Decoupling economic growth from its negative impact on the environment is possible: 71 representatives from thirty-six European Regions gathered today in Stuttgart (Baden-Württemberg, DE), to discuss the latest technologies in the field of eco-innovation and to promote best practice projects. The framework for the meeting was the international conference on ‘Eco-innovation: The way ahead for competitive regions’.
The issue of environmentally-friendly technologies is becoming increasingly important in Europe, especially after the March European Council made a firm commitment to achieve at least a 20% reduction of greenhouse-gas emissions by 2020, compared with 1990 levels.
“Eco-innovation is becoming more and more important at the regional level, especially in terms of protection of the environment, economic development and prospects for a better future’, said Tanja Gönner, Minister for the Environment of the Land Baden-Württemberg.
Ken Green, Professor at the Manchester Business School, set out the background to the discussion: “eco-innovation is largely policy-driven, and long term regulating action is its necessary driver’, said Professor Green.
Experts from the European Commission explained in detail both the ‘EU Environmental Technology Action Plan’ and the possible financial contribution of EU regional policy to eco-innovation and environmental technologies.
Eco-industries, it was said, already account for more than 2% of the EU GDP, while clean technologies attract 10% of risk capital in Europe. Up to 10 billion euros could be made available for environmental technologies under the 7th EU Framework Programme for Research and Development.
The ECREINetwork* partner regions (Baden-Württemberg-DE, Rhône Alpes-F, Lombardia-I, Andalucia-ES, Ile-de-France-F and Malopolska-PL) intend to give further inputs to these European programmes, by comparing the instruments which exist in the European regions to promote eco-innovation. The ECREIN partner regions laid out concrete examples of how they boosted eco-innovation projects on their territories, through ad hoc financing schemes.
NOTE FOR THE EDITORS: The AER can provide further eco-innovation examples and/or interviews with experts and professionals involved in the different projects: please contact our Strasbourg office for details.
All Conference presentations will be made available on Monday 4th June on www.aer.eu
*The ECREIN (European Clusters and Regions for Eco-Innovation and Eco-Investments Network) was set up in the year 2006, in order to compare the instruments which exist in different European regions to promote eco-innovation and eco-investments in small and medium enterprises, in view of assessing their impact and to make proposals for new business and financing measures.
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