Project encourages companies to ponder their environmental resilience

ResilieNtWeb, an Interreg IVB North West Europe programme project that started in autumn 2010, aims to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in the construction, food and tourism sectors to develop their eco-innovation capacities so that they will be more resilient in the face of economic, environmental and social change.

The project is based on the idea that resilience and sustainability will be the two major features of tomorrow’s successful companies.

The project has developed a Sustainable and Strategic Eco-innovation Toolkit to help SMEs think about their long-term sustainability. To test the toolkit, ResilieNtWeb is recruiting companies and providing a tailor-made, free of charge, resilience consultancy service. ResilieNtWEB partners help companies to review their existing products and processes and consider how they can be turned into eco-innovations. The project plans to work with about 60 companies up to the end of 2014. A documentation of results will be available in early or mid-2015.

Aya Takagi, a research engineer at CRP Henri Tudor, a Luxembourg research centre and ResilieNtWEB partner, said that, “companies must find ways to sustain and grow their business. But sustainable development is a complex subject and companies may have trouble to find the approach that best suits their business among the multitude of approaches, tools, guides and expertise available in the market in this area.” ResilieNtWEB will help participating companies to find their way through the maze.

The project’s lead partner is Bruxelles Environnement, the public environment and energy agency for Brussels, Belgium. Bruxelles Environnement has a target to work with 26 companies in Brussels on issues such as circular material flows, sustainable sources of supply, and incorporating customer awareness about sustainability into their product offerings.

One SME working with ResilieNtWEB is catering company Choux de Bruxelles, which with Bruxelles Environnement is setting up an urban greenhouse at its premises to cultivate fruit and vegetables that will be used to supply events in the same building. The greenhouse will make use of waste heat and will reuse wastewater. Different cultivation methods, such as aquaponics and hydroponics, will be tested, and the greenhouse will specialise in “forgotten vegetables” such as black salsify or Jerusalem artichoke.

Companies interested in working with ResilieNtWEB can visit the project website for an online “resilience and sustainability quick scan” that will help the project to identify potential topics to work on.