Environmental Businesses for Regenerating Local Society: "Business and the Environment" International Symposium Series 2005

Environmental Businesses for Regenerating Local Society: "Business and the Environment" International Symposium Series 2005

Local governments and business community have long sought to attract large industrial facilities to their regions. This approach to local economic development is often met with many policy challenges, economic barriers and environmental limitations, On the other hand, environmental business that utilizes local resources and posses comparative socio-economic advantages, offer a promising new basis for the development and regeneration of sustainable local economies.

The International Symposium ‘Environmental Business for Regenerating Local Society’, which was organized by the Institute for Global Environmental Strategies (IGES) Kansai Research Centre (KRC) in cooperation with the 21st Century Research Organization for Human Care at the Kobe Portopia Hotel on February 3, 2006 provided important insights into various issues effecting Environmental Business.

This symposium turned into forums for researchers, policy makers and entrepreneurs from Japan and outside to discuss diversity of issues and plan effective measures for enhancing the sustainability of local communities by utilizing peculiarities of the local area through eco-business business activities.

The keynote presentation was delivered by Dr. Neil Seldman of the Institute for Local Self-Reliance, USA, who emphasized the necessity for "new rules" in achieving sustainable development. He introduced some examples of industrial activation based on "new rules" set by local governments in US. During his deliberations, Dr. Seldman also pointed out that such efforts for promoting environmental business are happening mainly at local level in the US but now the society is at an important tuning point.

Latter, a panel of experts addressed the key points while exploring new dimensions of environmental business of 21st century. The main points discussed are what kinds of integrated efforts are in place during an eco-town project undertaking in India, what is the promising industry in the era of non-manufacturing, and what kinds of approaches toward regenerating brownfield are being taken in Japan. In addition, it was pointed out that while the systems for encouraging entrepreneurship have partly developed, there still remain issues to be tackled. It was also agreed that in order to further develop environmental business, products with higher added value should be examined first before thinking about producing products made of recycling materials. Discussion was concluded with all the panelists pinpointing the keys for regenerating environmental business at local level.


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