The Eco-Innovation Scoreboard 2017


The eco-innovation index is a composite index developed by the Eco-Innovation Observatory in order to evaluate the eco-innovation performance across all EU Member States. The index is based on 16 indicators which are aggregated into five components:

(1) Eco-innovation inputs comprising investments (financial or human resources), which aim at triggering eco-innovation activities,

(2) Eco-innovation activities, illustrating to what extent companies in a specific country are active in eco-innovation,

(3) Eco-innovation outputs, quantifying the outputs of eco-innovation activities in terms of patents, academic literature and media contributions,

(4) Resource efficiency outcomes, putting eco-innovation performance in the context of a country’s resource (material, energy, water) efficiency and greenhouse gaz emissions intensity,

(5) Socio-economic outcomes, illustrating to what extent eco-innovation performance generates positive outcomes for social aspects (employment) and economic aspects (turnover, exports).

In the report, countries were clustered into three groups:

Eco-innovation leaders: Sweden, Finland, Germany, Luxembourg, Denmark and Slovenia; with scores significantly higher than the EU average (i.e. a score of >115).

Average eco-innovation performers: Austria, Italy, Spain, Portugal, United Kingdom, France, Ireland, Netherlands and Malta, with scores around the EU average (i.e. between 85 and 115):

Countries catching up in eco-innovation: Belgium (top of the group), Czech Republic, Lithuania, Greece, Croatia, Slovakia, Latvia, Romania, Hungary, Estonia, Poland, Cyprus, Bulgaria, with around 85% or less performance compared to the EU average (i.e. scores <85).

With a total score of 83 (EU28=100, higher scores representing better performances), Belgium is ranked 16th out of the 28 EU countries and lost one position in comparison with the previous report.

The Belgian performances in eco-innovation inputs, outputs and resource efficiency outcomes are close to the EU average. Belgium scores however rather low for the eco-innovation activities, in part due to non-participation in the eco-innovation component of the Community Innovation Survey from 2014, which feeds to two out of three indicators for eco-innovation activities. The only indicator that contributed to the sub-index was the number of companies with ISO 14001 certificate. Belgium is ranked 25th out of 28 EU countries, which means that Belgian companies are less active in adopting environmental management practices, which is often associated with eco-innovative activities in manufacturing, processing, services and management.

With an average score of 75 (improved from 65 since in the previous report), Belgium still lags behind other EU countries regarding socio-economic outcomes in 2017 coming in at the 21st position, and relatively far from the EU’s average score of 100. The country is ranked 20th for exports of products from eco-industries, and 21st for employment in eco-industries.