Project Details

Title: Forwarding Regional Environmental Sustainable Hierarchies
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Innovation, research and technology development

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2010 - 30th Apr 2013


Total budget: €2,010,312.95
ERDF contribution: €1,529,642.21

Lead partner

Kainuun Etu ltd
Lönnrotinkatu 1
87100, Kajaani

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Ninetta Chaniotou
      Phone: 358 8 6178119
      Fax: 358 8 6178120

Project summary

The overall objective of the FRESH project is to strengthen development based on sustainable value creation at regional level and to contribute to the implementation of the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP-COM 38/2004). FRESH is contributing to the 2nd priority area of ETAP, 'driving demand and improving market conditions'.

Today we are aware that to address sustainable development effectively, we are required to go beyond legal compliance and harm minimization;we need to focus on sustainable value creation. Sustainable value creation occurs when economic growth is secured through sustainable actions. Sustainable value creation thus reconciles long term with short term growth. It is therefore the key to sustainable development. In practice, sustainable value creation is linked to resource productivity and societal values relevant to sustainable development. Resource productivity is linked to innovative solutions. ETAP, through eco-innovation and eco-design, is a powerful

tool for accessing sustainable value creation (SVC). Eco design is important because it deals with both technological and social aspects (functionality and differentiation) of products / services.

To strengthen their SVC-based development,regions need to update their sustainable & economic development approaches and enhance their ETAP applications.

Main sub-objectives of the project are:

- to benefit from partners' good practices and jointly formulate a transferable model for sustainable value creation; based on this model, to update the regional framework plans and innovation strategies of the partner-regions

- to embed the components of SVC (eco design and eco-innovation) into the regional innovation system; ensure tailored and comprehensive eco-design and eco-innovation applications of sustainable value creation

- to ensure policy coherence between the different levels of regional governance for sustainable value creation

- to conceptually advance development based on SVC

The project partnership is based on a pre-existing network of 3 partner regions which expanded to 8 regions and 12 partners (FI,IE,IT,PL,RO,UK).The criteria for partners joining the project were (i)existence of good practices in sustainable development and (ii)readiness and competence to improve strategies in the direction of sustainable value creation .


Good practice exchange is the heart of the project.It concentrates on the regional strategies dealing with sustainable value creation;11 good practices are discussed.

Key results: strengthened sustainable value creation at regional level; improved regional frameworks for sustainable value creation; improved instruments for eco-design and eco-innovation; enhanced regional implementation of ETAP;conceptual advancement of development based on sustainable value creation.

Main outputs:transferable model of regional SVC-based development integrating the 11GP;updated partner regions' framework programming and reinforced RIS; publications.

Project achievements

The core theme of FRESH is sustainable value creation(SVC) at regional level and its overriding objective is policy update, i.e. the improvement of the regional development plan & the regional innovation strategies of the partner areas, to successfully address competitive sustainable development. FRESH identified 42 good practices (GP), out of which 15 GPs address SVC, and they were retained for GP transfer and / or policy impact. Out of the 15 SVC GPs, 3 are regional policy tools & 12 are sectorial GPs. The sectorial GPs deal with sustainable construction, the prioritised sector by the FRESH partners. To identify GP:s & understand respective regional needs, partner contributions & regional performances were benchmarked against state of the art EC tools & policies (ETAP, LMI, CPR) and global market & research trends in sustainable construction were taken into account. The GP exchange and analysis, supported systematically by the three university partners (PP4 LUT, PP7 UL, PP9 UP),

led to benchmarking of regional practices against such global, mainstream trends, and linking them with regional policies. For example, buildig regulations & practices in the partner regions were reviewed in respect to the Construction Products Regulation (CPR) and improvement recommendations were made for each partner. In some cases regions were able to benefit from the improvement recommendations, in other cases, it was more difficult. It proved especially challenging, in some cases, to accept that sustainable construction includes but is not limited to energy savings in buildings. We realised how important is to understand the specifics of sector integration in sustainable development, and bridge sectorial to regional policy tools. We applied these insights to the policy impact achieved in Kainuu FI(procurement regulation) and Päijät Häme FI(eco innovation component annexed to the regional innovation strategy), whereby sector integration tools such as adapted CSH standard

and adoption of the TC/CEN 350 are explicitly promoted (both are FRESH GPs). Policy impact was achieved by one more region, Lubelskie, where the updated development plan includes sustainable development principles and evidence based land use planning based on the adaptation of the Regional Planning Guidelines (FRESH GP). The GPI (one more FRESH GP) was tested in three regions (Kainuu FI, Veneto IT and West Region RO), i.e. four FRESH regions (including the GPI source region Päijät Häme FI) have invested in adopting synthetic sustainable development indicators. However, the GPI needs to be interpreted for different contexts. The CSH was tested in the MidWest Region IE and proved how much it is needed to be applied there.

FRESH has taught us also important lessons: (1) First of all, it is clear that GPs, in relation to the importing regions, are forms of external knowledge capital. Therefore, the success of a GP transfer involves, besides the “objective” quality of the GP,

also the potential of the importing region to appreciate (absorptiveness) and "access" the GP in depth (quality of interaction between GP exporting & importing partners). (2) Institutional proximities between exporting & importing regions, are very important. We noted that regional policy makers, sharing also similar regional policy tools (innovation strategies in this case), could benefit from the GP transfer / policy update much more readily than other partners. (3) Extensive organisational knowlege is part of the policy impact process since, often. a policy update involves more than one departments of the partner organizations. (4) The biggest challenges in the good practice transfer have been institutional restrictions & resistance to the uptake of explorative knowledge. (5) In depth understanding of sustainable construction, as a good example of sector integration in sustainable development, needs a lot of strengthening.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Kainuun Etu ltd, Kajaani FINLAND Itä-Suomi 358 8 6178119
Joint Authority of Kainuu Region, Kajaani FINLAND Itä-Suomi 358 8 61554211
Regional Council of Päijät Häme, Lahti FINLAND Etelä-Suomi 358 3 8719410
Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti Unit, Lahti FINLAND Etelä-Suomi 358 3 876 910
Mid-West Regional Authority, Nenagh, Co. Tipperary IRELAND Southern and Eastern 353 67 33197
South West Regional Authority, Ballincollig IRELAND Southern and Eastern 353214876877
University of Limerick, Limerick IRELAND Southern and Eastern 353 61 202887
Veneto Region - Industry and Handicraft Department, Venice ITALY Veneto 39041279/2516-2436-2437
University of Padova - Department of Industrial Engineering, Padova ITALY Veneto 39 049 8275538 - +39 049 8275539
London Thames Gateway Development Corporation, London UNITED KINGDOM Inner London 44 20 75174730
Opolskie Centre for Economy Development, OPOLE POLAND Opolskie 48 77 40 33 642
Regional Development Agency – West Region, Timisoara ROMANIA Vest 40 256 491981
Lubelskie Voivodeship, Lublin POLAND Lubelskie +48 81 44 16 738
Regional Council of Kainuu, Kajaani FINLAND Itä-Suomi +358 8 61554211


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