Muut tiedotteet 2013

20.11.2013 12.55

EUR-ISA: Maiden rajoja ylittävä resurssitehokkutta edistävä yhteistyöverkosto aloitti toimintansa

Cacao shells from Belgium could soon be heating homes and businesses across the UK this winter as part of a cross-border collaboration between two industrial symbiosis programmes. The scheme could see quantities of the fibrous outer shell of the bean exported from Belgium to the UK where it will be used to create biofuel suitable for use in domestic and commercial heating systems.

In return, the UK is set to send a specific paint sludge, a by-product generated by a leading car manufacturer, to a cement maker in Belgium who has developed a specialist processing technology that extracts valuable components from the sludge so it can be used as a key ingredient in the manufacture of cement.

This type of cross border transaction is set to become more commonplace with the formation of a new pan-European network, established to support the European Commission in its quest for a Resource Efficient Europe, one of Europe’s flagship 2020 initiatives.

Speaking at the Brussels launch of the European Industrial Symbiosis Association (EUR-ISA) on the 6th November 2013, the European Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik stated: "One company's waste and by-products, can be another company's opportunity and cost saving. We need to put those two companies in touch so that we don't just throw away valuable materials but make the most of them. Some companies are already making contacts through successful symbiosis programmes, but it needs to happen much more if we are to move towards a truly resource efficient economy for Europe. This makes business sense, but it is also common sense in Europe where we are so dependent on imports for our raw materials, and in a world where pressure on resources is having increasing environmental impacts.”

MEP Nikos Chrysogelos, who hosted the evening, mentioned that: "Bearing in mind the current huge pressure on our resources, that led to increased environmental impacts and social tensions, developing industrial symbiosis programmes on an EU level can close the loops to deliver a circular economy. Industrial symbiosis can be a part of a greater strategy to increase the competitiveness of EU’s industry, creating green jobs, supporting sustainable entrepreneurship and at the same time reduce the risks of material scarcity and production costs."

MEP Malcolm Harbour, Chair of the Committee on the Internal Market and Consumer Protection, said: "The goals of Industrial Symbiosis networks are exactly aligned with Europe's priorities - a more sustainable, cleaner and competitive economy. The launch of a pan European grouping will make the movement even more successful and help to seed ambitious projects embracing the whole of the EU Single Market. Congratulations!"

There are at least 10 founding members of EUR-ISA all of whom are organisations actively engaged in the implementation of industrial symbiosis networks across Europe today. Mr Jyri Arponen, who is leading the Industrial Symbiosis team at Sitra, Finland, mentioned that: "It’s time to replace our take-make-and-waste economy with the circular one where businesses take full advantage of the reusability of products, raw materials and natural resources and make money by doing it. This is in fact the biggest business opportunity of our times. EUR ISA is instrumental in mobilizing this change in European scale,” Ms Paula Eskola from Motiva, Finland said:"We think that there is a need for this kind of support and knowledge sharing for European countries building up and running their own industrial symbiosis projects and programmes; EUR-ISA can be an excellent platform for this knowledge sharing."

The Association, which is based in Brussels, is a not for profit organisation and has been set up to help deliver the recommendations made recently by the European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP), which provides high-level guidance to the Commission, Member States and the private sector to help turn political will into action on the ground. 

Publishing its outline recommendations in June, EREP acknowledged the role facilitated industrial symbiosis schemes played in “diverting waste from landfill, contributing to the preservation of resources and moving waste up the value chain” and called for the wide-scale implementation of industrial symbiosis networks across Europe. It also credited industrial symbiosis projects for accelerating innovation and creating green jobs.

One of the driving forces behind EUR-ISA is International Synergies Limited who is actively involved in developing industrial symbiosis programmes worldwide including in Brazil, China, Mexico, South Africa and Turkey as well as several European countries.  The company’s programme, NISP (National Industrial Symbiosis Programme), which has been running in the UK since 2003, has been recognised by the European Commission, the OECD and World Wild Fund For Nature as an ‘innovative approach to achieve resource efficiency’, an example of systemic innovation that is ‘vital to green growth’ and one of the world’s top 20 ‘green game changing innovations’ respectively. 

“Industrial Symbiosis is fast becoming one of the most talked about approaches to deliver the circular economy across Government departments in Europe,” explains Peter Laybourn, Chief Executive of International Synergies and founding member of EUR-ISA

“Its incorporation into the policy recommendations for the Commission’s ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’ and EREP’s subsequent championing of industrial symbiosis as an immediate and proven mechanism for reducing carbon, preserving critical resources and securing business sustainability has stimulated an enormous wave of interest at all levels.

“Through EUR-ISA we can establish an effective framework to provide the European Commission with a single point of contact acting in the interests of multiple industrial symbiosis networks across all member states.  

“We have also developed a knowledge-sharing platform enabling the industrial symbiosis networks who are part of EUR-ISA to share data, best practice, innovation and expertise and enable wide scale and speedy implementation across Europe based on the proven models of our members.

“EUR-ISA will also enable us to promote cross border opportunities for the 20,000+ businesses currently participating in the networks and for the thousands of companies expected to engage with industrial symbiosis in the near future.”

Founding members of EUR-ISA include Motiva and Sitra who run a network in Finland based on the NISP model, Essenscia from Belgium who manage SYMBIOSE in Flanders and the Danish Business Authority who manage the Green Industrial Symbiosis Programme in Denmark.

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