Definition of industrial ecosystems

Industrial ecosystems

Industrial ecosystems encompass all players operating in a value chain: from the smallest start-ups to the largest companies from academia to research service providers to suppliers. The notion of ecosystems captures the complex set of interlinkages and interdependencies among sectors and firms spreading across countries in the Single Market. They allow for a bottom-up approach that takes into account the specificities of business models, the high percentage of vulnerable players (SMEs and micro enterprises) and interdependencies.

The ecosystem approach is an analytical tool, not a legal definition or fixed nomenclature. It has the potential to be basis for stimulating the recovery process, and creating trust and ownership among Member States. It factors in risk and resilience, different dynamics, complexities and interlinkages, and encompasses all relevant players. Ecosystems all evolve against the same background: an integrated Single Market, with research, engineering, production, assembly and service activities that can spread across different Member States. When parts of an ecosystem are disrupted in one region or country, the whole ecosystem is affected.

The Commission has identified 14 industrial ecosystems with a marked pan-European nature. Their composition is very heterogeneous in terms of sectoral composition, size and scope. In view of their importance, this webpage presents key actors per ecosystem and informs about initiatives supporting them. The objective is to foster the actors’ interaction and help policy makers and investors identify the most relevant players within each ecosystem in the preparation of the national and regional recovery plans and investment projects.

The notion of industrial ecosystem: Background

The focus on industrial ecosystems was announced in the Commission Communication on “A new industrial strategy for Europe” (10 March 2020)

Following the mandate by the European Council in April 2020, the Commission services carried out a preliminary assessment of the liquidity and investment needs of the EU27 to cope with the COVID-19 crisis. During this preparatory work to inform the Recovery Plan, the Commission services preliminarily identified 14 industrial ecosystems: Tourism, Mobility-Transport-Automotive, Aerospace & Defence, Construction, Agri-food, Energy Intensive Industries, Textile, Creative & Cultural Industries, Digital, Renewable Energy, Electronics, Retail, Proximity & Social Economy, and Health.

The liquidity and investment needs of these ecosystems in the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic was published on 27 May in the Staff Working Document accompanying the Communication “Europe's moment: Repair and Prepare for the Next Generation”.