United Kingdom

The United Kingdom is very active in the promotion of eco-innovation, the circular economy and new business models with environmental benefits. The country, however, dropped in terms of their position on the Eco-Innovation scoreboard in 2017, going from the 6th to the 11th position between 2013 and 2017. Nonetheless, the country still performs above EU average in terms of eco-innovation inputs and eco-innovation activities and significantly above EU average in terms of resource efficiency outcomes. This dynamism is underlined by the existence of multiple organisations fostering systemic eco-innovation and a more circular economy, through the delivery of financial support, advice and networking opportunities to innovative SMEs and public bodies at the regional and at the national level. Such organisations include Waste and Resources Action Programme (WRAP), Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS), Innovate UK, the Knowledge Transfer Networks (KTNs), the Catapult Centres or the Green Investment Bank (GIB). The role and remit of the devolved governments in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland is also particularly important with regards to environmental and sustainability policies and legislation. This has enabled different approaches to be implemented throughout the UK, addressing specific issues in each devolved region whilst ensuring that there is also a coherent and organised overall strategy for the country. Both the Welsh and Scottish Government have developed and implemented innovative and transformative policy landscapes with regards to recycling and the implementation of the circular economy, resulting in a greatly improved level of public understanding around these issues and the development and adoption of supportive business practices. In 2014 and 2015, particularly dynamic areas in terms of eco-innovation and the circular economy included: 1) Waste management and recycling; 2) Rational use of natural resources and critical materials; 3) Low carbon transport, particularly ultra-low emission vehicles; and 4) Clean and carbon abatement technologies. These areas have been continuously growing and significantly shape the UK’s eco-innovation and circular economy profile. Nowadays, more and more systemic and transformative eco-innovations and supporting policies are emerging in the United Kingdom, aiming to make a complete shift in the paradigm on current patterns of production and consumption.


2017 Eco-innovation Scoreboard ranking and eco-innovation index composites for The United Kingdom



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