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H2020

green.eu Report Summary

Project ID: 641974
Funded under: H2020-EU.3.5.4.

Periodic Reporting for period 1 - green.eu (European Global Transition Network on Eco-Innovation, Green Economy and Sustainable Development)

Reporting period: 2015-02-01 to 2016-01-31

Summary of the context and overall objectives of the project

In the last two decades the world has experienced several crises. In light of these trends and to more effectively move towards sustainable development, several organisations and international actors have developed the concept of green economy as action-oriented approaches. Priority interventions are aimed at triggering technology adoption, and stimulate behavioural change. In fact, eco-innovation can be considered an enabler for a green economy to the same extent that the green economy can be understood as an enabler of sustainable development.

Green.eu is designed to address these challenges, ranging the conceptualization of eco-innovation and the green economy, to the harmonization of the approaches needed to coherently assess performance, identify gaps (successes and failures) for the effective adoption of technologies that can create win-win results. In particular, the project is designed so as to improve (1) harmonization of definitions, (2) collection of relevant information on the performance of past and current efforts, and (3) coordination among stakeholders. Green.eu sees the main challenges in an improved understanding (and scientific assessment) of the concepts of green economy and eco-innovation, on the adaptation of policy agendas, the documentation of best practices and guidelines for knowledge transfer and transferability.

The inter- and transdisciplinary green.eu network (including knowledge brokers, programme owners and global industry networks) is research based and aims to accelerate the transition towards a green economy significantly, with a European focus on co-development of knowledge. It aims to exploit win-win-opportunities and to improve the take up of R&D results. It includes the following work packages: Networking and co-ordination; Harmonization of concepts of green economy and eco-innovation; Eco-innovation policy agendas; Best practices, knowledge transfer, transferability; Integration and operationalization of lessons learned.

The Green.eu project vision for the inno4sd is the creation of a new network of networks, which reaches out to key stakeholders and existing networks, worldwide, to think afresh about issues of innovation, green economy and sustainable development. It is based on the idea that achieving a better world through transformative changes requires connections to be made between researchers, businesses, public officials, society organisations, politicians, funders, knowledge brokers, educators, students, writers, journalists, artists, and opinion formers – all of whom have a role to play in innovation. An important role for politicians is to create and improve new incentive systems, a topic which requires research, evaluation and discussion.

Innovation is important for sustainable development, but the relationship is not straightforward. There is a need for understanding the global web of constraints and repercussions of different innovation pathways, with attention to how the public interest can be better incorporated into innovation processes. There is also a need to explore drivers for systemic eco-innovation that trigger long-term transformations, address all aspects of the environment and resource use, beyond low-carbon and energy considerations, and are thoughtful of poverty eradication and socio-economic development needs.

The inno4sd.net is an open network with a research-based agenda for learning and for change, which invites multiple perspectives to be developed, scrutinised and deployed. inno4sd.net will become a global network – initiated by the green.eu project with start-up funding from the European Union – and aims to become connected worldwide. The innovations for analysis include changes in governance, ownership and systems of production and consumption, besides innovations in products, services and technologies. The diversity of (world) regions is considered in terms of specialisation, governance, and human and cultural capital.

Work performed from the beginning of the project to the end of the period covered by the report and main results achieved so far

The work conducted during the first year produced advances and deliverables in network building, logistics for dissemination,
The results achieved are reflected partially in the deliverables M1-M12.
WP1 The activities of this WP revolved around 1) the consolidation of the Network (formalizing current strategic partnerships) and expanding new structural collaborations (e.g., with UNEP and Future Earth). 2) The project partners have developed and is currently in operation: an organizational structure for content storage dissemination and contact with different actors with interest and stake in sustainable development. 3) Preparation of a benchmark document for the discussion and formalization of an exit strategy. 4) The organization of the first symposium that was held in November 2015 to discuss the state of the art in concepts, harmonization challenges and policy practice in relation to eco-innovation, technology transfer and sustainability.

