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The transformation to a low-emission and resource-conserving economy is a particularly heavy challenge for industry. Industry accounts for a significant share of energy and resource consumption. At the same time, and unlike in energy supply, it is not enough to simply switch from fossil to renewable energy sources. What is needed are new technological solutions, new materials, value chains, and business models.

Increasingly, there are alternatives that promise success. Approaches include material efficiency and circular economy, the use of bio-based raw materials, but also the electrification of processes or the use of green hydrogen. However, few approaches have been tested. They are at the beginning of the learning curve and therefore, in most cases, still more expensive than conventional alternatives. Simultaneously, they are associated with greater risks. Therefore, instruments are needed to bring promising technologies to market maturity and thus advance the industry's transformation to climate neutrality. To this end, Ecologic Institute is developing innovative solutions.

Ecologic Institute's recommendations focus on economic instruments. Emissions trading schemes as efficient and effective instruments are important drivers for the transformation of industry. However, their suitability for promoting innovation is limited: Additional instruments such as carbon contracts for difference are needed to bring technologies to the market. Public investment in infrastructure or public innovation funds can also be supporting pillars of a successful transformation strategy. At the same time, changes in firm strategies can take place, for example by promoting bio-based business models along the value chain. With detailed analyses, Ecologic Institute shows how such instruments and strategies can look like.

Ecologic Institute's staff research the theoretical foundations of economic instruments and their application in industrial policy. To this end, the Ecologic Institute's industry team produces scientifically sound studies, develops pragmatic policy recommendations, organizes stakeholder dialogues, and presents the study results in various event formats. The team works closely with a wide range of stakeholders from science, industry, and politics at national and European level.


Related Topics



International Development

Nature-based Solutions and Green Infrastructure

Resource Conservation + Circular Economy



Gerardo Anzaldúa
Senior Fellow









Benjamin Görlach
Head, Economics and Policy Assessment
Senior Fellow

Environmental Law – Ecologic Legal


Coastal + Marine





Arne Riedel, LLM
Coordinator Ecologic Legal
Coordinator Arctic
Senior Fellow
Selected Projects for Industry
The European commission strives for carbon-neutrality in Europe by 2050. In order to achieve this goal, the energy intensive industries will have to reduce their emissions substantially. On behalf of the European Parliament, CE Delft and Ecologic Institute will... Read more
In December 2020, European leaders agreed to tighten the 2030 climate target. Emissions are now to be at least 55% lower by 2030 than in 1990. By the middle of the century, the EU economy is to be climate neutral. The necessary transformation also affects the energy... Read more

© Heng kong Chen |

Companies in countries with strong climate protection efforts often perceive these efforts as a competitive disadvantage. The risk, that companies lose market share due to asymmetric climate protection efforts or that new investments in ambitious countries decrease is... Read more
| fotolia © Patrick Hermans
Ecologic Institute contributed key components of a comprehensive review of the EU Emissions Trading Scheme (EU ETS) as part of a consortium of institutions who specialise in environmental policy. The review informs a stakeholder process for improving the EU ETS that is... Read more

Support to the Review of the EU Emissions Trading System


© Guillaume Le Bloas | Fotolia

To fulfill its commitments under the Paris Agreement, the European Union plans to increase the ambition of its 2030 greenhouse gas emissions reduction target. As a basis for this debate, in December 2020, the EU Commission published the communication "Stepping up Europe... Read more
Fotolia© Hartmut Rauhut
Business resource efficiency is seen by the EU as a key to a sustainable future of a competitive European economy. Increasing resource efficiency of business aids to reduce waste, decrease the pressure on the environment, increase the competitiveness of European markets... Read more

A Framework for Member States to Support Business in Improving its Resource Efficiency

BIOBRIDGES's overall aim is to ensure the marketability of sustainable bio-based products by establishing primary partnerships between bio-based industries, brand owners and consumer representatives in cooperation with other stakeholders like local communities, local... Read more

