North Sea sustainable business club launched

Companies aim to demonstrate practical approaches, focusing on "by-product synergy"

A new corporate association launched in London today will demonstrate how firms in countries surrounding the North Sea can move towards sustainability, its organisers claim. About 20 companies operating in the UK, Norway and Finland are currently participating. Several UK and Norwegian universities and local and regional authorities are also involved.

The Business Council for Sustainable Development, North Sea Region (BCSD: NSR) has grown out of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), which was formed to create a business voice in the run-up to the 1992 UN Earth Summit. Unlike the WBCSD, however, BCSD: NSR will focus entirely on practical projects, according to Thomas Knudson, chairman both of Conoco Exploration Production Europe and of the new association.

"By working together and contributing their respective resources and technologies," said Mr Knudson, "our...members can help to make the ideal of sustainable development an exciting reality that benefits the environment and society, and brings new opportunities for growth".

BCSD: NSR's first target is to develop opportunities for companies to achieve "by-product synergy," by investigating how firms cooperate to use the waste stream of one company as an input to another. Mr Knudson acknowledged that the concept was not new, but told ENDS Daily that there was a lot of scope to do it better. "How many areas of the world have done it really well?" he asked.

Members of the association are already running one scheme. A project being run near Trondheim, Norway, involves a methanol plant, a receiving terminal for gas from the Heidrun oil field in the North Sea and an air separation facility. Waste heat from the methanol plant is fed to a nearby sea inlet where a company is farming premium fish species thanks to a four degree increase in water temperatures.

More product synergy projects are due to start in north-east England, where up to 70 companies that could participate have already been identified. The BCSD: NSR estimates that a more systematic evaluation could generate over 100 byproduct synergy projects in this region alone.

The new association has been welcomed by head of the European Commission's environment department Jim Currie. Speaking at the launch, he stressed that working towards sustainable development required effective partnerships and praised the organisation over its focus on "action and projects". The Commission would be watching the BCSD: NSR's development with a close interest, he said.

Follow Up:
BCSD: {NSR}, tel: +44 1724 281 558.

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