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TOWARDS an INTEGRATION of ENVIRONMENTAL AND ECOLOGY-ORIENTED TECHNO LOGY POLICY. STIMULUS AND RESPONSE IN ENVIRONMENT RELATED INNOVATION NETWORKS

Exploitable results

The most significant results of the ENVINNO policy analysis can now be summarised: - New directions concerning environmental policies: -- EP (Environmental Policy) should establish clear environmental quality standards, improvements planned should have time horizons attached and transition rules should be specified, since this future orientation provides an essential stimulus for pioneers. -- Environmental standards, in the form of both present and conceived future targets, need to be checked for consistency, especially where there is an interdependency of standards along product chains and in the dynamics of ecological systems. -- EP should promote green markets to support the market stimuli for environment oriented innovation in companies; and such strategies should include a green public procurement policies. - New directions concerning environment-oriented technology policies: -- ETP (Technological Policy) has to be designed in accordance with the declared present and future aims of EP. -- ETP has to specify the technological strategy to comply with (future) standards and has to take into account all the functions needed in an innovation process (from basic research to innovation diffusion). -- ETP should define focal areas of technological innovation, allow enough time and allocate funds over the predetermined time horizons, thus reducing risk and uncertainty for innovation projects. -- ETP should be seen as a feedback-process in which future environmental and technological problems and opportunities can be assessed and incorporated into the priority decisions. -- Environmental policy networks including all relevant actors should be enabled to participate in this process (i.e. involving ¿Environmental Stakeholders). -- ETP should establish institutional arrangements that permit active involvement of EP and ETP policy agents in the detection and promotion of environment-oriented innovation pioneers, through the use of ¿talent scouts¿ and policy advisers. -- ETP should encourage the establishment and maintenance of environment-oriented innovation networks (for knowledge diffusion and management, and for finding innovation project partners). -- Grants for innovation projects should be allocated on the basis of demonstrating knowledge of the product chains the planned innovation is planned to take place within and the likely impacts on other links in the chain. -- Applications for grants should contain a commercial feasibility and costing and marketing analysis, as well as the planned organisational basis of the innovation project, in the pattern and responsibilities of the network partners involved. -- ETP designers should be aware of the fact that EP standards and concomitant ETP programs usually imply the creation and/or modification of new product markets for the technology providers. The market conditions need to be clarified and the longer run stability of these ¿institutional¿ markets needs to be considered in order to provide incentives for pioneers. -- ETP should promote experiments, particularly those that involve several related production activities (eco-business zones) and citizens groups. - Concerning policy co-ordination: -- Better policy co-ordination and transparency implies consideration of trade-offs between different policy goals and clear responsibilities between different tiers of government. -- Policy co-ordination in future oriented activities such as innovation is difficult to always ascertain a priori, and so a policy co-ordination agent should help to pave the way for innovation projects running into difficulties because of policy contradictions. -- Particularly for SMEs, ETP should provide assistance for prospective innovators in joining the necessary networks, as well as for widening and deepening general networks and supporting specific project networks. -- Pioneers should get public awards to create more interest in innovation activities in companies.
In the case study interviews with participants in innovation projects and the workshops held in the framework of the ENVINNO study important obstacles to carrying out innovation projects successfully were identified. These barriers pertain to the individual actors (or companies) involved, to the project networks and to the environmental regulations as well as to the technology support programmes. The following overview is not country specific, but provides a general listing. Some of the issues listed here are valid only for some countries. This is true particularly with respect to the policy related problems reported, as the policy systems of some countries have already made provisions in their EP and ETP systems to avoid these flaws. - Barriers existing in the participating companies individually: -- Lack of environmental awareness, no organisational provision to cope with environmental problems -- Considering environmental challenges only as a cost factor and not as a potential opportunity for opening up new business opportunities (i.e. the identification of possible win-win situations) -- Lack of innovative milieu in companies This lack was often characterised particularly by the following organisational features: 1) Hierarchical structure. 2) Internal bureaucracy. 3) Lack of a feedback-and-learning culture as a general attitude towards mistakes, shortcomings and failures. 4) A business culture of secrecy. 5) General risk aversion. 6) No promotion of visions for change and lack of organisational provision for documentation of such visions and diffusion within the company. -- Lack of assessment procedures of risk and marketing possibilities -- Unawareness of the stage in the product cycle of the company’s products and the chances and risks offered by innovation - Barriers arising from factors outside individual companies -- Lack of assistance in finding co-operation partners ("partner stock exchange"). -- Lack of special conditions for research consortia. -- EP and ETP focus on single technologies and individual actors. -- Lack of specific funds for SMEs for R&D and commercialisation of innovations. -- Conventional financial institutions are often risk averse and usually conservative. -- Bureaucratic procedures for the provision of funding are still a problem. -- Networking on a formal basis with legally-binding contracts. -- Difficulties overcoming bottlenecks during some phases of innovation. -- Sound market research and analysis, in order to demonstrate a clear latent demand for an innovative environmental technology.