Article Summary EID

Title: Eco Industrial Development: As a Way of Enhancing Sustainable Development Summary

Prepared for: The National Registry of Environmental Professionals®

Prepared by: Ian Brian Teñido, REP


Bibliographic Information

Sertyesilisik, B., & Sertyesilisik, E. (2016). Eco Industrial Development: As a Way of Enhancing Sustainable Development. Journal of Economic Development, Environment and People5(1), 6. doi: 10.26458/jedep.v5i1.133.

Introduction

The rate at which environmental deterioration has been occurring for the past five decades is alarming. More than ever before, the level of wealth per capita across the world is increasing while at the same time, the global population is growing. These two factors put undue pressure on the environmental resources scattered across the world and if they are not exploited sustainably, then humanity is headed to a ‘dry earth’. To make the matter even worse, the size of the global poor keep bulging given that the loci of population growth are in the world’s poorest countries, especially in Africa and Asia. In view of this, the authors of this article, titled ‘Eco-industrial Development: As a Way of Enhancing Sustainable Development’ chose to take a deep dive into Eco-Industrial Development (EID) as a funnel through which sustainability can be achieved both through utilization of sustainable processes and production systems as well as through utilization of sustainable products. This study was conducted on the backdrop of the increased need to search for alternatives to the economic systems which constitute the ‘brown economy.’ It is not strange to any scholar that China and the U.S. are the two most polluting nations in the world due to their heavy industrial investments. Majority of products in the global market are either manufactured in the U.S. or in China- and the list grows longer for those countries which pollute less than the two but still rated as high; for instance, South Korea and India. To be able to inform their objectives, the authors used a metaphysical approach by looking into other secondary materials in order to develop their findings and conclusions about the need for Eco-Industrial Development. To a larger extent, the metaphysical exploitation by the authors produced a descriptive outcome highlighting, mostly, the eco-industrial parks that can pose as successes in the quest of developing many more in different parts of the world.

Findings

The gist of the article was founded upon the EID as a key enabler for not only reducing the environmental footprint of production but also for enhancing the integrity of the environment. Thus, it analyses “…the need for the EID; sustainable development enhanced by sustainable production and sustainable products; as well as key success factors for, barriers against and drivers for the EID” (pg.17). Therefore, the findings in this analysis are furnished by the fact that the world’s habitat is being deteriorated, especially as a result of failed production processes and excessive/bloated consumption patterns. Both of the above trends are the preview to the fact that the global population is growing; estimated at around 9 billion by 2050. This means that more is needed to be consumed and thus the industries respond by extracting more natural resources in order to meet the available and growing demand for the same. The findings of this analysis are grouped into three: facilitators for the transformation of companies, drivers for companies to act as change agents, and the key success factors for EID.

Facilitators for Transformation of Companies

Under this category, there are two main facilitators that Sertyesilisik & Sertyesilisik establish to be vital in the process of attaining eco-industrial development: Eco-labeling and policies and government. Ecolabelling is an important pusher in terms of getting the sustainability message to both the consumers and producers. If a plant is labeled as eco meaning that it pollutes less or uses fewer materials to produce similar results then such a plant is likely to be purchased by industries with an interest to care for the environment. At the same time, the products produced through the same plant would ideally be labeled as eco; meaning that such a product was produced under the stewardship of environmentalism and as the message for eco production-through eco-labeling- is transmitted throughout the supply chain, chances are high that EID shall become a fashion for production thus creating a spill-over effect that goes a long way to affect the psychology of production and consumption.

On the other hand, policies and governments play significant roles as facilitators for transformation. EID is not an isolated aspect of the society-it works in harmony with other aspects of life such as culture and the economy. Therefore, government policies that make it necessary for industries to use EID or make it hard for industries to use other alternatives other than EID are a necessary facilitator that keeps it alive. In addition, the governmental support is instrumental in achieving the goals of EID. The government support comes in form of strategies and compliance regulations which ensure that all industries in the eco-industrial parks adhere to the sustainability framework while at the same time whipping many more industries at the redevelopment stages to warm up for the EID.

