Ms LeeRang Song, Assistant Director for the Office of the Secretary to the President for Trade, Industry and Energy at the Office of the President, visited Birmingham based International Synergies as part of a special research programme into industrial symbiosis practice around the world.
International Synergies, based at Kings Norton Business Centre in the city, is the world’s leading expert in the application of industrial symbiosis, having implemented many ground-breaking projects over the last decade; successfully exporting its approach to more than 20 countries across six continents, including Belgium, Brazil, Canada, China, Finland, France, Mexico, Netherlands, South Africa and Turkey.
The company’s industrial symbiosis approach was first piloted in the West Midlands in 2003. The project proved such a success that it grew to become the National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) in 2005. NISP has subsequently won many awards and accolades, including being acknowledged as a world-wide exemplar of eco-innovation.
Industrial symbiosis is based on the metaphor from the natural eco-system; where all resources (including materials, energy and water) fulfill a specific role and nothing is wasted. In commercial terms industrial symbiosis brings together companies from different sectors to explore business opportunities so that under-utilised resources are brought back into productive use.
During the visit International Synergies Chief Executive, Peter Laybourn, provided information on practical cases of industrial symbiosis from the company’s international portfolio of projects. Examples were also presented from business successes with industrial symbiosis in Birmingham and surrounding area.
This is the fifth visit from Korea to the region on the topic of industrial symbiosis. The last occasion involved a Korean documentary team visiting and filming companies within the Tyseley Economic Enterprise District (TEED).
Peter Laybourn said: “Birmingham is very quickly establishing the reputation of being the ‘home’ of industrial symbiosis. Through our work with businesses here and all over the world we are enabling companies to cut costs, access new markets, create jobs, increase profitability and lower their environmental impacts through industrial symbiosis.
“As a result of this recent visit International Synergies will further extend collaboration with Korea through dialogue with the Korean Industrial Complex Cooperation (KIKOX) and the President’s Office and will be looking for both inward investment and export opportunities.”