Improving the Market Access of Sustainable Bio-based Products (BIOBRIDGES)

| © Laura Griestop
Focus on: Environmental Impact (LCA), EU Commercial and Financial Success Stories and Top 20 Novel Products in Development The overall objective of this project is to provide a range of new information and analyses that will enable policy-makers, the scientific... Read more

Support to Research and Innovation Policy for Bio-based Products (BIO-SPRI)

All projects on Industry
Selected Publications for Industry
For energy-intensive industries, the transformation towards a climate-neutral form of production is a particular challenge, not only because of their large carbon footprints, but also because they are embedded in value chains that are still predominantly fossil-based.... Read more

de Bruyn et al., S, Energy-intensive industries – Challenges and opportunities in energy transition,study for the committee on Industry, Research and Energy (ITRE), Policy Department for Economic, Scientific and Quality of Life Policies, European Parliament, Luxembourg, 2020.

Climate Change 43|2019
With the adoption of the Paris Agreement, the world of climate policy has changed, with important implications for the debate on carbon leakage. This report looks at how the risk of carbon leakage changes for different constellations of climate policy targets, how the... Read more

Görlach, Benjamin and Elizabeth Zelljadt (2019): Carbon Leakage Risks in the Post-Paris World. UBA Climate Change 43/2019. Dessau-Roßlau: Umweltbundesamt

Publication's cover

© Agora Energiewende

The EU has raised its climate target for 2030 to at least -55 % and is now debating how to reform its climate policy architecture so that it can reach it. In a new study, Agora Energiewende and Ecologic Institute sketch a "Fit for 55" package that can ensure both... Read more

Agora Energiewende and Ecologic Institute (2021): A "Fit for 55" package based on environmental integrity and solidarity: Designing an EU climate policy architecture for ETS and effort sharing to deliver 55% lower GHG emissions by 2030, Berlin: Agora Energiewende.

Studie für die GD Umwelt
In order to support businesses in improving their resource efficiency, Member States use a variety of approaches, ranging from voluntary to regulatory measures. This study assesses the scope of application of ten relevant measures and provides good practice cases across... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers, M., Hinzmann, M., Watkins, E., ten Brink, P., Milios, L. and Soleille, S. (2015). A framework for Member States to support business in improving its resource efficiency. Final Report for DG Environment, November 2015.

In order to support businesses in improving their resource efficiency, EU Member States use a variety of policy measures. This infographic illustrates the scope of application of ten selected policy measures taken by 28 EU countries. It shows the major differences in... Read more

Hirschnitz-Garbers M. und Welk Vargová B. (2015): Good Practice Example and Scope of Application of the ten Support Measures across EU-28. Infographic published in: Hirschnitz-Garbers, M., Hinzmann, M., Watkins, E., ten Brink, P., Milios, L. and Soleille, S. (2015). A framework for Member States to support business in improving its resource efficiency. Final Report for DG Environment, page 59 f.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of the economy and a key player to steer our economy towards a more circular model. However, their small size means that they face unique challenges on the path to closing loops and improving resource efficiency... Read more

Vasileios Rizos, Arno Behrens, Wytze van der Gaast, Erwin Hofman, Anastasia Ioannou, Terri Kafyeke, Alexandros Flamos, Roberto Rinaldi, Sotiris Papadelis, Martin Hirschnitz-Garbers and Corrado Topi, "Implementation of Circular Economy Business Models by Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises (SMEs): Barriers and Enablers", Sustainability 2016, 8(11), 1212, doi:10.3390/su8111212

This brochure includes a set of infographics presenting the top 20 innovative bio-based products in Europe. Through an assessment of the active marketplace, EU-based development, innovation degree and market potential, the top 20 most innovative BBPs holding the... Read more

Ecologic Institute 2018: Top Emerging Bio-based Products, their Properties and Industrial Applications. Berlin.

Bio-based industries aim to convert biological inputs, residue and wastes into greener everyday products. The industry is small compared to more traditional ones and it is a nascent industry undergoing rapid developments. Developing bio-based products demand... Read more

Ecologic Institute 2018: Bio-based Products – from idea to market. 15 EU success stories. Berlin.

All publications on Industry