Every third company considers expected scarcity of materials as a serious driver of eco-innovation. 23% of eco-innovating companies believed that the lack of qualified personnel and technological capabilities is a very serious barrier. Highly regulated sectors, notably water and energy, are also those which consider regulation as a highly relevant driver for eco-innovation. 70 Socio-cultural factors Having good business partners was considered a very important driver by a significant number of companies surveyed by Eurobarometer. While it was the second most important driver in the EU-12, there were significant differences in the perceptions this factor among countries in the EU-15: it appears as the most important driver in Austria and Sweden and one of the least important drivers in France and Spain. Nearly all countries considered the collaboration with universities and research institutes as one of the least important drivers and barriers to eco-innovation. Environmental factors Every third company (35%) surveyed by Eurobarometer considered expected future scarcity of materials as a very serious driver of eco-innovation. The material scarcity concerns are more strongly pronounced in the EU-15 (37%) compared to the EU-12 (29%). There are also significant differences between individual countries in this respect (see Figure 6.4). Technical and technological knowledge base Companies consider factors related to their own technological capacities or strategic objectives as significant to eco-innovation efforts, e.g. 23% of eco-innovating companies believed that the lack of qualified personnel and technological capabilities is a very serious barrier. Moreover, every fourth eco-innovating company indicated the lack of strategic priority to reduce energy use within the company as a serious barrier to eco-innovation. Interestingly, this was considered a very serious barrier more often in the EU-15 than in the EU-12 (27% and 21% respectively). Similar concerns about material use were expressed by 17% of companies. 6.1.3 | Sectoral perspective According to Eurobarometer, the expected and current high prices of energy were considered the most important driving factors of eco-innovation in all five sectors covered by the survey (see Figure 6.5). High material prices were also of high relevance, notably in the agriculture, construction, food services and manufacturing sectors, but less so in the water sector. Results on barriers to eco-innovation confirmed the high relevance of economic barriers: the lack of internal funds, uncertain return on investments and uncertain demand are the most frequently noted obstacles in all five sectors (see Figure 6.6). While the water sector suffers least from the lack of internal and external funding, companies from other sectors, especially agriculture, manufacturing and food services, indicated these issues as the most serious barriers to pursuing eco-innovation Regulatory factors According to CIS, highly regulated sectors, notably water and energy, are also those which consider regulation as a highly relevant driver for eco-innovation (Figure 6.7). Indeed, nearly every second (47%) innovating firm in the water sector introduced environmental innovation in response to regulation. Other sectors highly influenced by regulation included energy generation (electricity, gas, steam and air conditioning supply; 40%), mining (35%) and construction (31%). Eurobarometer did not register significant differences between sectors in this respect, however, it did suggest that expected regulation was more important than existing regulations in all surveyed sectors except for water (see Figure 6.5).
eco-innovation observatory According to CIS, sectors where availability of government grants and subsidies played a key role for environmental innovation included construction (17% of innovating companies in the sector), transport (16%), water (16%), mining (14%) and energy (12%). The higher relevance of grants in construction may reflect a growing role of environmental performance requirements in publicly funded construction works. Access to public subsidies and fiscal incentives was highlighted as a very important driver by respondents in Eurobarometer, notably in agriculture and fishing (48% of eco-innovators in the sector). Technological, socio-cultural and natural capital factors Around one fifth of the SMEs surveyed by Eurobarometer considered the lack of qualified personnel and technological lock-in as a significant barrier to eco-innovation (Figure 6.6). Food and agricultural sectors seemed to be more exposed to these barriers, while the water sector is the least challenged. Technological and management capabilities help drive ecoinnovation in 44% of SMEs in agriculture and 35-38% of enterprises in other industries (Figure 6.5). Socio-cultural drivers of eco-innovations, such as collaboration with research organizations and other business partners, and access to external knowledge and assistance, are reported to be more important in the agriculture and fishing sector. The Eurobarometer survey showed that the current and future lack of materials is a particularly relevant factor in the manufacturing industry, and less significant in the water sector (Figure 6.5) 6.2 | Drivers and barriers in EIO country profiles The analysis of EIO country profiles18 contributes a complementary perspective to reflection on the barriers and drivers of eco-innovation in EU Member States. Each of the 27 country profiles has highlighted the most critical barriers and drivers of eco-innovation in that country, based on literature review and interviews with policy makers. Regulatory and policy framework The country reports also reveal that the regulatory and policy framework is one of the most important determinants of eco-innovation development in the EU. Twelve country briefs report the current or expected stringency of regulation, introduction of standards, pollution charges and taxes, as well as targeted initiatives of the government as drivers of eco-innovation. On the other hand, several countries, mostly in new EU Member States, report that weak regulations and a lack of relevant policies form a barrier to eco-innovative initiatives. Economic and financial factors Every country report underlines the importance of economic drivers to both the initiation and long-term viability of eco-innovation. Critical points seem to be seed funds and venture capital (which is largely lacking in the EU) necessary for technology transfer and commercialisation projects. Eco-innovative developments in new EU Member States have been largely driven by special funding programmes of the EU in cooperation with national authorities; whereas dedicated investments into green R&D have been seen more in Austria, Finland, Germany, Denmark and France. Growing demand for green, ecological, and bio products, as well as Annual Report 2010 The current and future lack of materials is a strong driver in the manufacturing industry. 18. The EIO has developed eco-innovation profiles for all Member States utilizing both internal expertise and national country experts. These reports contain concise analysis of ecoinnovation performance, leading and emerging eco-innovation areas, an overview of relevant policy measures and a summary of barriers and drivers to ecoinnovation. The country reports are available on the EIO website 71