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MEI — Result In Brief

Project ID: 44513
Funded under: FP6-POLICIES
Country: Netherlands

Developing indicators for eco-innovation

Europe is a global leader when it comes to action against climate change and other key environmental issues. Following a recent study, we now have a better idea of how to measure eco-innovation on the continent.
Developing indicators for eco-innovation
The so-called green economy has been hailed as one of the exits out of the global financial crisis. Aside from financial aspects, green technology and services also benefit the environment and are a key element of corporate social responsibility.

So how is Europe doing in terms of eco-innovation? The participants in the 'Measuring Eco-innovation' (MEI) project, which was funded by the EU, set out to answer this question. First, they came up with a comprehensive definition of eco-innovation that incorporates concepts such as environmental impact and product lifecycles.

Next, a number of different approaches to measuring eco-innovation were investigated. For example, questionnaires were developed to survey companies active in this field. Analysis of patents also proved to be an excellent and free source of information, though unfortunately not suitable for all types of eco-innovation.

The MEI team found that creativity, while a more abstract concept, could be effectively assessed using input from journals and product databases. By the same token, several indicators, ranging from environment to operating conditions, could be used to define important advances in eco-innovation.

In order to define a point of reference, trials were carried out to test the applicability of different ideas for a benchmark indicator. The results indicate that a combination of measures delivers better results than any single measure in isolation.

Looking to the future, the MEI participants identified gaps in current knowledge, including obstacles such as the lack of statistical data specific to eco-innovation. This information was used to define a roadmap for future research in this field with the aim of ensuring Europe's status as an eco-innovation leader.

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