The Eco-Innovation Challenge

The Eco-Innovation Challenge


resource use will also reduce the negative environmental impacts associated with using

those resources. In the future, work on the distinguishing between different types and forms

of eco-innovation will be intensified.

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 the ecoinnovation


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 unrealized, eco-innovative potential

of new solutions. In this context, this report aims to provide answers to the following key


● 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?

Box 1.3 | Resource efficiency, productivity

and intensity: distinguishing the terms

Resource efficiency means using less resources to achieve the same or improved output

(resource input/output). It is an input-output measure of technical ability to produce “more

from less”.

Resource productivity has a component of economic value: it refers to the economic gains

achieved through resource efficiency (for example GDP/DMC). In this way it indicates the

economic effectiveness of natural resource use. This report often refers to material productivity.

At the company level, material productivity refers to the amount of economic value

generated per unit of material input. In other words, reducing material cost or adding more

value to the production output by increasing efficiency in the way material resources are

delivered processed and handled.

On the scale of economies, material productivity is an indicator calculated as GDP

per material consumption. In this case, material productivity refers to domestic material

consumption whereas resource productivity refers to total resource consumption (see also

Box 2.1 describing material flow indicators).

Resource intensity indicators are the inverse of productivity indicators. They are often used to

discuss energy and emissions. This report, for instance, considers GHG emissions intensity

(measured as CO2e/GDP) in the calculation of the Eco-Innovation Scoreboard (section 3.1).

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