EU working towards eco-innovation for a sustainable future

In January 2004 the Commission launched an action plan to stimulate the development and use of environmental technologies, the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP).

The action plan aims at removing financial, economic and institutional barriers to the development of environmentally friendy technologies. The Commission sees it as a bridge between the EU’s sustainable development strategy and the Lisbon agenda, when the EU famously set itself the goal of becoming “the most dynamic and competitive knowledge-based economy in the world” by 2010.

Interestingly enough, one of the senior people behind ETAP is Jakub Wejchert, a visionary and innovation-focused civil servant who used to be in charge of the EU’s Disappearing Computer project, an initiative to see how information technology can be diffused into everyday objects and settings, and how this can lead to new ways of supporting and enhancing people’s lives that go above and beyond what is possible with the computer today. Wejchert was also involved with Design for Future Needs, a research project that discovered how design methods can help policy makers look into the future to meet people’s needs.

The project website reveals a strong technology focus, but given Wejchert’s background I am curious to see how it will incorporate more people-centred and user-driven approaches to innovation.

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