Global Technical function: Certifying, Grant funding, Promoting sustainable practices, Providing tailored training, Setting up synergies
Technical Function Unit: Networking, Performance standard, Promoting information sharing, Promoting market intelligence, Public grant funding for demonstration
Geographic Area: Austria, Worldwide

The ECOPROFIT® programme supporting sustainable economic development

ECOPROFIT® ("ECOlogical PROject For Integrated Environmental Technology) is a programme for promoting sustainable practices and economic development created by the Environment Department of the City of Graz, Austria, in 1991. The goal of the programme is to motivate enterprises and municipalities alike to incorporate cleaner production practices and policies into their everyday business.

The challenge

Businesses have a huge potential to enhance their environmental performance but there is a need for coordinated programmes supporting the transition from old processes to the new improved ones. The ECOPROFIT® programme targets this problem.

The measure

ECOPROFIT® is a certification scheme providing tailored training on environmental topics and performance standards for employees of companies and municipalities.

After training workshops take place, environmental strategies are implemented in the employee's organisations. Peer Review and "learning from the best" approaches are responsible for the success of this programme. Certifying is only possible once monitoring has been implemented.  ECOPROFIT® is an internationally registered and copyrighted trademark.

ECOPROFIT® builds on a step-by-step plan consisting of firstly the ‘Academy’, then the ‘Basic Programme’ and finally the ‘Club Programme’. Initially, consultants and local authority representatives are trained via ‘train-the-trainer’ programme in the ECOPROFIT® Academy. Subsequently, the Basic Programme is initiated, in which the acquired knowledge will be transferred to employees of participating companies under the organisation’s guidance. Finally the Club Programme will guarantee long-term effectiveness and implementation through the ongoing exchange of experience and knowledge.

Project costs are usually financed through Public grant funding for demonstration as well as contributions from participating companies.

Lessons learnt

Operational objectives, support to business and the idea of regional environmental protection are equally important for the future diversification of the economy and a guarantee of future jobs. ECOPROFIT® consequently contains a social component. The economic, ecological and social value of ECOPROFIT® is aligned with the three dimensions of sustainable development.

An important factor in the success of ECOPROFIT® is the special way local authorities, businesses and consultants work together through common training programmes and networking. This strong co-operation enables an effective flow of information, promoting information sharingsetting up synergies & promoting market intelligence.

The network of ECOPROFIT® project participants is comprised of more than 1000 companies in an increasing number of cities and regions worldwide (www.cpc.at ). It enables members to benefit from sharing experiences and international market opportunities.

Further deployment

As a reaction to the wishes of the project participants, special programmes have been developed including one focused on tourism and another for small businesses with less than 10 employees. Programme managers will continue to develop the contents according to the wishes of the stakeholders.

The potential for deployment of the concept to other areas has been successfully demonstrated in Russia so the estimated maturity level of the program is GML 9.

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