Can economic growth and protecting the environment go hand in hand? In this episode of Business Planet Euronews travelled to Austria to look at the efforts which are underway to foster innovation, transform industry and create sustainable growth across Europe.
"Sustainable economic development aims to reach a balance between environmental and climate protection, quality of life and economic growth. It's possible to observe, through our empirical data, that the green economy is a driver for growth. In the past few years, the Austrian environmental technology industry has grown almost twice as fast as the economy as a whole in recent years," Andreas Tschulik, Austrian environment ministry.
The European Commission is investing in EU industry for a modern, clean and fair economy. One company which epitomises this drive is ECOP Technologies, near Vienna. The company manufactures rotation heat pumps for industrial use. Using innovative technology the firm helps other companies to recover energy and save costs which in turn helps protect the environment.
"With our rotation heat pump we reach in specific applications return on investments within three to seven years and compared to burning gas, but we save an enormous amount of CO2 and this is the reason why we get supported by the EU through the horizon 2020 program," says ECOP's CEO, Bernhard Adler.
ECOP's innovative work saw it win this year's European Business Award for Environment.
"Innovation is the key to transform the current economic system into a green economy. Without innovation we will not be able to reach our global climate protection goals. Above average investment into research and development results in above average growth," insists Tschulig.
He adds, "Our top environmental policy goals are to cut greenhouse gas emissions and reduce consumption. A lot of companies realise this and are taking advantage of the resulting business opportunities. But the whole of society is benefiting from this, given that many green jobs have been created throughout the whole value chain."
Top EU innovation priorities
- Encouraging innovation and investment to create new jobs and boost growth has always been a priority for the EU.
- Growth cannot come at the cost of the environment. We need sustainability.
- Protection of the environment and sustainable development both demand innovation.
- Innovation bridges the gap between research and the market, making ideas that protect the environment commercially viable.
- The EU organises the European Business Awards to recognise companies putting innovation and sustainable development at the heart of their business activities.
- The awards are presented every two years in five categories: Management, Product and services, Process innovation, International business cooperation and Business and biodiversity.
- The 2018 Awards were presented on 14 November in Vienna, Austria.