The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), in collaboration with the European Commission, held a dedicated side-session during Green Week 2014 on “Eco-Industrial Parks as a Tool to Scale Up a Resource Efficient and Circular Economy”.
The session brought together a panel of experts in the fields of eco-industrial park development and industrial symbiosis to discuss the development potential of a resource-efficient and circular approach to industrial manufacturing.
The session showcased a variety of global case studies, management approaches and economic models which demonstrated the wide scope of opportunities available to policymakers and practitioners in the development of eco-industrial parks and the acceleration of industrial symbiosis.
Amongst the session’s discussants were Jyri Arponen, Senior Lead, Business Development at the Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra; Frank Boons, Associate Professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam; Peter Laybourn, Chief Executive, National Industrial Symbiosis Programme; Guillame Massard, Scientific Director at SOFIES and Heinz Leuenberger, Director of UNIDO’s Environmental Management Branch. The discussions were led by Christophe Yvetot, UNIDO Representative to the European Union.
Green Week, organized by the European Commission, is Europe’s largest annual conference on environmental policy. The 2014 edition, held under the banner “Circular Economy – Saving Resources, Creating Jobs”, ran for three days and attracted over 2,000 global participants from government, industry, research, academia and civil society.
In over 45 sessions, Green Week 2014 addressed such issues as binding waste targets, the need for political leadership, legal clarity and transparency, better statistics, the role of entrepreneurs and SMEs, new business models, product design, eco-tax reform, new measures of sustainability, sustainable buildings and food waste.
In his closing remarks, European Commissioner for the Environment and Green Industry Platform Advisory Board member, Janez Potočnik, stated: “We have learned that we should not demonize those established companies that are operating in resource intensive ways, as they have been conditioned to do so by existing systems, markets and incentives. Rather we should help them, engage with them and encourage them to find solutions.”
He continued: “We have learned that many solutions are incredibly simple and incredibly cheap, but can have far-reaching effects. We have learned that the extent of our inefficiencies gives enormous scope for moving towards a world where we decouple future growth from resource use and its impacts.”
To read an interview with Heinz Leuenberger conducted by Deutsche Welle at Green Week, please visit http://www.dw.de/circular-economy-just-a-load-of-rubbish/a-17767516
For more information on Green Week 2014, please see: www.greenweek2014.eu