The concept of „Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA)“ promotes sustainable industrial development by balancing environmental, economic and social aspects. While some governments and institutions primarily focus on Eco-Industrial Parks (EIP), the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH regards the SIA concept to be more comprehensive, since it incorporates the three pillars of sustainability, namely social, environmental and economic aspects.
While industrial areas are a motor of industrialisation and technology development worldwide, they are often criticised as areas of extended resource consumption and environmental pollution. The concept of “Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA)” answers to this criticism by highlighting organizational, environmental, economic and social features as indispensable requirements for industrial parks on its pathway to sustainability. This requires in particular management structures, which focus on resource and energy efficiency, environmental protection and social compatibility.
In order to guide industrial areas towards the SIA concept, GIZ developed "SIA Guideslines". The guidelines are directed to industrial park operators, planners of industrial areas, public administrators in charge of regulating industrial areas and experts advising on industrial development. They highlight the most important sustainability aspects for planning and operating an industrial area or for elaborating a legal framework for sustainable industrial area development.
The construction of industrial areas is one instrument of economic development strategies that enjoys great popularity in GIZ partner countries seeking for economic progress. Thus, for the GIZ the concept of "Sustainable Industrial Areas" represents an important element of its advice to partners in the industrial sector. For many years, projects addressing various aspects of sustainable industrial development and sustainable industrial areas have been carried out by GIZ in many countries and significant knowhow and experiences have been accumulated in the organisation. The representatives of SIA projects and experts involved have formed the GIZ-Working Group on Sustainable Industrial Areas, which, together with its partners worldwide, permanently works on further developing the SIA concept.
The International Conferences on Sustainable Industrial Areas (SIA) bring experts from all over the world together to discuss recent trends, best practices and future development of SIA. The Conferences serve as an international platform for exchanging knowledge about Sustainable Industrial Development of Industrial Areas worldwide. In the past, there have been similar International SIA Conferences in India, China, Indonesia, Mexico and Morocco.
This year's International SIA Conference (the 7th conference in row) took place in Egypt and addressed the topics "Investment Promotion, SME Development and Generation of Productive Employment", thus supporting Egypt"s goals for sustainable industrial area development. Egypt targets an increased growth in the manufacturing sector with enlarged production capacities and is eager to attract national and international investments. While addressing socio, economic and environmental concerns, Sustainable Industrial Areas are regarded to provide competitive business opportunities that will lead to higher profits for the investors, higher revenues and prosperity for the host country itself and an increased generation of productive employment.
The conference was organized under the auspices of the Ministry of Trade and Industry (MTI) represented by the Industrial Development Authority of Egypt (IDA) in partnership between the East Port Said Development Company (EP), the Egyptian-German Program "Promotion of Small and Medium Enterprises (PSME)" implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) on behalf of the German Federal Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development.
The thematic topics of the conferences represent important Egyptian industrial development goals:
- Creating a favorable climate for investment
Local and foreign investment into industrial areas is regarded as a key driver of industrial growth, employment creation and prosperity, and is therefore one of the core priorities of the Egyptian Government. Sustainable Industrial Areas with their reputation in Good Governance, Resource and Energy Efficiency, Environmental Protection and Social Standards are attractive for modern investment decisions.
- Developing SME
SME contribute significantly to employment generation and the strengthening of domestic value creation. They facilitate innovation spillover effects and ensure in parks a robust supply of goods and services needed for the functioning of related enterprises inside the park. The sheltered environment and the strong support of the park management in a sustainable industrial area is able to meet in particular the needs of small and medium scale enterprises (SME) and support their interaction with the larger players in the park.
- Promoting Employment
Population growth and the increasing demand for jobs give also responsibility to industrial areas to supply a significant amount of jobs. Apart from the bare numbers of jobs, Sustainable Industrial Areas intend to create jobs of social quality. Together with additional jobs needed by the social infrastructure and various services provided by the park, SIA are able to contribute significantly to employment generation.
The conference addressed the following target groups:
- Representatives of National Government
- Representatives of Foreign Governments
- Owners; developers, operators and tenants of industrial parks and areas
- Industrial chambers and associations
- Partners of GIZ programs
- National and international key actors/resource persons related to industrial areas and climate change
- Financing organizations
Since sustainability is an important issue for GIZ, PSME, EP, Egyptian Government and the entire SIA community, the organisers of the conference intended to integrate sustainability aspects into the conference planning and while the conference takes place. In this respect, important features are:
Minimising transport during conference
- Accommodation was provided (except one Hotel) at or in walking distance to the conference venue
- Joint collection services was organised from and to Cairo Airport.
Reducing waste generation
- Conference rooms was equipped with color-coded waste bins for waste separation
- Writing pads provided to the participants were made from recycling paper.
- to order vegetarian food for their meals
- to sort their waste
- to use few or no plastic bottle for drinks
- to switch off electricity when leaving their hotel rooms
- to save water during showering and toilet use
- to use hotel towels several days
- to use the provided bus shuttle or public transport when moving through the city.