A European Commission report into the performance of SMEs has shown that every euro invested into technology companies working in environmental innovation produces about €20 to the start-up’s beneficiaries.
In addition, each project supported in the framework of EU’s Competitiveness and Innovation Programme (CIP) during the past two years generated an additional eight permanent full-time jobs. The results of the recently performed analysis of small and medium enterprises (SME) working in the CIP’s framework have exceeded expectations.
European commissioner for the environment Janez Potočnik said: "The new study demonstrates that good business, job creation and environmental protection can go together and generate widespread benefits. This suggests that Europe has a strong niche in green business, a niche which can promote competitive, resource-efficient and sustainable growth."
The EU's eco-innovation funding focuses on five main sectors: material recycling, water, sustainable building products, green business and food and drink. So far, some 240 start-up projects have received funding and are underway.
Apart from yielding profit and creating jobs, the projects have also helped to achieve substantial benefits in the area of environment protection and sustainability. Around 170 million cubic metres of water have been saved, which is equivalent to the annual water consumption of a European city with the population of 350,000. The projects also enabled an 11.6MT reduction in greenhouse-gas emissions, equal to the annual electricity consumption of 1.7 million European homes. According to the analysis, the reduction in waste production amounts to 609,000 tonnes making up for the annual waste generation of an EU city of 125,000 people. The eco-innovations are estimated to be able to save Europe €800m in five years.
In May the European Commission launched a new call for proposal to select further 45 eco-innovation projects with novel environmental solutions that will benefit from an investment budget of €31.5m. European businesses have until September 2013 to submit their proposals. The CIP funded Eco-Innovation received an overall budget of €200m for the period 2008 to 2013. It supports technologically-proven solutions, those being products, processes or technologies that help make better use of Europe's natural resources.