The Basque Ecodesign Centre driving the green economy
The Basque Government's Minister for the Environment, Land Planning, Agriculture and Fisheries, Pilar Unzalu, today unveiled in Bilbao the Ideas Laboratory of the Basque Ecodesign Centre, an initiative aimed at driving innovative ideas in the design of cutting-edge environmental products and services in order to detect new business opportunities in ecodesign and ecoinnovation.
The Ideas Laboratory of the Basque Ecodesign Center will be a place open both to the Centre's member company and to those making up the Basque production fabric and Basque society in general.
The Ideas Laboratory is part of the Basque Ecodesign Center (BEdC), a company that was set up in November 2011 with seven founding members, Euskaltel, Gamesa, Iberdrola, Vicinay Cadenas, Fagor, Ormazabal, and CIE Automotive, along with Ihobe, the Basque Government's Environmental Management Public Corporation.
The centre has worked intensively and now has 30 projects up and running. Sixteen are ecodesign projects that the seven member companies are developing in their own business areas and 14 are collaborative among the members of the Basque Ecodesign Center. The implementation of those projects has resulted in 45 SMEs embracing the field of ecodesign, a methodology that they have integrated into their production process. The target is to have 80 driven companies by the end of 2012.
In the words of Minister Pilar Unzalu, "the Basque Ecodesign Center has an important raison d'être. The main international entities advocate changing the economic growth model, as will be discussed at the Rio+20 Summit starting next week, where the green economy is going to play a key role. And that is precisely where the Sustainable Development Strategy of the Basque Country, EcoEuskadi 2020 comes into play. And the Basque Ecodesign Center is a further tool serving that strategy".
Pilar Unzalu, which referred to the Basque Ecodesign Center as a "good example of private-public partnership", explained that 1,190,000 euros had been earmarked as the budget for the Centre. "Work has also begun on accessing new funding challenges that may result in up to a further 1 million euros being achieved through programmes such as the ecoinnovation or LIFE Programme of the European Union," stressed the Minister.
The Basque Ecodesign Center has established with other similar entities, including Sweden's Life Cycle Analysis Center (CPM) de Suecia; or the Swedish Environdec (International EPD System), the leading Product Environmental Declaration certification body worldwide.
Located at Alameda de Urquijo 36, next to the offices of Ihobe, the Environmental Management Public Corporation, the Ideas Laboratory has become a benchmark of the Basque Ecodesign Center and its activity.
This initiative will drive the emergence of innovative ideas in the design of cutting-edge environmental services and products that meet the challenges faced by the members of the centre and the companies of the industrial fabric of the Basque Country in the current economic situation. It will operate as a technology monitor and competitive surveillance space, capable of detecting trends associated to the use of environmentally friendly technologies in order to incorporate state-of-art advances in eco-design worldwide into Basque companies.
It will hold an annual public ideas contest in the field ecodesign open to any individual or company. The Ideas Laboratory will then analyse their applicability and practical feasibility, thus supporting and driving the entrepreneurial attitude of Basque society as a whole.
The Ideas Laboratory will be backed and advised by an Expert Committee made up of leading figures from around the world in the field of ecodesign. The committee will be coordinated by Joan Rieradevall, a lecturer at the Autonomous University of Barcelona (UAB) and will be made up of specialists from different entities.