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The Vienna EcoBusinessPlan
Clean Profits for Environment and Enterprise
Best Practice UN-HABITAT 1998, Best Practice UN-HABITAT 2002

Lead Idea

Laws and standards are not the only possible ways to promote environmental protection among businesses. Financial advantages also await companies who voluntary reengineer their plants to outperform the statutory quality requirements.

The Vienna EcoBusinessPlan brings together local authorities, interest groups and companies in an effort to implement proactive, integrative environmental protection in a profitable manner. The local authorities offer grants for consulting and training to businesses willing to implement environmental protection programmes. The investment costs are either funded by the companies or covered by other supplementary subsidy campaigns. The consultants are vetted by the local authorities who guarantee the quality of their services. The consultants set up networks and engage to keep up with the latest research and to develop new methods. The reengineered businesses receive standardised, internationally acknowledged certificates, which show consumers that they are truly worthy of confidence.

This cooperative effort intends to bring about a “win-win” situation, winning advantages for all participants. And its success has been confirmed: in the years 1998 to 2003, environmental protection generated savings of nearly US$ 10 billion, and three-fourths of all investments were recouped within three years. The Vienna EcoBusinessPlan supports urban environmental protection while stabilising the economy and safeguard employment. It is highly motivating for all participants.

Starting Position

As initial step towards establishing the programme, the City of Vienna conducted a detailed analysis of the City's industrial structures and used this data to design five different consulting modules. In the process, the City was supported by the Vienna Chamber of Commerce and the Federal Ministry of Environment. The City put together a team of mentors which entertains a lively exchange of experiences with international experts. The mentors were selected through a competitive process.


The following procedure is generally followed: the consultants point out the company's potential areas for improvement and the companies choose the consulting module that is most suitable for their needs. The company looks for suitable consultants (several consultants are available for each module) and pays a contribution as consulting fee. An independent commission (i.e. a scientific institute) analyses and supervises the progress of the businesses. Periodic inspections of the progress achieved continue even after reengineering has been completed. Excellent businesses are given awards which are presented annually.


The number of participating businesses was larger than expected. The first year showed that it was necessary to recruit additional consultants. The acquired know-how was systematised through external evaluations, periodic publications, a detailed, openly accessible database and the Internet site HYPERLINK ""

Six months after the project was launched the first results were available and analysed by a study conducted in parallel. The procedures have now become established and the level of market penetration is remarkable.

The 420 companies that have been awarded to date have successfully prevented the generation of enormous amounts of waste: 7 million kilometres of transports, 57 million kWh of power, 145,000 tons of rubbish, and 1,000 tons of toxic waste. In total, the operations have saved nearly US$ 10 billion in operating costs; over 7,000 environmental projects have already been recorded in the network.

Transfer Potential

Since 2004, four Austrian federal provinces (Lower Austria, Salzburg, Styria, and Vorarlberg), have been working in cooperation with the Vienna EcoBusinessPlan to build up the database jointly.

The Vienna EcoBusinessPlan can be transferred in whole or in part. The Hungarian city of Györ has already adopted it. Athens and the fourth-largest city in India (Chennai) also would like to base their eco-business plan on the Viennese model.

⇒  The Vienna EcoBusinessPlan in the UN database



Vienna Business Agency
The Vienna Business Agency offers an international investment service. Through personal contact and a network of subsidies the main objective of the VBA is to ensure efficient help in all questions of business promotion in Vienna. The site provides EU- and international business service and news about Viennese companies.
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Europaforum Wien
Europaforum Wien is a private institute founded in 1995 to support the City of Vienna regarding the EU integration process, also dealing with the international challenge for the best market location. The site contains project descriptions and publications.
International Chamber of Commerce
ICC is the world business organisation. ICC also provides essential services, foremost among them the ICC International Court of Arbitration, the world's leading arbitral institution. ICC was granted consultative status with the UN and its specialised agencies. On this site specialists provide information on broad issues of trade and investment policy as well as on vital technical and sectoral subjects. These include financial services, information technologies, telecommunications, marketing ethics, the environment, transportation, competition law and intellectual property, amongst others.

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