18 Oct 2021


A way to attract investment and drive the transition to a circular economy

The world has seen a proliferation of industrial parks, ranging from municipal industrial areas to huge special economic zones. These initiatives were promoted as bringing economic development, jobs and synergies between companies as well as social and environmental benefits. Today, questions are being asked if the initiatives are living up to their promise.

The political and social license for the industrial zones to operate is increasingly depending on how industrial parks are seen to contribute to the society at large. This comprises not only their contribution to economic prosperity but also to shared goals such as SDGs. Furthermore, they are increasingly expected to preserve natural resources and ecosystem services, from which neighboring communities’ benefit, and to contribute to the well-being of people in these communities.

As a concept for ensuring the sustainable development of industrial parks, UNIDO has been promoting the introduction of Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP) practices. Together with the World Bank Group and GIZ, UNIDO developed an International Framework for Eco-Industrial Parks to guide the transformation of industrial parks to circularity and sustainability. The Framework has a common set of benchmarks divided into 4 categories for assessing the industrial park’s sustainability and facilitates the charting of a path forward for more resilient set-up and operations. At country level, data indicates that higher average scoring against the International EIP Framework benchmarks is linked to higher scoring against some SDG indicators, making EIP action a way to contribute to SDGs.

The EIP investments realized across industrial zones are bringing results in the form of circularity as well as more sustainable operations. Information on the EIP investments, their impact as well as modalities on how to mobilize the resources are being gathered by various practitioners for the benefit of countries or investors aiming at more sustainable industrial zones.

The session presents:

  • The International Framework for Eco-Industrial Parks, results from its application and SDG linkage
  • How the EIP framework is being applied to bring in circular economy and sustainability aspects to industrial zones
  • The process of identifying EIP Investment opportunities and identifying access to potential sources of finance
  • Practical examples of how EIP concept has been applied in industrial parks and Special Economic Zones.

Issues to be addressed:

  • How do the EIP concepts and approaches contribute to circularity, sustainability and the SDGs?
  • What aspects are brought forward for achieving this change?
  • What role can international partnerships on EIP promotion between development, investment/ financing partners, and host countries play in ensuring that industrial zones are advancing on a circular, resilient and sustainable development path, which contributes to broad prosperity?

Event Manager: Mr. Frank Van Rompaey

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