PIUS-Beratung and PIUS-Invest are initiatives by HMWEVL in Hessen for reducing CO2 emissions and funding production-integrated environmental protection (PIUS).
SMEs in production, commerce and the service sector are supported in their efforts to cut their resource consumption and reduce emissions of harmful substances. They may take advantage of the funded PIUS-Beratung consultation programme which can be subsidised up to a max. of 600 euros (650 euros in ERDF priority areas) per day, whereby a max. of 50 per cent of the consultant’s fee is reimbursed. Funding can total up to 12,000 euros (13,000 euros in ERDF priority areas) over a period of 3 years.
The PIUS-Invest programme subsidises investment projects by SMEs which increase resource efficiency and reduce CO2 emissions through process and/or organisational changes. In so doing, they must exceed statutory minimum standards. Sponsorship takes the form of a grant which can amount to up to 30 per cent of the eligible investment project costs, to a max. of 500,000 euros. Before a grant can be allocated, an expert must assess the degree of innovation and the CO2 saving to be achieved. Participation in the PIUS consultation programme can be of an advantage but is not essential. The Innovationskredit Hessen can be used to supplement the above measures. It strengthens innovative companies by providing low-interest subsidised loans, thereby relieving the on-lending banks of 70 percent of their default risk. A combination of these offers makes 100% financing possible.

Resources needed

Both programmes are financed by the ERDF with approximately 13 mio euros for the current funding period 2014-2020.

Evidence of success

HMWEVL has spent a considerable sum of 1.5 mio euros through PIUS-Invest for realizing projects of a total volume of 6.5 mio euros. The companies that benefited from the PIUS programme are now saving 4.500 tons of carbon dioxide each year (as of May 2018).

Difficulties encountered

At the beginning SMEs that received consulting hesitated to invest the time and financial resources necessary for realizing recommended improvements. As a consequence, PIUS-Invest was introduced to facilitate the realization of respective process and/or organisation changes.

Potential for learning or transfer

Experience has shown that a consultation initiative on resource efficient production and on the reduction of CO2 emissions should ideally be accompanied by a well-matched investment initiative, which offers an incentive for SMEs to realise suggested changes in production methods and organizational processes. As application numbers show, about 80% of those SMEs that receive PIUS-Beratung also make use of PIUS-Invest.
Thanks to the fact that PIUS-Invest focuses on the objective to reduce CO2 emissions instead of predeterming the ways how this objective is achieved, SMEs are able to develop and follow individual approaches. A wide range of technologies and consequently applications are eligible for a grant which makes it possible to support process and/or organisational changes successfully.
General key factors for the success of the PIUS initiatives are easy application procedures, short processing times and the fact that SMEs from various industries are supported.

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Main institution
Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport and Regional Development
Darmstadt, Germany (Deutschland)
Start Date
January 2016
End Date
December 2022


Good Practices being followed by

Dagmar Meinen

Ministry of Economics, Energy, Transport an Regional Development