ECO-INNOVATION is the process of innovation that allows the economy and ecology to work synergistically to achieve greater competitiveness of the enterprise.
ECO-EFFICIENCY allows the company to introduce environmental improvement processes in a market-oriented perspective and, more generally, allows the environment to be considered as one of the factors of production and to manage it within the company’s innovation strategies.
The tools available to qualify production or company brand in environmental terms are numerous and diversified, as shown in Figure 1 below.
The diagram in Figure 1 groups together the most common tools and indicates their function, considering the two main strands of eco-innovation: the process one and the product/service one.
These two strands often intersect, with the possibility of easily switching between them or developing business strategies that integrate the two pathways.
- PROCESS environmental innovation tends to give a general qualification of the “label”;
- The environmental innovation of PRODUCT/ SERVICE aims to obtain competitive advantages directly on the market.
In both strands, the route remains characterised by three main phases:
– analysis and assessment of environmental data
FIG. 1 – Instruments Of The Integrate Product Policies
Gli strumenti caratteristici di ogni fase hanno avuto uno sviluppo tale da portare, in alcuni casi, alla definizione di standard.
A livello internazionale la serie di più diffusa applicazione è ISO 14001 sui Sistemi di Gestione Ambientale, anche per le analogie con la serie ISO 9000 sulla qualità.
FIG. 2 – ISO Standards for Environmental management
The tools characteristic of each phase have developed to such an extent that, in some cases, they have led to the definition of standards.
Internationally, the most widespread series of applications is ISO 14001 on Environmental Management Systems, also due to the similarities with the ISO 9000 series on quality.
CLEANER TECHNOLOGIES E BEST AVAILABLE TECHNIQUES (BAT)
They adopt measures to prevent pollution and involve the use of Best Available Techniques (BAT).
BAT covers all aspects of an industry’s operation that affect the environment, in particular air, water, soil, waste disposal, energy efficiency, resource consumption and accident prevention.
The application of BAT in each compartment can help to optimise consumption and minimise the amount of waste and emissions produced.
The results of the exchange of information are published as BREF – Bat REFerence documents, produced for each sector examined.
The BREF contains general information on the sector, processes and techniques used.
- optimising the consumption of raw materials, water and energy requirements (with a reduction in associated costs)
- minimising the quantity and hazardousness of the waste and emissions produced
- an increase in revenues from the product sold
- improving product quality
- improved efficiency and reduced machining times
The adoption of BAT can also entail significant costs and the implementation of even radical changes.