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The EU Eco-Innovation Action Plan: green jobs and green growth (Eco news)


The EU Eco-Innovation Action Plan: green jobs and green growth
Science Business reported

In December 2011, European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Poto─Źnik, launched the Eco-Innovation Action Plan (EcoAP). This is an over-arching strategy to guide regulation, standardisation and R&D support towards a top-level goal: stimulating demand and supply of green technologies in Europe. Its premise is that eco-innovation already is economically important – and will become even more so in future if the policy environment is right.

The Commission estimates that companies in this broadly defined sector have annual turnover of €319 billion, or around 2.5 per cent of the EU’s gross domestic product, and has recently been growing at rate of 8 per cent, employing around 3.4 million people. At the launch, the Commissioner said: "The innovation challenge for this Century will be making our resources go further - doing more with less – and reducing the impact of our activities. Europe must be in the lead in meeting that challenge if we want to be competitive in a world of increasing resource constraints…

This is a plan for green jobs and green growth." As a broad strategy document, the EcoAP is long on intentions and short on specifics; those are still being developed inside the Commission. But it has broad political support, and is part of the Commission’s economy-wide Europe 2020 agenda and its goal of a smart, sustainable and inclusive economy. It updates a 2004 EU initiative, the Environmental Technologies Action Plan. And it is, as one Commission official put it, “a political document that identifies priority areas for actions where money will be spent.”

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