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close this bookSteering Business Toward Sustainability (UNU, 1995, 191 pages)
close this folderPart three: Implementation
close this folder10. Industrial clusters of the twenty-first century
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentZero defects, zero inventory, zero emissions
View the documentFront-end solutions versus end-of-the-pipe solutions
View the documentEconomies of scale
View the documentWill Japan embrace the zero concept?
View the documentThe new clusters
View the documentRecycling of ink and paper
View the documentForestry, perfumes, and preservatives
View the documentSugar, cleansing materials, water softeners and compostable plastics
View the documentBeer, salmon, and cattle
View the documentMore to come
View the documentRethinking industrial policies
View the documentCuffing government costs
View the documentRevitalizing the inner cities
View the documentThe case of China
View the documentThe role of the United Nations University
View the documentConclusion

Cuffing government costs

This "cradle to cradle" concept represents new dynamics in the market. It will change the face of industry. The first one to benefit is the government (industrial policy makers and city authorities) and thus the tax payer. Indeed, if industry over the next two decades adopts zero emissions as a standard, then we will observe one of the biggest cuts in government budgets: i.e., the elimination of the need to invest in expensive infrastructure for handling the solid and other wastes produced by ordinary industries.

Let us face the facts. An industrial park requires today a massive up-front investment from local and national governments. The construction of the industrial sewage system, high-volume and high-pressure fresh water supply, high-voltage electricity, stabilized roads, and the like are multi-million dollar investments made decades in advance. Without these investments, no industry would even consider establishing an operation.

But, consider the following possibility: industry reduces water consumption by a factor of ten, has no need for an industrial sewage system because it reuses all waste water itself, energy efficiency is improved by a factor of five, and manufacturing is decentralized instead of highly centralized so that there is no need for high voltage. This changes the face of the industrial parks' infrastructural outlay and the budget needed to prepare for the investments. It has been estimated by the author that as much as 80% of the typical investment needed to prepare an area as an industrial park can be eliminated.