Green theme: Environment++: Research collaboration at Aalborg Port accelerates companies' business
A large number of Aalborg-based companies have joined forces in the project Miljø++, which aims to make the Aalborg East business area a national and international model for circular economy, industrial symbiosis and green business models.
The Port of Aalborg is an important incubator for sustainable growth and job creation for the region's businesses. And the port is aware of this responsibility. The strategy for the Port of Aalborg's future is therefore to take a broad view and create synergies between the companies at the port and in the surrounding area. In this way, the Port of Aalborg will develop into something more than a traditional landlord port.
"The Port of Aalborg is an opportunity machine that, among other things, measures itself on how many concepts, networks and collaborations are developed for the port's companies and for the city as a whole rather than just looking at the volume of goods," says Claus Holstein, CEO of Aalborg Port A/S, and he is supplemented by Jesper Raakjær, Head of Development and HR at Aalborg Port A/S:
"The Port of Aalborg works on the basis of the strategy concept 'The Intelligent Port'. The Intelligent Port is an innovation system where companies together and individually can create profits because the Port of Aalborg provides the right framework and network at the right time."
Directly derived from the strategy, the port started the project Environment++ two years ago in collaboration with Aalborg Municipality and the Danish Center for Environmental Assessment (DCEA) at Aalborg University.
Project Sustainable Synergies
One of the main objectives of Environment++ is to create sustainable collaborations among the companies in 9220 Aalborg East. This is expressed, among other things, in a sub-project of Environment++ called Sustainable Synergies. The project aims to promote sustainable growth by facilitating the development of new, green business models among local companies that enter into industrial symbioses to achieve higher energy and resource efficiency - and thus competitive advantages.
"Through open and trusting collaboration, we are creating new standards for symbioses in the field of resources and strategic planning of municipal frameworks. We develop the models, but we also implement them," explains Lone Kørnøv, Professor at Aalborg University.
Industrial PhD Lucia Mortensen, who also works actively within the framework of Environment++, has studied the preconditions for industrial symbioses to emerge and succeed.
"The economic and environmental benefits of entering into industrial symbioses are significant. The study has shown that the significant factors include regulation, financing, the technical infrastructure, and social and cultural factors. In addition to these case-specific factors, organizational factors are very important. These factors relate, for example, to the organizations that think strategically in symbioses. They have a positive organizational attitude towards environmentally sound solutions. They are open to new collaborations and are willing to open up to other relationships and knowledge exchange. They also have an interest in developing sustainable business models and recognize the need for change and flexibility," says Lucia Mortensen.
Port of Aalborg as an incubation platform
Common to successful industrial symbioses is a high degree of trust, openness and willingness to formulate and pursue shared visions.
"But these factors do not necessarily emerge and unfold on their own. It is important to have a facilitator or coordinator who can support the development in the right direction. In many ways, this role is well suited to the Port of Aalborg, as on the one hand we are outsiders, but on the other hand we have deeply specialized knowledge and are a partner in areas such as authorities, environment, logistics and cooperation," says Lucia Mortensen.
She has therefore investigated the Port of Aalborg's role as a facilitator in some basic areas: building knowledge and competencies for industrial symbioses and strategic networking by organizing various networking events where the drive, will and desire for new collaborations are nurtured. In addition, the port often has a role in network monitoring and finally ensuring that the cooperation between the different actors continues after the first contact has been established.
"The Port of Aalborg is an incubation platform that not only helps companies come together in sustainable symbioses, but also helps facilitate further collaboration, including through support in finding funding opportunities. Environment++ motivates companies' drive, will and desire to make a difference in their own way and to do business in their area AND together with others," concludes Lucia Mortensen.
FACTS about Miljø++
Miljø++ is an ambitious, strategic collaboration between the Port of Aalborg, the City of Aalborg and the Danish Center for Environmental Assessment at Aalborg University. The aim is to make the business area around the Port of Aalborg in Aalborg East a national and international model for circular economy, industrial symbiosis and green business models. The way to achieve this is through mutually binding partnerships between local actors that benefit all involved and help create an attractive business area with sustainable companies and desirable jobs - and which can spread to the entire Aalborg area and the region. See more at www.miljoplusplus.com.