Drivers for Companies to Act as Change Agents for EID

There are four drivers that the authors of this text establish as vital for the companies to become change agents for EID. On the fore is the improvement of the sustainability performance. Many companies want to improve their sustainability performances-some at all costs. Now, if sustainability performance is guaranteed to be improved within the eco-industrial parks then those companies wishing to improve their sustainability score are likely to join the bandwagon of EID. This comes with innovation and resilient to the needs of a green economy. It should be remembered that it also ties back to the eco-labeling mentioned earlier. The second driver is the regional development and future employability, just on this promise, the startups and companies who wish to redevelop would jump on this opportunity in order to reap the accompanying benefits. Thirdly, the promise of economic advantages and competitiveness offered within the EIPs (Eco-Industrial Park) especially in respect with the synergies created with the EIPs would ogre well with companies that need to be competitively ahead while at the same time wanting to reap the benefits of economic advantages available EIPs oriented firms. Lastly, the government policies and regulations are also a key driver that would make companies act as agents of EID. The government regulations and policies are the single-most external factors to a company that affects how a company runs. If indeed the regulations and policies are in support of eco-companies then it would be easy to maneuver the eco-production and the eco-consumption. The other findings under this category included the barriers against EID which compromised: “consumers who do not demand for or who are not aware of the sustainable products or sustainable production process, and company-specific obstacles (e.g. regulations; working culture; organizational structure).”

Key Success Factors

Having analyzed various ways and projects that manifest EID, the authors established a list of key success factors which would make a company emerge successfully if they choose to venture into the market through the EIPs. On top of this list is the governments supporting EID; this applies across the globe. With a proper support, more and more companies will feel comfortable investing in EID projects. At the same time, the governments should have in place laws and regulations that clearly govern the production and development of EID and EIPs; this manages expectations. At the same time, governments should take the leading roles like the role models by transforming their key sectors to reflect an EIP or by starting pilot projects from which the private sector would draw knowledge of EID.

Conclusions

The major outcomes of this analysis resoundingly highlight the need and the importance of EID as a way of attaining production and consumption sustainability. The authors cut across the world starting in Europe to America, Africa, and Asia in an attempt to create a perception of universality over EID. The creation of industrial parks that are ecologically sound is an idea which is being implemented on a smaller scale in various parts of the world but the authors provide a list of success factors which would affect its uptake across the world. The government takes the center stage in creating an enabling environment EID programs through the creation of policies and regulations that greatly encourage investments in eco-friendly businesses. The barriers such as customer unawareness about the need to go eco can best be addressed by both pull and push strategies first by creating processes and equipment that minimize industrial footprint so that interest for eco-products can be created in the market. As if this is not enough, the government must make deliberate efforts of supporting the industries in EIPs either through favorable taxation or subsidies. This will enable them to compete effectively against other industries which use cheap but unsuitable technologies.

Personal Comments

It is not strange today that the level of the sea is rising, that flooding is occurring with severity never experienced before, that temperatures of the earth are rising without fail and that the ice in the Arctic is melting. Of course, it is not a secret that the global forest cover has shrunk and that we are breathing a far more polluted air than what our great-grandparents did. All these are the manifestations of a planet that has changed; but not to the best way possible. Although some social parameters have improved such as disease prevalence, infant mortality has reduced and the lifespan has increased, the state of the environment has continued to deteriorate.

Therefore, Eco-Industrial Development is an instrumental concept for industries because it tends to correct the misdeeds by humans and authorities. For far too long now, there has been an imagined fight between the need to develop and the need to preserve our natural environments; the two ends seemed incompatible. However, it must be re-imagined that both can exist side by side through the concept of sustainable development. Under the hospices of EID, it is possible to create industries that mimic nature (biomimicry) and which operate within the confines of its loops so that waste recycled as new input, and that extract from the natural environment is minimized. In other words, this might appear fancy and easy but in reality, it takes a multi-sectoral approach bringing on board players from the civil society, government, individuals and the private sector to ensure that sanity in the brown economy is achieved. EID is the end result of so many efforts and strategies. Therefore, it should be conceived that economic development and environmental preservation are compatible and it only requires human understanding and planning as well as commitment to be able to create an environment in which industries exist and produce with very minimal impact on the environment.

***


October 2018
Article Summary: Tenido_Eco Industrial Development Article Summary_REP_10.06.18 pdf

 

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