Environmental Global Market
Insights and Opportunities
Overview: The environment is one of most important issues of this decade in Greece. The Greek market for environmental equipment and services is expected to far outstrip local capacity in the future. Although, according to European Union (E.U.) statistics, Greece has one of the poorest records on tackling environmental problems in the E.U., the Greek Government’s efforts to improve environmental quality are impressive.
According to the Greek Ministry of Environment, the Greek environmental market is estimated at approximately $2.2 billion, 1.5% of GDP. Investments in environmental infrastructure through E.U. and national programs have been the centerpieces of environmental progress in Greece. These investments have been used for the construction of numerous wastewater and solid waste treatment facilities, as well as the building of new recycling plants, composting facilities and treatment plants for industrial and hazardous waste materials.
The implementation of E.U. environmental legislation in national laws has also created the appropriate institutional basis for successfully facing Greece’s environmental protection challenges. In early January 2007, the Minister of Environment announced that the Ministry’s investment plan for the upgrading, modernization and protection of environmental projects, such as waste management, recycling, water treatment, purification systems, and desalination, for the period 2007 – 2013 is $6.3 billion, and will be implemented through the operational program "Environment and Sustainable Development."
Greece, following E.U. directives and tendencies, is committed to introducing the necessary legislative framework for promoting the use of “clean” or “green” technologies that are friendlier to the environment. Renewable Energy Sources will play a major role in the continuously alternating geopolitical map of energy. The White Paper COM (97) 599/26 -11-97 sets the Communal strategy for Renewable Energy Sources. The E.U. promotes the balanced use of all fuels in order to reduce harmful emissions, mainly GHG gases and CO2, while maintaining sustainable development.
In an effort for Greece to catch up with its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol, the Minister of Environment recently signed a decision approving Greece's National Allocation Plan for Emission Trading in 2008-2012. The minister said that this will bring about a 16.6% reduction in greenhouse gas emissions for 152 industrial enterprises. The industrial complexes included in the emissions trading plan include 33 power plants, 24 other furnace-type installations, four refineries, a smelting plant, five iron and steel plants, eight cement plants, 18 lime production plants, one glass factory, 44 ceramics factories and 14 paper factories.
The total CO2 emission rights for the period 2008-2012 have been set to 345 million tons of carbon dioxide, all of which are allocated free of charge. About 4.8% of the total emission rights allocated, amounting to 16 million tons of carbon dioxide, have been set aside for new plants during 2008-2012. As these efforts continue, the Greek market for environmental equipment and services will have excellent growth potential over the next several years.
Municipalities or other government entities control over 98% of Greek waste collection, waste and water management, recycling and treatment facilities. Consequently, providing environmental engineering services in the Greek market means contracting with Greek government authorities at various levels. In order to do so successfully, foreign firms usually align themselves with Greek engineering companies in partnerships and consortia. These partnerships make U.S. business interests eligible for E.U. funding.
U.S. engineering and consulting firms that specialize in environmental projects enjoy a very good reputation for superior project planning and delivery. An unofficial estimate of the U.S. share of this market is around 10%, not including equipment supplied by European subsidiaries of U.S. firms. European companies - mainly British, German and French - dominate around 65% of the import market. They are favored because of the proximity and knowledge of the Greek market versus U.S. companies that may find it expensive and time consuming to enter this new market. Despite the strong competition from European companies, U.S. share may increase over the next few years, as many decision-makers in search of environmental solutions visit the U.S. and various sites in Europe where U.S. companies operate landfills and recycling sites utilizing modern technology.
Best Products/Services: The areas that hold the greatest potential for U.S. firms to export technology and equipment, and to serve as consultants in the Greek environmental market are: Innovative technologies for the development and operation of waste management and recycling facilities; Innovative technologies for treatment and disposal of hazardous and medical waste; New technologies to create valuable end-products from any form of waste; Biomass facilities; Composting equipment; Water and waste water treatment technologies, aeration and purification systems; Air and sea pollution products; Clean coal Plants; “Green building” materials; Emission monitoring equipment; Emission reduction technologies; Photovoltaic plants; Technologies that convert energy from olive waste (Greece is one of the major olive producers in the world); and Consulting and engineering services for the development and operation of waste, recycling and water management.
Opportunities: As Greece is trying to catch up with its commitments under the Kyoto Protocol and implement E.U. environmental legislation in national laws, numerous opportunities are becoming available for U.S. suppliers of innovative environmental technologies, and U.S. engineering and consulting firms specializing in the development of waste, recycling and water treatment facilities. U.S. equipment, products, know-how and services are known for their outstanding quality and enjoy an excellent reputation.