Members of the G7 group assembled to discuss resource efficiency this weekend in Birmingham.
The workshop, held at the Council House in Victoria Square, brought together ministers and organisations from the world’s most powerful nations. It was the first event held by G7 since the formation of the new sustainable growth alliance in June.
Industrial symbiosis – a term used to describe the sharing of resources in order to boost economies and reduce environmental damage – was at the core of the discussions.
The meeting was organised by Birmingham-based organisation International Synergies, specialising in designing and overseeing environmental meetings of this nature.
“It’s the first time ever that we’ve been able to bring together policy makers from governments, international organisations, businesses, practitioners and academics to discuss such an important topic,” said International Synergies’ chief executive, Peter Laybourn.
“We’ve been able to clarify everybody’s attitudes to industrial symbiosis and show how far we’ve come over the last ten years.”
Key points to emerge from the workshop included emphasising the necessity of cooperation between multiple countries in adopting a policy of resource efficiency.
“We’re still only scratching the surface of possibility and this G7 alliance is going to push industrial symbiosis even further across the world and embed it into policy and practice,” said Laybourn.
“We can take this initiative forward to such bodies as the G20, meaning we can expand it right around the world.”
Charles Arden-Clarke, a member of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), a branch of the UN that coordinates environmental activities and aims to help countries to put environmentally friendly policies in practice, outlined what is currently being done to encourage sustainable consumption and production patterns.
Looking ahead, Arden-Clarke hopes that the Birmingham event will be a trigger that helps to establish productive bonds between nations.
“This meeting is not just about discovering new partners, but new partners with brilliant ideas that could be scaled up and replicated in other places around the world. The essence of our framework programme is the multi-stakeholder partnership, and we’ve been able to showcase that throughout this event.”