The years 2016 and 2017 represent a breakthrough in the Portuguese circular economy landscape. The Portuguese Government launched several instruments to support the transition to the circular economy, namely open calls supported by the Fundo Ambiental and the Plano de Ação para a Economia Circular em Portugal 2017-2020 (Action Plan for the Circular Economy in Portugal 2014-2020). These, along with a comprehensive communication strategy, have helped spur a wide interest for the circular economy in companies, public administration and civil society. However, despite the strong commitment to the circular economy, the explicit support to eco-innovation is still lacking.
In 2017, Portugal obtained a EcoI Index of 104, in relation to the EU average (=100), continuing its upward trend from previous years (96 in 2016, 92 in 2015 and 2014, 81 in 2013, 88 in 2012) and is currently ranked 10th among EU Member-states. This is also the first year that Portugal is above the EU-28 average score, i.e. has a EcoI Index above 100.
Decomposing the EcoI Index, Portugal shows good performance in public related indicators (e.g., Government budget appropriations or outlays on environmental and energy related R&D), but still lags in private sector involvement (e.g., Total value of green early stage investment). The figures shown in the country report support the findings that in Portugal there is strong public support towards eco-innovation in Portugal, but it is not matched yet by the private sector.
Portugal needs to continue to implement strong public policies to support eco-innovation and circular economy, tackling some of the identified barriers and improving private-sector involvement. It is particularly important to use public and publicly co-funded venture capital to improve the initial stages and the scale-up of eco-innovations and create more instruments within the tax system to nudge consumer behavior and public procurement.