A Birmingham-based company which helps businesses recover and re-use waste has secured a £1.5 million deal to replicate its work in the world’s largest industrial park in China.
International Synergies, based at Kings Norton Business Centre, has beaten off competition from 100 European initiatives to establish an industrial symbiosis network in an area just over two-and-a-half hours’ drive from Beijing.
Industrial symbiosis means that a company’s by-products, energy and water can be recovered, reprocessed and re-used either by itself or by other companies.
The European Commission has given International Synergies the go-ahead to develop the three-year long scheme based on its National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) initiated in the West Midlands. The company submitted a joint bid with China’s Tianjin Economic-Technological Development Area (TEDA) to establish an industrial symbiosis network in the area.
International Synergies is set to net £500,000 with the remaining money going to TEDA direct.
Peter Laybourn, chairman of International Synergies and NISP programme director, said: “The existence of a growing number of non-UK industrial symbiosis programmes assisted by International Synergies demonstrates just how transferable the approach is across different countries.
“The industrial symbiosis approach, which has been hugely effective here in the UK, reduces the environmental impacts of business whilst creating business opportunities and consequently jobs and new business start ups.
“Working with TEDA will provide us with an insight into the workings of an established industrial area.”
TEDA covers 33 square kilometres, an area equivalent to half that of the borough of Wolverhampton, in an area 60 kilometres to the east of Tianjin.
Mr 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.
“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, welcomed the news.
She 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 de-coupled from environmental degradation.
“It is extremely exciting that a scheme pioneered here in the West Midlands will soon be helping to improve the sustainability and 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 (then Onyx Environmental Trust).
NISP-facilitated synergies have boosted the regional economy by £71 million over the last three-and-a-half years with £63 million generated in new sales generated and £7.9 million in cost savings achieved. 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 Advisor 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.”