energy storage, innovative solutions to improve the energy efficiency of buildings (new insulation materials and/or energy sen- sors, digital solutions concerning securing, modelling, simulating and monitoring the energy consumption and energy perfor- mance of buildings, as well as their ability to recover biomass), renewable sources of energy, logistics and environmentally sustain- able construction. • Agri-foodchains of the futureandinno- vative management of the environment: sustainable and circular agri-food systems, nutritional and functional ingredients, industrial biotechnologies (white biotechnologies), soil health and the water cycle, biodiversity, green andblue infrastructure. A new generation of Walloon companies

hasalreadyemergedin all of these sectors,such as smart cities (SmartNodes), sustainable con- struction (Stabilame, Isohemp), biotechnologies (KitoZyme), waste processing (Ecosteryl), food- manufacturing systems (Biowanze, Exelio) and the production of energy. As a result, they are helping the region and its international eco- nomic partners to achieve their Agenda 2030 goals, as part of theUnited Nations’ Sustainable DevelopmentGoals.


ANEWREGIONALSTRATEGY TO BOOST INNOVATION In addition to Walloon gems like John Cockerill, other industrieshaveundergoneatransforma- tion. Sincethebeginningofthe2000s,Wallonia has comprehensively revised its economic- development policy and its smart specialisa- tion strategy (S3), based on an approach that integrates innovationandsustainabledevelop- ment by encouraging what has always been the region’s strength: the connections between the industrial, academic and logistics sectors,whichcanencourageits revivalandare keyto attracting foreign investors to theregion. These Strategic Innovation Sectors com-

prise a series of economic activities that help to strengthen the local economy and tackle global challenges,whilealsopositioningWalloniaandits commercial partnersasinternational leaders in:

• Circular materials: eco-design, industrial symbiosis, encouraging the reuse and repair of these materials within the economy, recycling innovation, innovativeapproachto logistics, etc. • Innovations for enhanced health: bio- technologies, medical equipment, eHealth, mHealth (mobile health), the silver economy, preventativehealthcare, etc. • Innovationsforagileandsafedesignand productionmethods: Industry 4.0, advanced manufacturing technologies (including 3D printing), digital simulations, Internet of Things, artificial intelligence, etc. • Sustainable energysystemsandhous- ing: design of more energy-efficient systems,

PRIORITISING INNOVATIONANDR&D To achieve its goals concerning innovation and stimulating local and international entrepre- neurial activity, Wallonia and its economic part- nerscanrelyononeoftherichestacademicand economic networks in the world. The region boasts no fewer than nine universities, 130 col- leges, 300 research centres, six science parks and more than 11,000 researchers who can contribute to this sustainable revolution. Walloon companies’ R&D costs represented 2.7% of the region’s GDP in 2017, placing the Walloon private sector’s R&D investments well above theEUaverage(2.2%).Furthermore,78% of theR&Dcosts inWallonia comefromthe pri- vatesector,whichisyetagainhigherthantheEU average(67%). Better still, foreign investors knowthat they

benefit from some of the most attractive tax incentives in Europe, as well as regional and European financial aid that is completely tax- free; insomeareas, this can be up to 30%of the investment for large companies and 35% for SMEs. With the European Green Deal, these opportunities willcontinue to grow…

WORLDWIDEWALLONIA Wallonia isthegatewayto500millionEuropean consumers and offers direct access to more than200industrial parksandanetwork ofeco- nomic stakeholders and industrial hubs. When it comes to the environment, the GreenWin and TWEED clusters are the benchmark. Dedicated to ‘green’ economic sectors, tech- nologies and energy production, they encour- ageandsupport the creation of activities witha high level of added value and ensure the dis- semination ofknowledge that is likely to stimu- late sustainable growth. Walloon and foreign companies receive

more support frompublic authorities and can fully capitalise on these opportunities to con-


GreenWin is the Walloon competitiveness cluster dedicated to collaborative innovation projects concerning sectors of chemistry, innovative construction materials and processes, the environment and the greentech. The cluster is an incubator for industrial innovation projects, including collaboratives projects. It brings together 200 different economic players and researchers to develop and implement technological and non- technological innovations. GreenWin aims to contribute to the development of a prosperous, sustainable and responsible society in Wallonia. To give concrete expression to this eco- responsibility, it is the only cluster in Belgium to impose and implement a life cycle analysis in the design, implementation and monitoring of the innovations deployed by the projects it supports. The cluster helps Walloon and international companies to create added value, thus allowing them to increase job prospects by creating and maintaining both direct and indirect jobs. It relies on solid and tangible partnerships with clusters in other regions of the world and facilitates reciprocal benchmarking with the aim of optimizing returns on investment and pooling resources.

tinue to excel. Given the size of the region and the favourable environment there, companies are able to export and innovate swiftly, which is essential for adapting and persevering in an ever-changing world. ‘Internationalisation, digitalisation, innovation and human resources are our strengths when it comes to establishing a resilient ‘green’ industry in Wallonia. They make it possible to create con- sidered and sustainable growth,’ explains Dominique Tourneur, COO of Business Affairs for the Wallonia Export & Investment Agency. ‘The region is suited to foreign investors look- ing to buy, or to develop their “Green econ- omy” activities.’ Thanks to the region’s smart specialisation

strategy,commercial players arenowanintegral part of Wallonia’s dynamic and lively expertise when it comes to tackling the economic chal- lenges posed by sustainable development. Diversity and the number of companies show howtherelationshipbetweentheeconomyand sustainability has already demonstrated its full potential inWallonia. ‘In the end, those who benefit most from

the green and sustainable development of Wallonia’s economy are our private and public commercial partners all around the world, who now have sustainable solutions for the social and environmentalwell-being of their clientèle,’ concludesDominiqueTourneur.

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