workshop 'Achieving an environmental decoupling through eco-innovation' held in Maastricht workshop 'Achieving an environmental decoupling through eco-innovation' held in Maastricht

The goal of task 2.2 of the project is to evaluate methods for measuring and monitoring eco-innovation and the green economy. The outputs of this task feed into a manual for the measurement of eco-innovations and guidelines for green growth indicator systems (deliverable D 2.5) and into a green economy scoreboard for Task 3.3. In this preliminary report for task 2.2, we discuss the main issues for measurement and analysis, using previous studies as examples, and propose a methodology for indicator identification for use in Deliverable 2.5 and task 3.3. The final report for Task 2.2 will include a more extensive evaluation of current best practice in measuring eco-innovation.

Currently, there are multiple examples of possible indicators of eco-innovation and the green economy, such as the European Union’s Eco-innovation scoreboard (ES), the ASEM Eco-innovation index (ASEI), the OECD’s green growth (GGr) indicators, and the collection of indicators provided by Climate Transparency (CT). Our main argument is that many of these indicator collections (or scoreboards) are inadequate because they fail to identify progress towards environmental sustainability, which is ostensibly their main goal. An exception is the CT report because it focuses on the goal of absolute reductions in greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions.

Secondary issues with existing scoreboards include a lack of good policy indicators, an over-emphasis on a narrow definition of innovation, and inadequate outcome measures that often rely on resource efficiency instead of absolute reductions in pollutants.

The goal of tasks 2.2 and Deliverable 2.5 is therefore to identify and collect three types of indicators: environmental, eco-innovation, and eco-policy indicators. The environmental indicators provide the baseline for measuring the effects (with suitable time lags) of eco-innovation activities and eco-policies. The environmental indicators need to be measured in absolute terms, such as total national GHG emissions in a target year and the percentage change in these emissions over a defined time period. Absolute indicators are necessary to track progress in achieving sustainable (or acceptable) emission levels.

The indicator system will bring out the gap in terms of environmentally sustainability and in so doing indicate the eco-innovation challenge and the need for policy action. The indicator system will show that there is need for more policy action which should base its eco-innovation policy on environmental goals and take into account rebound effects and be considered with creating a green economy based on human needs satisfaction (in a material and immaterial sense) rather than with achieving green growth.

In deliverable 2.5 we will outline the 3 module indicator system in terms of key indicators for use. We will also offer ideas for data gathering data through existing surveys under businesses and households as well as ideas for new data collecting activities. 

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EU flagThis project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement No. 641974.