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Eco-Industrial Parks Emerge as an Effective Approach to Sustainable Growth

MD Staff

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Eco-industrial parks (EIP) are on the rise. There are about 250 self-styled eco-industrial parks operating or under development worldwide today, while just as recently as 2000, there were fewer than 50.

Eco-industrial parks (EIP) offer the business advantages of traditional industrial parks while also using resources more efficiently, improving productivity, supporting the achievement of firms’ social responsibility goals, and lowering exposure to climate change risks.

However, despite their proliferation, there hasn’t been an internationally accepted definition of what makes an EIP an EIP, until now.

A new publication written by the World Bank Group, United Nations Development Organization (UNIDO), and Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH developed the first joint international framework on EIPs, An International Framework for Eco-Industrial Parks, which defines the minimum parameters for environmental, social, and economic performance of EIPs.

“By coming together, our three organizations aim to pave the way for creating a common vision for eco-industrial parks, which countries can use and modify according to their own needs,” said Ceyla Pazarbasioglu, Senior Director of the Bank Group’s Finance, Competitiveness and Innovation Global Practice (FCI). “We hope this common framework fills the current void in the understanding of eco-industrial parks and encourages their development on a global scale.”

Industrial parks cluster industrial businesses in a dedicated location to achieve efficiencies and take advantage of collaborative opportunities. But concentrating economic activity in one area runs the risk of also concentrating negative environmental and social impacts, such as pollution, greenhouse gas emissions, and poor labor standards.

The EIP framework describes the minimum expectations for eco-industrial centers across four categories:

  • Park management performance
  • Environmental performance
  • Social performance
  • Economic performance

As a baseline, EIPs must comply with all applicable local and national regulations. They must also meet the broader minimum expectations set out within this framework.

“This EIP framework aims to strike a balance between meaningful and achievable performance requirements,” says Etienne Kechichian, Senior Private Sector Specialist for the World Bank Group. “The requirements need to be meaningful to make a difference in key areas, but they cannot be so high that parks with some successful initiatives can’t qualify as EIPs.”

Examples of South Korea’s Ulsan Mipo and Onsan Industrial Park

The potential beneficial impact of the EIP model is being demonstrated in the Republic of Korea where 1,000 companies in industries as diverse as vehicle manufacturing, shipbuilding, and oil refining call the Ulsan Mipo and Onsan Industrial Park in South Korea home. Collectively, these companies employ 100,000 people and the industrial park serves as South Korea’s industrial capital.

Ulsan Mipo and Onsan is part of South Korea’s Eco-Industrial Park Initiative, which seeks to transform traditional industrial complexes into sustainable EIPs.  Firms in Ulsan Mipo and Onsan have invested some $520 million in energy efficiency, industrial symbiosis, waste management, and other eco-friendly improvements. To date, the investment has yielded $554 million in savings, while firms in the EIP generated $91.5 billion in revenues.

Spurred by government investment of $14.8 million, companies in the park reduced their CO2 emissions in 2015–2016 by 665,712 tons, reused 79,357 tons of water, and saved 279,761 tons of oil equivalent in energy use. These changes have enhanced relations with local communities by improving the negative image of industrial complexes as polluters.

Ulsan Mipo and Onsan Industrial Park is one example of how EIPs can overcome challenges related to inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

Many barriers exist in designing and building new EIPs or in retrofitting existing parks, but one of the most critical was a lack of clear indicators or international benchmarks to guide the process, which prompted the effort that culminated in this newly published framework.

Source: World Bank

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Green Planet

Promoting food production that values ecosystems

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Kenya is looking to develop agricultural activity that recognizes the benefits of biodiversity and climate-friendly land management.

UN Environment and the National Museums of Kenya have agreed to work together to develop policy reforms in agriculture that take into account the value of ecosystems. A scoping workshop for the three-year German-funded project entitled Supporting Biodiversity and Climate-friendly Land Management in Agricultural Landscapes will take place on 21-22 February 2018. Other collaborating countries are Colombia, Tanzania and Thailand.

Within UN Environment the project is being led by The Economics of Ecosystems and Biodiversity (TEEB) unit, which focuses on “making nature’s values visible”.

The project seeks to:

  • mainstream the values of biodiversity and ecosystem services into decision-making at all levels
  • help decision-makers recognize the wide range of benefits provided by ecosystems and biodiversity.
  • demonstrate their value in economic terms.

Agriculture is at the centre of human well-being and sustainable development. It has influenced our value systems, our cultural heritage, the structure and location of our communities, and the development of other sectors in the economy.

However, the ties between food systems and human health and cultural heritage are increasingly becoming invisible, as are the impacts our production systems are having on nature. This invisibility discourages stewardship of our natural resources and fosters their unsustainable use, generating negative impacts for both present and future generations.

2015 TEEB for Agriculture and Food (TEEBAgriFood) Interim Report seeks to explain the complex links between ecosystems, agriculture and the food we eat. It provides insights into the importance of ecosystems and biodiversity, and the (visible and invisible) impacts of different production systems on human and ecological well-being.

Much of the project’s work will focus on building national, regional and local government capacity to produce tailored economic assessments of ecosystems. The ecosystems and agricultural landscapes that are critical to policy will be chosen at the workshop.