WP2 The first activity – led by the Technical Research Institute of Sweden – compiled a paper, which is a first attempt to explore how these concepts are used in policy- and strategy-setting contexts, in the expectation that better understanding of commonalties and differences will improve stakeholders’ ability to identify opportunities and mechanisms for collaboration in practice.
The second activity – led by Stellenbosch University – compiled a paper, which reviews the literature, over the last three decades, to map out the existing body of knowledge of the themes associated with the concepts of ‘eco-innovation’ and ‘green economy’. The aim of the paper is to better understand the cohesion, integration, interrelatedness, evolution and exposure in the scientific literature of the concepts. A bibliometric and network analysis approach was followed to identify connections between the concepts, and how eco-innovation can effectively contribute to the green economy, and how these concepts may be better aligned to support the sustainable development goals.
The third activity – led by University College London – was designed to achieve the aims of the work package by providing a structure to organize content for the project website. This structure will provide a way for users of the website to navigate the resources available online. It will provide a framework for classifying project outputs based on the taxonomy developed through the WP2 analysis.

WP3 The major activities have related to preparation for, and delivery of, a stakeholder consultation session at the Symposium held in Brussels on November 3rd and 4th 2015. In line with the Description of Work, this session sought stakeholder inputs on the most relevant topics for the development of the proposed evidence library on eco-innovation policies. The session was well received, and several stakeholders indicated an ability and willingness to remain engaged with the process, including those from UNEP, PBL, University of Ottawa and the Istanbul Policy Centre.
During November 2015 the network established through green.eu project, now referred to as the Innovation for Sustainable Development Network (inno4SD.net) held its first symposium event in Brussels, bringing together project partners and international stakeholders to discuss global conceptions of eco-innovation and the green-economy, and their links with sustainable development. The above deliverables were presented at the symposium.

WP4 not scheduled for the first year, one of the first activities in WP4 already conducted in the first year, is a reflection of conceptual issues related to green economy and sustainability as well as selecting a number of case studies for discussion and posterior selection. This will also include the preparation of strategic partnership in light of the start at M13. The preparation of the paper and selection of cases (reflected in the paper) was done with other partners participating in the WP4 as well as external collaborators and potential external networks.

WP5 activities in the first reporting period consisted in the organization and achievement of work towards the compilation of end-user database and delivery of D5.1. Further, WP5 activities also focused on preparation of specific session during the first annual project symposium.

WP1-D1.1 Stakeholder analsyis
WP2-D1.2 1st Symposium report
WP2-D2.1 Map and rapid review of eco-innovation concepts
WP2-D2.2 Eco-innovation for Green Economy: Aligning agendas in view of sustainable development goals
WP2-D2.3

Progress beyond the state of the art and expected potential impact (including the socio-economic impact and the wider societal implications of the project so far)

"Currently there is higher awareness of the connectedness of the effects of development patterns established over the last century. There is also agreement that the unintended effects of such development (inequality, environment degradation, long term access resources like water and energy, disparate patterns of employment and income, etc.) require missive change in current practices. in this process, in the European context, innovation is seen as a key enabler of change. The Green.eu is a CSA project, thus its primary goal is to connect and enable diverse actors achieve the ambition of supporting sustainable development via the diffusion of sustainable and transformative innovations. Eco-innovation and the concept of the green economy are to play a role in this road. The first year of the project aimed to outline and survey how are different communities using and reflecting in core concepts like eco-innovation, socio-technical transitions, cleaner technologies, technology transfer, green economy, etc. Several position papers where produced and discussed during the symposium as well as several well known "European" academics presented their views in the topic. There was agreement that there is a multiplicity of views concerning the core concepts of eco-innovation and technology transfer as well as was is best policy practice. There was also an agreement reach during the symposium that the diversity of views is likely to resist the notion of harmonization of concepts, but rather a harmonization and agreement of goals and aims in specific realms of eco-innovation and technology transfer policy and practice. The structural partnership with salient international networks and institutions are to contribute to the acceptance of the diversity of conceptualisaton and engagement of multiple stakeholders and the European and global level.
The green.eu project started during its first year a number of strategic alliances with European (EU-SPRI, STERN, etc.) and global networks (Future Earth, WAITRO, etc.) and institutions (UNEP, UNIDO, etc.). These strategic alliances are to serve a initial multipliers of knowledge transfer on best practices on innovation for sustainability with academics, researchers, policymakers, branch and sectoral organisations in Europe and enable the establishment of an international secretariat with the participation of key Green.eu partners as European anchors."

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