Topic 3.2.1 Eco-innovation


The planet’s population is increasing by 140.000 people per day leading to a pressure on resources and environmental challenges. To achieve sustainable green growth and remain competitive, we need to get more out of each tonne of materials, each hectare of land and each joule of energy. Investing in eco-innovation is essential to ensure Europe’s global leadership in creating a resource efficient society.

Eco-innovation can help create new business opportunities, jobs and growth in Europe. This sector today has an estimated annual turnover of €227 billion or around 2.2% of the EU’s gross domestic product – outperforming the European aerospace or pharmaceutical industries. It directly employs 3.4 million people. Close to half of European companies active in manufacturing, agriculture, water, and food services have recently eco-innovated and benefited as a result.

The Commission has developed an Eco-innovation Action Plan (EcoAP) which fosters a comprehensive range of eco-innovative processes, products and services and includes a pilot programme to help cutting-edge green technology reach its market. By providing external, expert verification of the performance and environmental benefits of a technology, the EU Environmental Technology Verification (ETV) pilot programme can be particularly useful to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs).

For more information

  • Eco-innovation is a booming sector with many opportunities for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The European Commission helps SMEs take advantage of these opportunities.
  • The 189 projects funded by the European Commission between 2008 and 2011 through the Eco-innovation initiative have brought € 1.2 billion in annual environmental savings and have created many jobs in Europe. Find out more.

Product design matters. Find out how smart product design can help save precious resources.

Check out what else the Commission is doing to foster green growth.

Eco-innovation – Environment – European Commission (


Financing the circular economy (

European Circular Economy Stakeholder Platform | A joint initiative by the European Commission and the European Economic and Social Committee (

Financing the Circular Economy | Shared by Finance Programme ( economy: a de-risking strategy an driver of superior risk-adjusted returns | Shared by Finance Programme (