The UN Environment Programme (UNEP) has launched a publication, titled ‘The Business Case for Eco-Innovation,’ [pdf, 1.88MB] which is part of UNEP’s Eco-innovation Project. According to the publication, companies are facing growing market and regulatory pressures in the face of declining resources and environmental degradation, extreme weather events are impacting on business profitability, and global water demand is expected to exceed supply by 40% within 20 years.
Eco-innovation drives long-term value creation and increased competitiveness, extending beyond the company itself to the value chain, and requires incorporating sustainability throughout all business operations, based on life-cycle thinking, and solutions tailored to market needs.
The Business Case for Eco-Innovation shows that eco-innovative companies are growing at an average annual rate of 15%, and collaborating with partners to develop joint solutions to increase shared gains and sustainability impact. In addition, eco-innovative goods and services are increasing in global and regional markets due to consumer demand, regulatory pressure and sustainability imperatives.
Eco-innovation is particularly relevant to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which contribute as much as 70% of GDP and two-thirds of formal employment in developing and emerging economies. UNEP is implementing the Eco-innovation Project to develop local and national technical capacities to strengthen sustainable practices in SMEs. UNEP is also developing an Eco-innovation Manual with sector specific supplements and a practical guideline on Mainstreaming Sustainable Consumption and Production Policy for Eco-innovation.