The development of environmental technologies can create a win-win situation by producing economic benefits as well as helping to protect, restore and improve our environment, de-coupling environmental impacts from economic growth. However, the Commission points out that a number of obstacles are preventing the realisation of their full potential.

The European environment industry currently has a turnover of €180 billion per year, has created over half a million jobs in the last five years, and has contributed to sustainable development around the world. However, environmental technologies are held back by a specific additional barrier – the fact that market prices do not reflect environmental impacts, says the European Commission. New solutions are not being developed and existing ones are not adopted because they will not pay for themselves in the current market.

The Commission’s new action plan will involve:

  • a survey of promising technologies that could address the main environmental problems;
  • the identification of market and institutional barriers to the development of these technologies; and
  • the identification of a targeted package of measures to address these problems.

“Developing new and innovative environmental technologies is essential to achieving sustainable development,” said Margot Wallström. “That is why we will develop an action plan, aimed at promoting clean technologies that are good for growth and good for environment.”

“We will work together with stakeholders from industry, the research community, NGOs and governments, both within the EU and the candidate countries,” added Wallström. “Together, we can identify the barriers holding back investment in environmental technology, and measures to address them. Supporting innovation, development and use of environmental technologies will provide a boost to our economy and our environment.”

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