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FRESH is an Interreg IV C project promoting eco innovation through sustainable construction in eight European regions.

FRESH is part of the on going, not new but still challenging, discussion of how to best internalise socio /environmental costs into economic competitiveness. Such costs were seen in the past, e.g. end of 1970s to the very beginning of 1990s, as heavy externalities to businesses. The overall development philosophy that "sees" socio /environmental sustainability going hand in hand with economic competitiveness -and the integration of the three ensuring  the quality of our every day lives, the strong & sustained policy, sectoral and research support  provided within the EU towards the same purpose of integrated development, find their most fruitful expression maybe in the concept of eco-innovation and associated solutions. It can be said, epigrammatically, that this is the starting point of FRESH.

The strategy of the project has been and still is, to try to make operational and concrete the starting principles. All partner regions are aware of eco innovation as a crucial development tool. But for many of us, sector-specific eco innovation  approaches needed both clarifying & strengthening. Our key issue has been, therefore, to support regional policy makers answer such questions as: "how do we integrate eco innovation into our policies? what types of competences do we need? which types of development actions & projects should we prioritise?". A very important part of the FRESH good practice exchange has been dedicated to addressing such questions. 


The aim of the FRESH project is to strengthen Sustainable Value Creation (SVC) – based development at regional level. 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. Eco-innovation and eco-design are powerful tools 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 explicitly link them to their innovation strategies.

FRESH builds on the revised EU sustainable development strategy, the EU lead market initiative, and the Environmental Technologies Action Plan (ETAP); it also benefits from the extensive related discussion at international level.


FRESH project closed on 30.4.2013. The FRESH  project site has not been updated after 30.4.2015.  Please follow links to Kainuun Etu Oy, www.kainuunetu.fi if there is needed information about the project. 


Full project name     

Forwarding Regional EnvironmentalHierarchies

Type of initiative           

Regional initiative project


1:Innovation and the knowledge economy


Innovation, research and technology development


1.1.2010 - 30.4.2013


2 138 224€

FRESH partnership



Kainuun Etu Oy, regional development company (FI)


Joint Authority of Kainuu Region (FI)


Regional Council of Päijät Häme  (FI)


Lappeenranta University of Technology, Lahti Centre/School of Innovation (FI)


MidWest Regional Authority (IE)


SouthWest Regional Authority  (IE)


University of Limerick, in Ireland (IE)


Veneto Region  (IT)


University of Padova, in Italy  (IT)


London Thames Gateway Development Corporation (UK)


West RDA (RO)

Lubelskie Voivodeship (PL)


Fresh partners and parter regionsshow mapshow list

Interreg IV C: The Interregional Cooperation Programme INTERREG IVC, financed by the European Union’s Regional Development Fund, helps Regions of Europe work together to share experience and good practice in the areas of innovation, the knowledge economy, the environment and risk prevention. EUR 302 million is available for project funding but, more than that, a wealth of knowledge and potential solutions are also on hand for regional policy-makers.

European Regional Development FundMade Possible by the INTERREG IVC Programme