The European Innovation Partnership (EIP) on raw materials – and related Commission’s COM(2012)82 – was launched in 2012 by DG GROWTH in order to promote both technological and non-technological innovation throughout the value chain of raw materials, involving stakeholders for relevant upstream and downstream sectors. Non-energy, non-agricultural raw materials used for industrial purposes are included in the EIP’s scope, including metals, industrial minerals and construction materials, natural rubber and wood-based materials.
The EIP also aims to reduce the EU’s import dependency on materials that are critical to the EU’s industry. This is aimed at by providing Europe with flexibility and alternatives in the supply for important raw materials, whilst taking into account the importance of mitigating the negative environmental impacts of some materials during their life cycles. The overarching challenge is to help Europe become a world leader in exploration, extraction, processing, recycling and substitution of raw materials by 2020.
The overarching objective of the EIP on Raw Materials is to contribute to the 2020 objectives of the EC’s Communication on Industrial Policy COM(2010)614 – increasing the share of industry to 20% of GDP – and the objectives of the flagship initiative ‘Innovation Union COM(2010)546’ and ‘Resource Efficient Europe’ COM(2011)21, by ensuring the sustainable supply of raw materials to the European economy whilst increasing benefits for society as a whole.
The action plan of the EIP is called Strategic Implementation Plan (SIP). The EIP-SIP is composed of a comprehensive set of Research and Innovation actions under three pillars: technology, non-technology and international cooperation. Key actions in the EIP-SIP include:
- Reducing import dependency.
- Promoting production and exports by improving supply conditions from EU.
- Diversifying raw materials sourcing.
- Improving resource efficiency (including recycling).
- Finding alternative raw materials.
- Putting Europe at the forefront in raw materials sectors, mitigating the related negative environmental, social and health impacts.