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Industrial symbiosis and its role in increased resource efficiency

 

Industrial symbiosis (IS) engages diverse organisations in a network to foster eco-innovation and long-term culture change. Creating and sharing knowledge through the network yields mutually profitable transactions for novel sourcing of required inputs, value-added destinations for non-product outputs, and improved business and technical processes [3]. Various delivery models of IS have developed around the world; key differences are the geographic scale of the effort (organisation to organisation, organisations in a defined area such as an industrial park or zone, across a city or region, national or international) and whether the IS opportunities (called synergies) are actively facilitated by expert practitioners. The model devised and managed by International Synergies Limited is a facilitated model operating at the national scale in the United Kingdom, and at other scales around the world. International Synergies Limited has developed global expertise in IS, instigating programmes in Belgium, Brazil, China, Finland, Hungary, Italy, Mexico, Netherlands, Poland, Romania, Slovakia, South Africa and Turkey, as well as the UK.

1. NISP® in Europe

The National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP®) was initiated by International Synergies Limited in 2003 across 2 English regions and in Scotland. In 2005, the UK government provided the investment necessary to roll out NISP nationally. The NISP® network has been running on a UK national level for the past eight years, engaging different industries (of different sizes and capacities), government bodies and research organizations, to identify and facilitate economically viable solutions to business challenges.

NISP® has been identified by the European Commission as the most effective resource efficiency policy amongst 120 reviewed across the world [4]. NISP® has been proven to stimulate economic growth, create new jobs and help businesses make the transition to a low carbon economy – all while generating a net contribution to the Treasury. NISP® delivers these benefits to the UK economy for outstanding ‘value for money’ 2005-2013 [Table 1]. Independent economic analysis [5] has demonstrated that NISP® has generated €1.7 billion to €2.9 billion of Total Economic Value Added (TEVA) for the UK economy, equating to a multiplier effect on Government investment of between 53:1 and 88:1. NISP’s impact stimulates increased Income Tax, Corporation Tax and Value Added Tax for UK Government.

Industrial symbiosis is increasingly seen as a strategic tool for delivering economic development, green growth, innovation, and resource efficiency. NISP® was cited as best practice under the EU Waste Framework Directive (2009) and incorporated as best practice in the Resource Efficiency Flagship Initiative, part of the Europe 2020 growth strategy for Europe whose vision is a “smart, sustainable and inclusive Europe.” The launch of the Resource Efficiency Flagship Initiative led to the publication of the Roadmap for a Resource Efficient Europe (2011), which recommends exploiting resource efficiency gains through IS as a priority for all member states. DG Enterprise and Industry has since incorporated IS into its policy Sustainable industry – Going for growth & resource efficiency (2011); DG Regio intoConnecting Smart and Sustainable Growth (2012); and DG Environment into Opportunities to business of improving resource efficiency(2013).

 
Externally Verified NISP® Outputs (England) 2005 – 2013 5-Year Persistence Investment per unit of output
Additional Sales €251M €1,255M 3.6 cent per €income
Cost Savings €257M €1,285M 3.6 cent per €income
Jobs Created 10,000 N/A N/A
CO2 Saved 8M Tonnes 42M Tonnes 74 cents per tonne
Water Saved 15M Tonnes 73M Tonnes 43 cents per tonne
Waste Diverted from Landfill 9M Tonnes 47M Tonnes 67 cents per tonne
Hazardous Waste Eliminated 420k Tonnes 2M Tonnes €14.99 per tonne
Virgin Material Saved 12M Tonnes 60M Tonnes 53 cents per tonne
Private Investment Leveraged €380+ million N/A N/A

 

2. Success factors of NISP® 

In our experience, three factors are critical for an IS programme to successfully deliver outputs: an extensive network of organizations, expert practitioners dedicated to facilitating the opportunities, and a fit-for purpose data management system. We now briefly take each of these in turn.
 
 
 
Povzeto iz zbornika 5. strokovne conference OKOLJE IN ODPADKI, 16. april 2014, Brdo pri Kranju. Več o konferenci nawww.okolje.eu.
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