The Eco-Innovation Challenge

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The Eco-Innovation Challenge

The lead markets are

expected to be energy,

mobility, water and

efficiency; a tripling of

sales is also expected

in material efficiency.

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Table 5.1

Summarized prioritization and urgency timeline for selected metals

with their selected applications (driving emerging technologies)

PRIORITARY AND URGENCY

REGARDING TIMELINE

SHORT-TERM (WITHIN NEXT 5 YEARS)

+ rapid demand growth

+ serious supply risks

+ moderate recycling restrictions

MID-TERM (TILL 2020)

+ rapid demand growth

and

+ serious recycling restrictions

or

+ serious supply risks

+ moderate recycling restrictions

LONG-TERM (TILL 2050)

+ moderate demand growth

+ moderate supply risks

+ moderate recycling restrictions

Source: UNEP and Öko-Institute 2009; EC 2010c

METAL APPLICATIONS AND DRIVING

EMERGING TECHNOLOGIES (SELECTED)

Tellurium

Indium

Gallium

Rare earths

Lithium

Tantalum

Palladium

Platinum

Ruthenium

Germanium

Cobalt

Solar cells and flash memories

Displays (LCD), thin layer photovoltaics

ICT, Thin layer photovoltaics, LED

Catalysts, magnets (magnetic refrigeration)

Batteries, ceramics/glass, hybrid electric vehicles

Micro capacitors, medical technology, airplane turbines

Automotive catalysts, seawater desalination

Fuel cells, automotive catalysts, LCD and fibre glass

Electronics, hard disks, gas-to-liquid technologies (high quality fuels)

Optics (fibre and infrared), PET, solar

Lithium-ion batteries, synthetic fuels

5.2 | Business perspective: eco-innovation

and international competitiveness

Business is increasingly aware of the opportunities that come along with the eco-innovation

agenda. Roland Berger Strategy Consultants (2009) expect 3.1 trillion in global sales

generated by eco-industries by 2020, i.e. more than a doubling, and call eco-technologies

the 21st century lead industry. While this is indeed good news for technology providers,

eco-innovation clearly offers additional benefits for those improving their performance and

developing system solutions over the long term.

The lead markets expected are energy, mobility, water and efficiency; a tripling of sales is

also expected in material efficiency (Roland Berger Strategy Consultants 2009). A trend,

however, is fierce predatory competition as the first movers are accompanied by smart

followers. Thus, success will depend critically on delivering real solutions for customers with

verifiable sustainability achievements, as well as on suitable mass markets strategies to

overcome current fragmentation and niche orientation. Such strategies seem to be supported

by consumer orientation, i.e. price-conscious target groups nowadays consider ecological

aspects of consumption when making product purchase decisions. Indeed, certainty about

future market demand is a critical variable for any such trend, and willingness to pay for

green products may not be as high as expected (see McKinsey 2008 in WBCSD 2010b and

chapter 6 on drivers and barriers).

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