Annual Reports

Policies and Practices for Eco-Innovation Uptake and Circular Economy Transition

The 2016 report of the Eco-Innovation Observatory  Policies and Practices for Eco-Innovation Uptake and Circular Economy Transition discusses the role of policy for eco-innovation in the circular economy transition. It looks at the present framework conditions fostered by European policies and how the circular economy concept is being embedded in a current policy context at the EU level and in the Member States. It also discusses the bottom-up and top-down circular economy challenges.

32 good practice examples of circular economy oriented eco-innovations and initiatives from the EU Member States are featuring in the report. They altogether provide evidence for the multifaceted and impressive eco-innovation potential of EU Member States.

The report also presents the cross country comparison based on the recent eco-innovation indicators featured in the EU and Global eco-innovation scoreboards.

Eco-Innovation: Enabling the transition to a resource efficient Circular Economy

The 2014 report of the Eco-Innovation Observatory Eco-Innovation: Enabling the transition to a resource efficient Circular Economy discusses how Eco-Innovation can fuel the transition to a circular economy. This report presents evidence of changes already happening across the EU and highlights some of the key barriers and future challenges toward mainstreaming a circular economic model. It argues that the circular economy concept offers a model of resource flows through the economy that may underpin the vision of a resource-efficient Europe.

Eco-innovation will enable the transition by changing dominant business models, transforming the way citizens interact with products and services, and developing improved systems for delivering value. This report looks at five activities that are crucial to building up resource-efficient material flows across the EU: design, repair, reuse, remanufacturing and recycling.

Europe in transition

This third annual report of the EIO looks at how eco-innovation can lead to and create structural change. It argues that strategic partnerships between policy makers, businesses, citizens and researchers are key to developing, implementing and applying eco-innovation.
This report begins with a vision of a resource-efficient Europe, presents the current state of eco-innovation in the EU, and asks how eco-innovation efforts can be both increased and intensified to play a larger role in the transition to a green economy.

In particular, this report addresses the following questions:

  • What are the key barriers to structural change and how can system eco-innovation play a bigger role to overcome them?
  • What is the role of stakeholders in the transition, and how can they work together to get change moving in the right direction?
  • What are the key findings for policy makers?
Closing The Eco-Innovation Gap

This second annual report of the EIO looks at evidence of the economic benefits from eco-innovation. It argues that eco-innovation in European companies is an opportunity for strategic investment rather than only seeking regulatory compliance. Importantly, changes introduced by companies have the potential to become one of drivers of the systemic change needed to meet the EU’s vision of a sustainable economy.

This report addresses the following questions:

  • What is the scope for cost savings through resource efficiency in European companies?
  • Where are the current and future opportunities for generating profit through eco-innovation?
  • How are policies supporting eco-innovation evolving across the EU and what types of policy measures are used to support eco-innovation?

Please note Table 2.2 in the report has been corrected in the version published on 22 March 2012.

The Eco-Innovation Challenge

This first annual report of the Observatory introduces the concept of eco-innovation, placing key findings on the state and potential of eco-innovation in the EU into the context of the resource-efficiency debate, in particular considering the flagship initiative “Resource-efficient Europe” of the Europe 2020 strategy.

Introducing the notion of the "eco-innovation challenge", this report also opens a discussion on the potential benefits of eco-innovation for companies, sectors and entire economies.

Why focus on resources

This report focuses on material resources such as fossil fuels, minerals, metals, and biomass for three reasons. First, it is the human use (and over-use) of material resources that are linked to the most prominent environmental problems today, most notably climate change. Second, Europe’s dependence on materials imported from abroad is increasing, raising concerns over material security. European industries and consumers are increasingly vulnerable to volatility, increasing scarcity as well as rising material prices. Third, reducing resource use offers a significant business opportunity to reduce costs. At a time of increasing prices this is particularly relevant.
This report offers a general framing of both the problems and the objectives; it begins by analysing current unsustainable trends and ends with a vision of a resource-efficient Europe. This vision reflects what resource efficiency means to us, it also depicts the scope of the eco-innovation challenge.

As we will show, eco-innovation is already occurring in countries, sectors, and markets across the EU, but not to the degree necessary. The EIO therefore aims to demonstrate existing solutions and to explore the untapped, often unrealised, eco-innovative potential of new solutions. In this context, this report aims to provide answers to the following key questions:

  • What are the current eco-innovation - and eco-innovation relevant - trends?
  • What types of good practice can be seen in different EU Member States?
  • What are the drivers and barriers of eco-innovation in countries, sectors and companies?
  • What policy approaches are most effective for promoting eco-innovation?
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