace in all European countries and is transforming the economies, societies, forms of communication, jobs and the necessary skills for the workplace and everyday life. The Covid-19 pandemic is also accelerating digitalisation at many levels. The great challenges resulting from this are addressed by a number of newly launched European policies that have strong links to digitalisation and for a transformation towards an innovative and sustainable society.
In 2019, the European Commission adopted the European Green Deal, a long-term strategy for a sustainable Europe. The New Circular Economy Action Plan, the Biodiversity Strategy for 2030 and the Zero Pollution Action Plan are three important initiatives under the Green Deal. The vision is a digitalised and a sustainable society. The various strategies and action plans therefore draw up a large portfolio of measures, instruments and milestones that are always linked to digital technologies. At best these are eco-innovative and sustainable; they ought to contribute to improving living conditions in Europe.
This report considers digitalisation a major opportunity to accelerate the transition to a circular Europe, which, however, should not create new avoidable short- or longer-term environmental pressures or shift problems.
The Eco-Innovation Observatory (EIO) has been monitoring developments across the EU since 2009. It has developed an online database and contributes to the European Commission Eco-Innovation online presence, a series of regularly updated country reports, and annual/biennial reports focusing on specific thematic issues and highlighting key trends. In this sense, the EIO has helped to build a conceptual basis and a shared understanding of what eco-innovation is and why and how it should be supported by policy interventions, businesses and consumers.