The ASEM SMEs Eco-Innovation Center(ASEIC) was established in 2011 to promote cooperation of green growth in Europe and Asia, with a particular emphasis on enhancing eco-innovation of small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) in both regions. Agreeing on the importance of SMEs as main engines of innovation and growth, Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) member countries joined together to establish ASEIC as an international platform for spreading eco-innovation principles and practices among SMEs and assisting them in harnessing the new business opportunities that arise out of such principles and practices.
Any form of innovation that reduces environmental impact
Any important element of sustainable development
Eco-innovation is defined by the European Commission as “any form of innovation aiming at significant and demonstrable progress towards the goal of sustainable development, through reducing impacts on the environment or achieving a more efficient and responsible use of resources including both intended and unintended environmental effects from innovation as well as not only environmental technology but processes, systems and services.”
Likewise, the Eco-Innovation Observatory(EIO), a three-year initiative financed by the European Commission, defines eco-innovation as : “any innovation that reduces the use of natural resources and decreases the release of harmful substances across the whole life-cycle.” EIO’s definition went beyond the traditional notion of innovating to reduce negative environmental effects; it also encompasses the ways and methods of minimizing the use of natural resources in the design, production, use, re-use and recycling of products and materials.
According to the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), what makes eco-innovation distinct from any other type of innovation is that it “results in the mitigation of environmental impact, whether the effect is intended or not. Furthermore, its scope may transcend the traditional structural limitations of the innovating organization, thus involving broader social arrangements that could spur socio-cultural and institutional changes.”
Therefore, ASEIC would like to define eco-innovation as “an idea to achieve environmental improvements, to enhance competitiveness of enterprises and to provide new business opportunities by means of using low cost and non-technology-intensive methods.”