Policy for a climate neutral, circular industry
Achieving a climate neutral and circular economy requires the full mobilisation of industry. It takes 25 years – a generation – to transform an industrial sector and all its value chains.
To be ready in 2050, we are acting now.
The EU’s industry has started the shift but
- still accounts for 20% of the EU’s greenhouse gas emissions
- only 12% of the materials it uses come from recycling
Industrial Strategy and the European Green Deal
The industrial strategy addresses the twin challenges of the green and digital transformations.
It highlights the importance of research and innovation in providing the technological foundation to transform and strengthen industrial value chains, helping to turn sustainability and digital challenges into business opportunities. Common industrial technology roadmaps are a key tool to achieve this objective.
In order to boost sustainable investments, the EU established a sustainable finance policy and a dedicated taxonomy regulation, as part of the European Green Deal. These actions aim to attract private green finance to facilitate financing of large-scale demonstrators and deployment.
Investment in research and development
Public and private investment in research and innovation is key to ensure that Europe’s industries maintain their global technological leadership.
The 2020 EU Industrial R&D Investment Scoreboard lists the main private research and development investors in the world and in the EU. The 2020 edition of the Scoreboard comprises the 2500 companies investing the largest sums in research and development in the world in 2019/20.
It shows that global corporate research and development continued to increase considerably, following the trend observed over the past 9 years, despite a slowdown in sales growth and a strong decline in operating profits.
Industry and the new European Research Area
The EU supports research and development for industrial technologies both at EU and national level, which will help make our society and economy more sustainable, digital and resilient.
The communication on a new European Research Area published in September 2020, maps out a new EU approach on industrial innovation following-up on the publication of the industrial strategy in March 2020.
EU policy initiatives, such as the upcoming ERA Common Industrial Technology Roadmaps, will create more synergies between research and innovation and industry, for a faster deployment of new industrial technologies.
Common industrial technology roadmaps will rally partners behind such a European vision and allow them to build upon the cutting-edge research and innovation actions contained in Horizon Europe, the EU's research and innovation funding programme. These actions include partnerships with industry.
The first 2 roadmaps cover low-carbon technologies for energy-intensive industries and circular industrial technologies. Both roadmaps will be finalised in 2022.
European Skills Agenda
Businesses need workers with the skills required to master the green and digital transitions, and people need to be able to get the right education and training to thrive in life.
The European Skills Agenda puts the industrial strategy into practice by pursuing a shift in upskilling (improving existing skills) and reskilling (training in new skills) of the industrial workforce.
Part of this is testing the feasibility of a new industry-academia initiative focusing on companies’ needs. This initiative aims to give university students real-world business experience by asking multinational teams to solve specific challenges within a company's research and development department. First results are expected by mid-2021.
Findings and recommendations
The future of European manufacturing?
R&I evidence on EU development of low-carbon industrial technologies