The Mid-West and South-West Regional Authorities along with University of Limerick have launched a new EU funding initiative linking them with partners in Finland, Italy, Poland, Romania and the United Kingdom. FRESH (Forwarding Regional Environmental Sustainable Hierarchies), approved for funding under Interreg IVC late last year, is set to re-examine the role of sustainability approaches in securing regional growth.
At the core of the project is the concept of Sustainable Value Creation (SVC) based development whereby short-term economic and long-term environmental imperatives are reconciled beyond mere levels of legal compliance. This concern with resource productivity is closely linked to the key themes of the EU Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP) where competitiveness is allied to sustainability in supporting the eco-design of innovative products and services. Through a set of actions to drive demand and improve regional market conditions for green technologies, FRESH aims to create an overall transferrable model to strengthen SVC - thereby significantly renewing regional sustainable and economic development approaches and strategies. This should also embed eco-design within regional innovation systems.
Over the course of the project which runs until the end of 2012, each partner region will test and implement a series of tools for dealing with both competitiveness and sustainability. The Mid-West will concentrate their efforts on Sustainable Urban Living, and how dissemination of good practice in adopting eco-design approaches and developing and using eco-innovation technologies can influence planning and energy policies to achieve sustainable and competitive outcomes in particular settings. The South-West’s focused theme will centre on developing SVC in bio-energy applications in the tourism sector.
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