Green Week 2014: Business and Resource Efficiency
SPIRE will be taking an active role in Europe’s biggest annual conference on environmental policy. The Green Week 2014 conference takes place from 3 to 5 June in Brussels. And its themes for 2014 – the circular economy and resource efficiency – are topics where SPIRE is actively involved.
The Green Week 2014 programme is full of SPIRE relevant sessions and SPIRE will be present throughout the week. In particular session 6.3 on ‘Business and Resource Efficiency’ on Thursday morning (11:30-13:00) addresses how businesses can improve resource efficiency, enhance competitiveness, reduce costs and contribute to better resource management. The session will showcase good practices and the potential for scale-up from companies participating in initiatives such as the SPIRE PPP.
During the session, Pádraig Naughton (below), Innovation Manager - Resource and Energy Efficiency at Cefic, will talk about SPIRE and resource efficiency initiatives at the Dow Chemical company, member company of SPIRE.
In his contribution, Pádraig will be emphasising the underlying principle of the circular economy that cannot be achieved without wide-scale collaboration and cooperation. “There is a need to extend beyond company boundaries to regions, national and European levels,” says Pádraig. “We need to work with partners along the value chain, within and across sectors.”
This is, of course, where initiatives like the SPIRE PPP, which is bringing together eight industry sectors to tackle resource and energy efficiency issues in a major pan-European cross-sectorial effort, are so important. “An understanding and close cooperation with adjacent industries is required to maximize the benefits from waste and by-products, which could enable increased process efficiency in chemical processes,” says Pádraig.
A value chain approach is essential for success to ensure that the supply circle is closed and suppliers and all value chain partners, including consumers, enable the recycle and reuse of waste as a production resource. This means that cross-sectorial partnerships, such as SPIRE, must ensure that innovation is enabled and implemented across all elements of society. The innovation chain must connect research to customers to consumers to government and regulatory policymakers.
Technological and business solutions are being developed in local and EU-wide initiatives that can enable a circular economy, but there are policy, trade and image barriers that need to be addressed. “For example, cross-border transfer of waste remains a challenge which needs to tackled at EU level,” explains Pádraig.
Valorisation of CO2
Following the session on ‘Business and Resource Efficiency’ on the afternoon of 5 June, the Session 7.1 ‘Carbon dioxide – today’s waste, tomorrow’s raw material?’ will look at a range of emerging processes that are looking into the valorization of the CO2 to produce chemicals, materials and fuels. This is an area that SPIRE has been promoting through the European Commission’s new research and innovation programme Horizon 2020.
Green Week 2014 will be taking place with events throughout Europe and Brussels. The venue for the main Green Week conference will be the Egg Conference Centre, Rue Bara, in Brussels.