HTML Document What is eco-innovation?

Release date 20/06/2007
Contributor Cornel Nitu

Eco-innovation is the commercial application of knowledge to elicit direct or indirect ecological improvements.



(Eco) Ecosystem:

a dynamic complex of plant, animal and micro-organism communities and their non-living environment interacting as a functional unit. Source: The Convention on Biological Diversity.


An innovation is a new or significantly improved product (good or service) introduced to the market or the introduction within an enterprise of a new or significantly improved process. Innovations are based on the results of new technological developments, new combinations of existing technology or the utilisation of other knowledge acquired by the enterprise. Innovations may be developed by the innovating enterprise or by another enterprise; however, purely selling innovations wholly produced and developed by other enterprises is not included as an innovation activity. Innovations should be new to the enterprise concerned; for product innovations they do not necessarily have to be new to the market and for process innovations the enterprise does not necessarily have to be the first to have introduced the process.

A product innovation is a product (good or service), which is either new or significantly improved with respect to its fundamental characteristics, technical specifications, incorporated software or other immaterial components, intended uses, or user friendliness. Changes of a solely aesthetic nature are not included.

A process innovation includes new and significantly improved production technology, methods of supplying services and of delivering products. The outcome (of the process) should be significant with respect to the level of output, quality of products or costs of production and distribution. Purely organisational or managerial changes are not included.”


Source: EUROSTAT, “Innovation in the new Member States and Candidate Countries”, Statistics in focus, Science and Technology 13/2004, European Communities, Brussels, November 2004, p. 7.


any activity related to or connected with buying, selling, or bartering


materials, components, products, services, management systems, concepts, processes, practices, policies, strategies, designs, methods, programmes


information acquired though researching, testing, understanding and learning. Or: "The act or state of knowing; clear perception of fact, truth, or duty; certain apprehension; familiar cognizance; cognition." From: Webster's Revised Unabridged Dictionary (1913)


an immediate change to the physical, chemical or biological components of an ecosystem (no emission of CO2)


change that will occur over time (education).


ecosystem increased biodiversity, stability, resilience to human or natural disturbances