ECO-INNOVATIONat the heart of European policies
Support systems designed to underpin entrepreneurship and innovation are still insufficiently focused on eco-innovation and sustainability, according to the final recommendations of a research project supported by the ECO-INNOVERA Network.
Environmental, social and economic benefits
The SHIFT project (Support Systems for Sustainable Entrepreneurship and Transformation) ran from January 2012 to January 2016. In a project summary published in January 2016, it noted that “most parts of the innovation and entrepreneurship support systems still have a clear focus on generating economic benefits,” and have not yet fully embraced a paradigm in which “multi-purpose” benefits – environmental, social and economic – will be delivered.
Support systems for entrepreneurship and innovation can include government support, universities, incubators, business development organisations and other forms of support and funding that help innovation get off the ground. SHIFT looked at these support systems in three countries that are typically regarded as leading on innovation – Germany, Finland and Sweden. According to SHIFT, in these countries, new ideas to boost eco-innovation are being explored, and the role of eco-innovation in tackling societal problems is fully recognised. But even in these countries “integrating sustainability systematically and holistically in the support system for innovation and entrepreneurship has not yet occurred in practice.”
Recommendations to support eco-innovation
The SHIFT project summary provides a range of recommendations to different organisations involved in support for eco-innovation, and identifies current best practices, making the summary a useful handbook for anyone involved in innovation support. SHIFT's seven basic recommendations for mainstreaming sustainability into innovation support are the following:
For more information:
The summary of results and recommendations from the SHIFT ECO-INNOVERA project is available at http://www.shift-project.eu/uploads/2/5/6/0/25603894/shift_broschuere_160108.pdf
The SHIFT project website is at http://www.shift-project.eu
The ECO-INNOVERA website is at https://www.eco-innovera.eu