Online tool opens new Sudbury business opportunities.
The 12-member Eco-Industrial Committee, an arm of the GSDC, has been working to develop an initial database of 100 local businesses across a variety of sectors, whose locations, by-products and needs will then be plugged into an online mapping tool. More businesses are expected to participate as the project moves forward, with the tool allowing them to log in and add information themselves.
"Sudbury is leading the way on a regional scale," says Tracy Casavant, president, Eco-Industrial Solutions. "It's the first municipality to develop a publically accessible software tool to have this kind of capability."
This tool, which is slated to be implemented and released in the coming spring, will allow local companies to search through the listed criteria and view their locations on a scalable map. Interested parties will then be able to work together from that point in order to develop eco-industries by considering ways to maximize or recycle the use of waste.
"The synergy-finding tool will help businesses find other business to reduce energy, costs and environmental impacts," says Gil Rinaldi, chair of the GSDC's Eco-Industrial Committee.
"It's a unique opportunity for the city and one that's sorely needed."
As an example of one such eco-industry, Rinaldi points to a hypothetical company, which creates a great deal of steam as a by-product of its daily business. Through the use of this online database, this company could seek out additional businesses and form a cluster in order to harness the steam to produce electricity, which could then be provided to the cluster in the form of power and heat.
Rinaldi also expects this tool to serve as a means of attracting additional business to the city as outside companies will use it to investigate the types of opportunities available, and what advantages and synergies can be offered.
This synergy-finding tool is a first step on a wide-ranging initiative, says Rinaldi, and while it is still in its initial stages, it will serve as a stepping stone for future, unnamed projects being pursued by the Eco-Industrial Committee. It is expected to come online in spring 2007. Developing this tool under contract from the GSDC is Vancouver-based Eco-Industrial Solutions, who has conducted a policy analysis with Fort McMurray in Alberta as well as eco-industrial assistance for the city of Regina.
Casavant says some of the potential partners who have indicated an interest in participating in the development of the project include the likes of EarthCare, Science North and Laurentian University, to name a few, These organizations in particular are expected to participate in potential research spin-offs by helping to fill some of the technological gaps involved in developing eco-industrial collaborations between different types of businesses.
By NICK STEWART
Northern Ontario Business
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|Publication:||Northern Ontario Business|
|Date:||Jan 1, 2007|
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