Thematic Green Industry Innovation 2018-06-13T09:19:50+00:00

COMBINING SUSTAINABILITY AND PROFIT IN BULGARIA

Sonya Ivanova has worked at the Bulgarian furniture production and design company Valiyan Ltd since 2005. The company is one of over 200 companies supported by Norway Grants in the 2009-2014 funding period. In the past years, it has developed more environmentally friendly technologies and processes in the transition towards green industry.
As an employee with Valiyan Ltd, Sonya has seen how the Bulgarian ‘Green Industry Innovation’ programme introduced waste-free production in their facility. In addition to making the production cheaper and more efficient, the company has reduced its energy consumption by 30%, CO2 emissions by 15% and waste production by 420 tonnes per year. Becoming more environmentally friendly has increased the company’s production capacity, and they have been able to hire 15 new employees. Valiyan Ltd’s focus on the environment has also paid off financially – its annual turnover in 2016 was twice that of 2015.
Read more stories from the projects we have funded in the green industry innovation sector.

WHAT IS THE ISSUE?

Economic growth and resource use are closely linked with environmental and climate change-related challenges. Increased use of resources, a basic part of economic development, is not sustainable over time.
Our consumption of resources, whether produced domestically or imported from abroad, leads to more waste, produces pollutants, and consumes energy – all these affect our environment. Green innovation focuses on an economic growth which preserves natural resources rather than depleting them. One of the main ways to achieve this is to reuse and recycle waste instead of depositing it in landfills, and extract new resources.
The EU’s primary tool for developing a resource efficient, low-carbon economy is the circular economy model. Circular economy seeks to replace the standard linear economic model of resource-to-waste with a circular model of resource-to-waste-to-resource.
The goal of Europe’s circular economy is not only to help meet targets for sustainable development, such as reduced CO2 emissions. It also aims to increase productivity in businesses and industries, create new markets for green processes and technologies, foster entrepreneurship, and create more jobs. According to OECD, goods and services generated by eco-industries already represent around 2.5 % of the EU GDP.
The EU’s Eco-Innovation Scoreboard, which measures innovation performance across the EU, shows that most of the countries in the Norway Grants’ ‘Green Industry Innovation’ programme portfolio score below the EU-28 average on eco-innovation performance. The resource- and energy-intensive economies in several of the beneficiary states pose challenges, but more importantly opportunities, for green innovation.

WHAT HAVE WE ACHIEVED?

With €138 million in funding, the Norway Grants innovation programmes have provided valuable support to small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in eight countries.
These businesses play an important role in their local and regional communities through the service and employment they provide. Nearly half of the 253 projects were implemented in collaboration with Norwegian partners, increasing the businesses’ skills and international experience.
In addition to job creation, the development of new green technologies and community outreach activities, the funding has had direct benefits for the environment, such as through increased recycling of plastics and other waste material, and reduced air emissions.
Read more about what the Norway Grants will support in the field of business development, innovation and SMEs in the 2014-2021 funding period.