Innovations across Europe lead way towards sustainable future

News Published 07 Dec 2016 Last modified 17 Feb 2017
1 min read
Photo: © Solar Impulse
Achieving the European Union’s long-term objective of shifting to a sustainable, low-carbon future will be a massive undertaking. It will require fundamental changes in how we live, produce goods and consume. A new joint report by the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the European Environment Information and Observation Network (Eionet) explores the innovations and new knowledge that can catalyse and guide transitions. It further investigates how the EEA and Eionet can help support such change.

The report ‘Sustainability transitions: Now for the long term’ is a first exploration of the role the EEA and Eionet can play in meeting the emerging data, information and knowledge to support sustainability transitions. Drawing on evidence collected from across the network, the report uses case studies to explain key concepts and to illustrate the activities already under way at local levels.

Innovations have a central role in driving transitional change but no single innovation will be sufficient. For example, the electric engine surely has a role in transforming the European mobility system but making the system truly sustainable is likely to require numerous complementary changes, encompassing areas such as car-sharing, public transport use, spatial planning, and renewable energy.

The case studies presented in the report come from across Europe and from multiple sectors. They include stories about food waste, urban gardening, international supply chains and solar powered air travel. Together, they showcase how innovative technologies and practices emerge and the types of measures that can help upscale local initiatives to have a wider impact on economic, social and technological systems.

The Eionet is a unique partnership between the Agency and its member and cooperating countries, involving more than 1000 experts and 350 national institutions across Europe. The report was created as part of the Eionet Improvement and Innovation Initiative (E3I), established to explore how the network can contribute to meeting knowledge needs for future environmental policy.


Geographic coverage

Temporal coverage