In light of global challenges such as climate change and demography transition to green economies seems to be an urgent necessity. Eco-innovations, i.e. “green” technologies, processes, products and services have an increasing impact on the global competitiveness of European industry. Uptake of green practices by businesses and the private sector is of major importance. In order to reach this ambitious goal, it is necessary to join the forces of various stakeholders by combining activities of universities, industry, professional associations, as well as technical centers & experts, but foremost of SMEs. SMEs tend to be more innovative, flexible and diverse than their larger counterparts in industry and account for 99% of European businesses, but uptake of eco-innovation by them is still limited.
The GreenEcoNet consortium started as a project of six leading research networks specialising in green economy transitions in 2013. By implementing an ambitious work plan, i.e. networking and dissemination of information GreenEcoNet provides support to businesses. Everybody – institution or individual – can join the network upon registration. New eco-innovative results and practice cases can be added in two main sections: as a solution or as a tool. Members can ask questions to the forum or add a comment to the blog. For future sustainability of the network, the GreenEcoNet team is about to develop the appropriate business structure.
GreenEcoNet's mission is to develop the first Europe-wide platform for SMEs and research communities in order to accelerate the transition to green economies. The services offered on the platform help the companies with building partnerships allowing for more efficient and faster commercialisation of a technology. SMEs are able to connect more easily to each other, thus supporting knowledge sharing, sharing good practice or enhancing the cooperation between SMEs and the research community. The GreenEcoNet platform may as well help providing financing by presenting the eco-innovation to the eco-innovation community.
The GreenEcoNet approach is ready for full-scale implementation and can be estimated to be level 5 on the generic maturity scale GML.
The GreenEcoNet platform provides a couple of features like the forum, where discussions take place on various aspects of eco-innovation. The solution part allows for featuring the eco-innovations as such, representing an enormous spectrum of technologies, processes and products. The blog allows for direct interaction, and the tool section offers a couple of practical instruments for the users.
This complex offer for SMEs and the wider eco-innovation community has the potential to unlock the transition to a green - and fair - economy. GreenEcoNet facilitates further acceleration of the result uptake from the research communities by everyday practices of businesses by providing these networking opportunities and instruments.