In the last few years, industrial resources and energy-efficiency networks such as ÖKOPROFIT, ECOfit or LEEN have developed in Europe into an effective instrument for the participation of the private sector in resource and climate protection processes, and to an important building block of sustainable economic growth. Normally, a public or private project promoter (e.g. industrial estate, environmental protection agency or trade association) invites a group of 10-15 companies from a region or industry, to join in determining the potential for an increase in operational resource and energy efficiency, and for investment in technologies and solutions.
Companies participating in the network not only benefit from the energy and cost savings realized in the context of individual specialist advice, but also from the moderated exchange of knowledge and experience with the other participating companies in joint workshops. The companies thereby receive very specific incentives for technical and organizational innovations, and a lasting improvement in operational resource and energy efficiency. The promoters use the networks to promote cooperation with the companies in terms of their resource and climate protection objectives. And technology providers can use the network as a platform, for establishing contacts with potential customers and supporting the marketing of their products and solutions in a targeted manner. Especially for small and medium-sized technology companies from Germany, resource and energy efficiency networks are very helpful in the development of new foreign markets.
We have successfully set up resource and energy-efficiency networks in almost all major developing and emerging economies (such as Brazil, India, China, South Africa, and Mexico). In doing so, we have tailored the project concept, the topics and methods to the needs of the local project partners. We already take these aspects into account in the development of a project proposal, but also during the moderation of the networks and the provision of expert advice.