Birmingham has beaten off competition from 100 European initiatives and secured a £1.8 million deal to establish an industrial symbiosis network in the world’s largest industrial park in China.
The three year scheme, based on the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) that was initiated and developed here in the West Midlands, has been given the go-ahead by the European Commission through its Switch Asia Programme.
International Synergies, based at Kings Norton Business Centre, submitted a joint bid with China’s Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) to establish an industrial symbiosis network in the area.
The Switch Asia Programme promotes the adoption of sustainable consumption and production (SCP) among small and medium sized enterprises in Asia and International Synergies is set to net £500,000, with the remaining funds going to TEDA direct.
Paul Knuckle, International Synergies International Development director, said: “We are delighted to have been picked by Switch Asia to set up a NISP programme in TEDA, perhaps the world’s most established and accomplished industrial area, and look forward to working with its representatives.”
TEDA was established in 1984 with the approval of the State Council of the People’s Republic of China and is one of the first state-class economic-technological development areas in China. Covering 33 square kilometres, an area equivalent to half that of the borough of Wolverhampton, the area is just over two and a half hours drive from Beijing and 60 kilometres to the east of Tianjin, adjacent to the Tanggu District of the city.
Zhang Jun, vice-president of the TEDA Administrative Commission said: “TEDA’s goal is to become one of the most sustainable industrial areas in the world. In order to strengthen the area’s industrial sustainability we are looking forward to working with International Synergies to implement eco-industrial development in the area and exchange information with the purpose of sharing perspectives and experiences.”
Lynne Jones, MP for Birmingham Selly Oak, said: “Through NISP, International Synergies has shown that the industrial symbiosis approach provides an effective means of reducing the carbon footprint of industrial development and demonstrates that economic growth can be decoupled from environmental degradation.
“It is extremely exciting that a scheme pioneered here in the West Midlands will soon be helping to shape the future of the world’s largest industrial park.”
NISP began as a pilot regional scheme in the West Midlands in 2003, funded by Advantage West Midlands and the Veolia Environmental Trust.
NISP advocates that companies adopt the industrial symbiosis approach to all aspects of their business so that resources such as material by-products, energy and water can be recovered, reprocessed and reused elsewhere in the industrial network either by themselves or by other companies.
This approach results in innovative sourcing of input streams for industrial processes.
It also increases the value of non-product outputs such as tyre shred, plastic pellets or waste steam from a factory that can be sold on to other businesses.
NISP facilitated synergies have boosted the regional economy by £71 million over the last three-and-a-half years, £63 million new sales generated and £7.9 million cost savings achieved, and brought in £15 million in private investment.
It has also reduced the region’s commercial carbon footprint by 956,000 tonnes and diverted more than 578,000 tonnes of business waste from landfill.
Gareth Stanley, UK Trade and Investment International Trade adviser in Environmental Technologies for the West Midlands’ region, said: “The collaboration between International Synergies and TEDA is extremely exciting.
“It not only demonstrates a transfer of knowledge from the UK to China, but also has the potential to develop key export opportunities in environmental technologies for West Midlands companies to gain a foothold in China, the second largest economy in the world. Over the course of the scheme these opportunities will continue to rise and generate more prosperity.”