By Stella Damstra, ClimateLaunchpad*
The European Green Deal is a set of policy initiatives all targeted at transforming the 27-country bloc to a climate neutral economy by 2050. At the same time, wellbeing and prosperity need to be guaranteed through cleaner air and water, improved health, and a boost for the natural world. On its way to 2050, the EU will reduce greenhouse gas emissions 50–55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels.
The plan is ambitious and will affect nearly every aspect of the EU’s economy. Each existing law will be reviewed on its climate merits, and new legislation will be introduced on the circular economy, building renovation, biodiversity, farming, and innovation. The main policy areas are clean energy, sustainable industry, building & renovation, farm to fork, eliminating pollution, sustainable mobility, and biodiversity.
Support for Innovative Green Potential
One of the pillars of the European Green Deal is to stimulate innovation-based competitiveness. The significant potential in global markets for low-emission technologies, sustainable products and services offers the opportunity to expand sustainable and job-intensive economic activity based on inclusive growth. The European Green Deal accelerates the transition.
The approach is directed toward market parties. It will, for example, support workers to develop skills and competences for the job market of the future and help entrepreneurs and incubators to create new economic opportunities. It will boost investments in clean energy. The overall goal is to stimulate economic innovation by supporting startups, scale-ups, and SMEs.
Incentives Could Lead to €1 Trillion in Investments
To build up competitiveness, policymakers and businesses need to tap the dormant innovative potential in Europe. Part of the plan are better funding for innovation and the further development of the existing innovation ecosystem. Public and private investment will be re-allocated, away from fossil fuels and towards clean energy and innovative solutions.
That is why the complete overhaul of EU laws is accompanied by a massive new funding scheme. The first trench of Green Deal funding from the European Innovation Council awarded over €307 million to 64 game-changing green start-ups and SME’s contributing to the objectives of the European Green Deal Strategy and the Recovery Plan for Europe. Winning proposals range from innovative solutions for the automotive, aerospace, and maritime sectors to advanced materials or Internet of Things technologies. All selected companies also benefit from acceleration services to support growth and scale.
But that’s not all: the current €3.3 billion pilot phase is due to be fully-fledged in 2021 as part of the new Horizon Europe program. Requirements for blended finance (where grants need to be met by private equity) will help unlock private funds. This could lead to up to €1 trillion in investments.
How to Benefit and Access Funding
Needless to say, the European Green Deal should be on the radar of every cleantech entrepreneur. The EU Commission is reinforcing Green Deal related research and innovation with a dedicated call for proposals under the current Horizon 2020 programme. The application process is explained here.
About the Author: Stella Damstra is a freelance copywriter with editorial experience for a number of publications. She has a soft spot for all things green and predominantly writes for clients in cleantech and sustainability. Since 2016 she has been part of the communications team at ClimateLaunchpad, the global green business ideas competition. When Stella is not having her way with words you can find her in her vegetable garden. Or on LinkedIn.
About ClimateLaunchpad: ClimateLaunchpad is the world’s largest green business ideas competition. Innovation and invention can lead the way to a clean future. That’s why we create a stage for the people who have great cleantech ideas and help them develop those ideas into startups making global impact. ClimateLaunchpad is part of the Entrepreneurship offerings of Climate-KIC. Fixing climate change, one start-up at a time. See our previous coverage of the ClimateLaunchpad events here.