Eco-Industrial Parks Among the Gateways for Picking up Industrial Activity

To help alleviate the economic adversity being experienced in South Africa, one initiative by government has started driving is transitioning industrial parks into eco-industrial parks, Henry Nuwarinda, project manager of National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa (NCPCSA) has said.

Eco-industrial parks foster sustainable industrial growth and sustainable development goals, promoting the association of companies, as well as enhancing competitiveness through the reduction of costs for businesses.

Henry Nuwarinda noted during a session of the Manufacturing Indaba on 10th of December 2020 that the eco-industrial park programme was placing an emphasis on public private partnership to realise growth opportunities.

Department of Trade, Industry and Competition regional industrial development director Bernd Oellermann said that the South African government had increasingly looked at how it could foster public private partnership’s (PPP), including through establishing industrial parks.

This follows the international trend by which industries and governments are moving away from the traditional industrial areas around cities, which involve the labour force travelling large distances to work, to more decentralised zones, closer to where labour forces reside.

Industrial parks are meant to help ease the setup of businesses and ensure their sustainability, through shared services and shared infrastructure and assistance with services around intellectual property registration and marketing.

Bernd Oellermann said industrial parks were a key element of South Africa’s socioeconomic improvement, since it helps to deal with issues that are far too complex for any one shareholder to solve.

United Nations Industrial Development Organisation (Unido) chief technical adviser Klaus Tyrkko agreed, explaining that United Nations Industrial Development Organisation had seen that industrial parks were a good way of advancing industrialization and manufacturing across the world.

Klaus Tyrkko also said that industrial parks, and particularly eco-industrial parks, had proven to attract companies that created employment and provided secure places of work, and grew into organisms in themselves.

Klaus Tyrkko added that Unido had observed that parks running through PPPs tended to fare better in terms of sustainable operations, management and to actually achieve the goals set out at the beginning.

National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa and the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition regional industrial development, in partnership with Unido on 7th December launched the Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme (Geipp).

South Africa had been 1 of the 7 countries which has been selected to participate in this programme, which is funded by the Swiss State Secretariat for Economic Affairs and implemented internationally by Unido.

The programme will be implemented in South Africa by National Cleaner Production Centre South Africa , itself a programme of the Department of Trade, Industry and Competition regional industrial development, and hosted by the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research.

The Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme (Geipp), running alongside Department of Trade, Industry and Competition regional industrial development’s Industrial Parks Revitalisation Programme, targets to demonstrate the viability and benefits of “greening” industrial parks by improving resource productivity and economic, environmental and social performances of businesses, thereby contributing to inclusive and sustainable industrial development.

The key components of an eco-industrial park are resource efficiency and cleaner production, industrial and infrastructure synergies, progressive park management, healthy and integrated workforces and optimisation related to spatial planning and zoning.