20 November 2006 

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Eco-industrial clusters focus of Japan workshop

The international workshop, Eco-industrial Clusters Leading to Sustainable Local Development, was organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies Kansai Research Centre and AIT on 26 October 2006 at IHD Center, Kobe, Japan.

The objective of the workshop was to discuss the pros and cons of environmental management strategies relating to industrial clusters located in urban-rural fringe areas.

The keynote speech delivered by Dr. Vekatachalam Anbumozhi, highlighted the sustainability potentials of eco-industrial clusters and the strategic importance of locating them in urban-fringe areas as a way to exploit the numerous environmental, economic and social links.

Four interesting case studies from selected economic sectors in Asian countries, as presented by Mr. Koichiro Nakashima (Japan), Prof. Ramachandra Murthy Nagendran (India), Prof. Chettiyappan Visvanathan of AIT and Ms. Nguyen Van Ha (Viet Nam), emphasized the importance of inter-firm networks, integrated policy guidance, enabling technologies, and social capital creation as necessary conditions for the development of such eco-industrial clusters (EIC).

The panel discussion was led by Prof. Takashi Gunjima and included all resource speakers including Dr. Juichi Shibusawa, who represents a community-based environmental organization. It focused on a composite investment strategy for strengthening the functional characteristics of eco-industrial clusters where material and waste exchanges are reduced, local resources are optimized, micro-finance mechanisms induce innovations, and international cooperation promotes efficient operations. Consequently, this brings higher socio-economic benefits to the local community. The issue of the need for integrated policy planning on a national level to promote such EIC was also discussed.

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