Industrial symbiosis is fast becoming one of the most talked about approaches for delivering the circular economy. The revised Circular Economy Package published in December 2015 by the European Commission recommends Member States implement industrial symbiosis as a means of keeping resources in productive use for as long as possible.
Across Europe a number of successful industrial symbiosis programmes have been running at local, regional and national levels since 2003. During that time the organisations responsible for implementation have built up a bank of evidence to demonstrate the role 'facilitated industrial symbiosis networks' play in achieving green economic growth. These established networks have created jobs, cut costs and increased profit for the companies who participate; developing new markets for previously underused resources and reducing reliance on critical raw materials by keeping them in the industrial cycle for longer.
In 2011, the European Commission acknowledged facilitated industrial symbiosis schemes as an innovative way to increase resource productivity in its ‘Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe’ and further referenced the UK's National Industrial Symbiosis Programme (NISP) as a benchmark for the rest of Europe. By June 2013, the European Resource Efficiency Platform (EREP), a high level group advising the Commission on how to turn political will into action on the ground, credited industrial symbiosis networks already active in Europe for reducing carbon, preserving resources and improving the competitiveness of European companies, especially SMEs.
EREP, led by the Commissioner for the Environment, Janez Potočnik, subsequently called for the wide-scale implementation of industrial symbiosis networks across Europe - which is how EUR-ISA came about.
EUR-ISA aims to identify the barriers that currently exist across Europe that create challenges for the advancement and implementation of industrial symbiosis. As part of this EUR-ISA will examine existing policies at local, regional and national levels and regulatory frameworks with a view to making recommendations which will result in Member States being better prepared to introduce industrial symbiosis.
EUR-ISA was officially launched on November 6th in Brussels at an event hosted by Nikos Chrysogelos, a member of the Group of the Greens/European Free Alliance, with Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for the Environment speaking.