PINTEC Sustainability: 40.6% of innovative enterprises introduced positive environmental-impact innovations

July 03, 2020 10h00 AM | Last Updated: July 09, 2020 02h23 PM

Between 2015 and 2017, 40.6% of the 39,329 innovative companies introduced product and/or process changes that caused positive environmental impacts. This is what the IBGE's 2017 Sustainability and Environmental Innovation module (PINTEC) reveals. The recycling of waste, waste water or materials for sale and/or reuse was the most observed category of environmental impact, mentioned by 57.9% of eco-innovative enterprises. On the other hand, only 17.2% of these companies reported the replacement of energy from fossil fuels with renewable energy sources as an impact.s.

Industry was the activity with the highest percentage of eco-innovative enterprises (43.1%), followed by Electricity and gas (32.8%) and Selected services (21.8%). Among the factors that contributed to the companies' decision to introduce innovations that would generate environmental benefits, the highlights were improving their reputation (59.4%) and adapting to the codes of good environmental practices in their sector (54.3% ). The availability of government support, subsidies or other incentives for environmental innovation, in turn, ranked as the least motivating factor (11.2%).

The survey also investigated actions related to the publication of sustainability reports and the production of renewable energy by innovative and non-innovative enterprises between 2015 and 2017. Only 4.1% of the total companies published a sustainability report, and for innovative enterprises, this percentage is only slightly higher (5.6%).

The production of renewable energy was even less reported by enterprises: 2.6% in total and 4.2% among innovative companies. However, among the enternprises in the Electricity and Gas sector the scenario was quite different, with 53.7% of the total companies and 61.2% of the innovative ones having produced renewable energy in the period.

Industry is the activity with more environmental-impact innovations

Of the 39,329 innovative enterprises, 15,975 reported having had some type of environmental impact due to the introduction of product and/or process innovations, which represents 40.6%. The recycling of waste, waste water or materials for sale and/or reuse was the most pointed category of environmental impact (57.9%), followed by the reduction of soil, water, noise or air pollution (51.3%). On the other hand, only 17.2% of those enterprises reported the replacement of energy from fossil fuels with renewable energy sources.

Industry was the activity with the highest percentage of eco-innovative companies (43.1%). In this activity, as well as for the total of companies with environmental innovations, the most pointed impacts were the recycling of waste, waste water or materials (60.6%) and the reduction of soil, water, noise or air pollution (53.1%). The least mentioned was the replacement of fossil fuel energy with renewable energy (17.0%).

In the Electricity an gas (32.8%) and Selected services (21.8%), the proportion of eco-innovative enterprises is relatively smaller, since their environmental impacts are not as evident as in the Industry.

In Electricity and gas companies, the replacement of fossil fuel energy with renewable energy was the main impact observed (71.3%). In selected Service companies (in general, technology companies whose activities are not directly related to production processes), the reduction of soil, water, noise or air pollution was the most reported impact (24.2%).
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Morover, the larger the size, the greater the proportion of eco-innovative enterprises: in the range with 500 and more employed persons, 55.9% of the innovative companies had implemented environmental innovations, a percentage that decreases to 39.7% in companies with 10 to 29 employed persons.

Better image is the main reason for eco-innovations

Between 2015 and 2017, more than half of the total of eco-innovative enterprises decided to implement innovations both to improve their reputation (59.4%) and to follow the codes of best environmental practices in their sector (54.3%). Economic and institutional factors were also pointed out as motivators by a considerable number of companies: the high costs of energy, water or raw materials and the need to comply with existing environmental standards or taxes on contamination were pointed out, respectively, by 49, 5% and 46.1% of innovative companies. The availability of government support, subsidies or other incentives for environmental innovation was the least mentioned motivating factor (11.2%).

In Industry, the most and least mentioned factors were the same as for the total of enterprises: improving reputation, informed by 60.6% of eco-innovative companies, and availability of government support, subsidies or other incentives, informed by only 11.5%.

In the Electricity and gas enterprises, the market demand for environmental innovation was the most reported factor (82.1%), and the improvement in reputation and voluntary actions were also relevant for 81.7% and 73.7%, respectively. On the other hand, 21.9% of enterprises innovated in order to meet the necessary requirements for the elegibility for public contracts, which is the least frequent motivating factor.

In the Selected services enterprises, the codes of good environmental practices in their sector of activity were the most reported factors (62.2%). As in industrial companies, the availability of government support, subsidies or other incentives was the least mentioned motivating factor (5.0%).

Just 4,2% of innovative enterprises produced some kind of renewable energy

The production of some type of renewable energy was reported only by 2.6% of the total enterprises and 4.2% of the innovative ones. Industrial companies were the ones that produced relatively less renewable energy, with 2.2% of the total enterprises and 3.9% of innovative ones.

In Services, although also low, the percentage was slightly higher than in Industry companies: 3.7% of total enterprises and 4.2% of innovative ones.

On the other hand, the scenario in the electricity and gas companies was quite different, since 53.7% of the total enterprises and 61.2% of the innovative ones produced renewable energy between 2015 and 2017.

By size, large companies, with 500 or more employed persons, were the ones that produced the most renewable energy, with 18.8% of the total and 19.6% of innovative enterprises. In small companies, with 10 to 29 employed persons, these percentages were 2.1% and 3.2%, respectively.

Electricity and gas enterprises publish more sustainability reports

The survey also showed that only 4.1% of total enterprises and 5.6% of innovative ones published a sustainability report between 2015 and 2017. In Industry, these percentages were 4.3% and 5.9%, respectively. In Services, this proportion is even lower, with 1.0% of total companies and 1.6% of the innovative ones.

Electricity and gas enterprises had much higher percentages: 51.2% of the total companies and 50.0% of innovative companies published sustainability reports.

Moreover, the percentage of companies that releases annual sustainability reports is directly proportional to their size, starting from 3.0% for the total and 3.1% for the innovative ones, among small companies with 10 to 29 employed persons, up to 25.0% of the total and 31.0% of innovative companies, among enterprises with 500 or more employed persons.