Eco-innovation and competitiveness

On 1 and 2 December took place the 7th European Forum on Eco-innovation in Lyon, France. The Forum has been a great opportunity for stakeholders both from the public and private sector to come together and discuss the opportunities and challenges of a Europe transitioning to a green and sustainable economy.

The Forum came amid a crescendo of reactions following the European Commission President’s announcement of a €315 billion investment plan to kick-start Europe’s economy. Commenting on the plan Mr Juncker underlined that “if Europe invests more, Europe will be more prosperous and create more jobs – it’s as simple as that.” The objective is clear: innovation, jobs, growth. The polyurethanes industry, as a key actor of the European economy, supports these ambitions.

Is the European Commission committed to boosting economic growth through innovation?

Juncker’s political guidelines for the new Commission mentioned jobs and growth as keys to taking Europe out of the crisis. He made a symbolic gesture by making Jyrki Katainen Vice-President responsible for assessing all actions of the Commission on whether they “help create the conditions for a sustainable recovery in growth and job creation in Europe.”

In a globalised market, growth and jobs clearly go hand in hand with innovation in order for Europe to maintain its competitive edge. And this begins by looking for efficiencies and opportunities in what is already in the pipelines: in December, the Commission will present its 2015 Work programme, in which it is expected to withdraw a number of proposals currently under consideration… including possibly the proposal on waste and the circular economy! In view of this, it is yet unclear how committed the Commission will be to support eco-innovation in Europe.

What’s the green economy’s role in promoting job creation?

Talking about the 7th Environmental Action Programme at the European Environment Bureau conference “Europe at the Crossroads”, the new Environment Commissioner Karmenu Vella highlighted:

Vella quote

The Polyurethane industry is committed to innovation and competitiveness: it is one of the most forward-looking in terms of developing recycling and energy recovery solutions for its products, showing that green innovation and job creation can go hand in hand.

Polyurethanes use less than 0.1% of oil consumed worldwide and can save up to 100 times more. The polyurethane industry heavily invests in research to continuously improve the sustainability of its product and look for renewable and bio-based raw materials.

By making a better use of resources, polyurethane greatly contributes to reducing waste and increasing energy efficiency, not only throughout the value chains for various applications, but also throughout the whole European economy. Thanks to its wide range of applications, it helps support green product choices throughout Europe, and supports more than one million jobs across Europe.

If you would like to know more about how the polyurethane industry constantly innovates for a competitive Europe, have a look on our website.

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