The project will consolidate guidance and training for TEEB national implementation; provide technical support on valuation and accounting for specific national-level TEEB projects; and enhance the communication and dissemination of TEEB results.

UN Environment

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Green Planet

5 ways the United Kingdom is leading the fight against plastic pollution

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We’re only two months into 2018, but this year has already seen a number of concrete steps to combat plastic pollution in the United Kingdom. Changing public opinion, along with new restrictions on sending plastics to China (which previously took in 66 per cent of the UK’s plastic waste), have forced businesses and government bodies to reconsider traditional strategies for dealing with discarded plastic.

1. Queen Elizabeth bans disposable plastic

Buckingham Palace has implemented a plan to phase out the use of disposable plastics at royal estates. The new waste plan calls for ending the use of plastic straws and bottles in public and private dining areas. Additionally, biodegradable takeaway containers will be introduced. The Queen was reportedly inspired after working on a wildlife film with Sir David Attenborough, whose recent involvement in the BBC series Blue Planet 2 has been praised for bringing greater attention to the issue of plastic pollution in the world’s oceans.

2. Restaurants ditch plastic straws

An increasing number of UK restaurants and pubs are joining the global movement to end the use of plastic straws. Chains such as Costa Coffee, Pizza Express, Wagamama restaurants, and Wetherspoons have all put plans into place to phase out the use of non-biodegradable drinking straws in 2018. A number of independent establishments have also followed suit, encouraging customers to forego the straw or use a biodegradable one.

3. Scotland announces nationwide bans

While many companies and individuals have made great progress by phasing out plastic straws, the British nation of Scotland took it a step further by announcing plans for a countrywide ban on straws, which will be developed this year. This came on the heels of a previous announcement in January to ban the sale and manufacture of plastic cotton buds, which will be phased out over the course of 2018.

4. The UK says no to microbeads

In January, a government ban on plastic microbeads officially went into effect. The miniature plastic particles are widely used in cosmetics, soaps, and toothpastes, and due to their small size, can slip through treatment plants and pollute rivers and lakes. The first phase of the ban prevents the plastics from being used in the making of cosmetics and cleaning products, followed by a complete sales ban in July. This law follows similar ones passed by the United States, Canada, and Ireland, as well as moves by global cosmetics companies to phase out the use of such products.

5. Supermarkets go plastic free

In January the UK supermarket chain Iceland made headlines when it announced plans to eliminate plastic packaging for all Iceland branded products. The company released a five-year strategy that calls for introducing paper and pulp food containers, as well as paper bags, all of which can be returned to in-store recycling facilities. The company has already banned plastic straws and is beginning to introduce the new packaging over the next couple of months. Other companies such as Tesco and Aldi UK have announced similar plans, a response to increased demands from shoppers for environmental responsibility.

This article was originally published by UN Environment

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India to host World Environment Day 2018

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Today, Dr. Harsh Vardhan, Minister of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, and Erik Solheim, United Nations Under-Secretary-General and Head of UN Environment, jointly announced that India will be hosting the global World Environment Day celebrations on 5 June 2018.

“Beat Plastic Pollution”, the theme for World Environment 2018, urges governments, industry, communities, and individuals to come together and explore sustainable alternatives and urgently reduce the production and excessive use of single-use plastic polluting our oceans, damaging marine life and threatening human health.

“India is excited to host the World Environment Day this year on June 5. Indian philosophy and lifestyle has long been rooted in the concept of co-existence with nature. We are committed to making Planet Earth a cleaner and greener place”, said Dr. Harsh Vardhan.

He added: “If each and every one of us does at least one green good deed daily towards our Green Social Responsibility, there will be billions of green good deeds daily on the planet.”

The Government of India has committed to organizing and promoting the World Environment Day celebrations through a series of engaging activities and events generating strong public interest and participation. From pan-Indian plastic clean-up drives in public areas, national reserves and forests to simultaneous beach clean-up activities – India will lead the initiative by setting an example.

“India will be a great global host of 2018’s World Environment Day celebrations,” said Erik Solheim at the announcement on Monday.

He added: “The country has demonstrated tremendous global leadership on climate change and the need to shift to a low carbon economy, and India will now help galvanize greater action on plastics pollution. It’s a global emergency affecting every aspect of our lives. It’s in the water we drink and the food we eat. It’s destroying our beaches and oceans. India will now be leading the push to save our oceans and planet.”

India is emerging as a leader, given it has one of the highest recycling rates in the world. It can be instrumental in combating plastic pollution. By hosting World Environment Day 2018, the Indian government is accelerating its leadership on an issue of tremendous magnitude.

World Environment Day is a UN Environment-led global event, the single largest celebration of our environment each year, which takes place on June 5 and is celebrated by thousands of communities worldwide.

Since it began in 1972, it has grown to become a global platform for public outreach that is widely celebrated across the globe.

Most of all, World Environment Day is a day of everyone around the world to take ownership of their environment and to actively engage in the protection of our earth.

Plastic Pollution facts:

  • Every year the world uses 500 billion plastic bags
  • Each year, at least 8 million tonnes of plastic end up in the oceans, the equivalent of a full garbage truck every minute.
  • In the last decade, we produced more plastic than in the whole last century
  • 50 percent of the plastic we use is single-use or disposable
  • We buy 1 million plastic bottles every minute
  • Plastic makes up 10% of all of the waste we generate

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