Institutions and companies championing sustainability offer hope amidst global challenges. One such example is Slovenia’s InnoRenew Centre of Excellence (InnoRenew COE) which embodies the power of regenerative approaches in research and industry. We hear more about InnoRenew and its initiatives from our partner Maja Zalaznik below.

 

It is always a good feeling to discover institutions or companies, that, from their inception, foster awareness, culture, and responsibility towards sustainable challenges. One such institution is the InnoRenew Centre of Excellence, established in Slovenia. Imagine the possibilities if wise researchers, leaders, and excellent partners, utilizing existing potential and knowledge with a long-term perspective, collaborate to advance research, industry, and societal progress, all while respecting regenerative approaches towards all resources, including people.

Co-funded by the EU and supported by various EU funds (such as Horizon and Teaming), as well as Slovenian funds, and mentored by the Fraunhofer Institute, InnoRenew Centre of Excellence has enabled many successful stories. These stories illustrate how science, knowledge development, and implementation, together with partners from industry, institutions, local communities, and beyond, can have a significant impact on understanding regenerative approaches across different research, development, and industry sectors. They primarily conduct sustainability projects relating to the use of wood. For example, their WoDeFi project engineered innovative wood products made from Thermo-hydro-mechanical densified wood with enhanced physical, mechanical and fire performance. They are also involved in projects relating to promoting green tax policies for enhanced use of wood and other natural materials from renewable sources for a faster climate neutrality transition. These cornerstone initiatives and more can highlight the importance of regenerative practices, how to access suitable funding, and how much can be achieved with EU support.

But there is something more – when you visit the InnoRenew premises, you can sense that this regenerative thinking was there from day one. From sustainable buildings to their usage of materials, and of the green surrounding being for the project purposes, researchers come from around the world bringing different cultures, understandings, scientific or industry backgrounds, and a variety of capacities and ideas for future developments that respect the environment.

 

“But what I admired most was their calm, innovative, and highly motivated energy, which you can feel on every step. They are proud to be a part of InnoRenew and Slovenia are in turn proud of them.”

 

As one of our primary resources, wood has an especially important role in our history and industry development.  As such, we not only support such developments but also see them as a way of creating new added value for different industries and existing and future generations. At the same time, we need to find a way to share this interesting knowledge and achievements – from developed processes to potentially new products or services, being embedded with the concepts of sustainability. I am certain there are many such interesting excellent cases around Europe; we need to ensure that they last and can then influence others to be brave enough to step forward with their ideas and applications for EU support. In this way, the EU can step by step help Europe become a leader in many existing or even new industry segments and become more regenerative itself. If such good practice cases would multiply we would be much stronger to develop and accept our regenerative future.

 

InnoRenew’s innovative spirit and commitment to sustainability make it a source of pride for Slovenia and a global model for sustainable development. As we celebrate such success stories, let’s ensure their longevity and amplify their impact, paving the way for a regenerative future.

 

Author: Maja Zalaznik, University of Ljubljana