ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
The 6th European Forum on Eco-Innovation in Berlin on 2 and 3 April 2009 set out to identify ways to build capacity for technology transfer, focusing on SMEs and developing countries.
Berlin brought together nearly 200 high-level stakeholders from business, the R&D community, policy makers and NGOs to identify the challenges involved in getting environmental products and services from research to market, improving market conditions and bringing eco-innovative responses to the specific needs of developing countries.
“Eco-innovation is needed more than ever – it is part of the solution and not the problem in fighting climate change,” said Astrid Klug, Parliamentary State Secretary of the German Federal Ministry for the Environment, Nature Conservation and Nuclear Safety, joint organiser of the forum with the European Commission. “It will help overcome the crisis, as short-term non-sustainable fixes will have to be paid for later – and at a high price. It is essential to invest in products, behaviour and international agreements to give Europe a competitive edge.”
“There are a number of perspectives when considering developing countries, with a chasm between rich and poor and between urban and rural populations even in the same country,” pointed out Steven Hunt, Senior Energy Consultant and International Projects Manager, Practical Action Consulting and PISCES. “Cutting carbon is our responsibility and we cannot just pass it on to the developing countries. However, mitigation and adaptation technologies are required in such countries and ETAP should consider both.”
“The main challenge is to explain why it is not possible to transfer our high technology European industrial solutions to poor countries,” added Hans G. Huber, the CEO of Hans Huber AG. “It is essential to convince the authorities of the need for adapted technologies that are affordable, easy to operate and fast to apply. And we need to work together to have a collective chance to produce these adapted solutions.”
“The challenge is to scale up our technology-transfer activities in Europe, building on our successes with climate change as the driver,” concluded Timo Mäkelä, Director for Sustainable Development at the European Commission Environment DG. “We need to involve those already doing such business and doing it well. And, no matter how complex the processes, we need to make them simple and understandable for SMEs.”
‘Technology transfer: Creating Partnerships for Stimulating Economic Renewal’, ETAP Forum, Berlin, 2&3 April 2009: