The original idea for NISP dates back to 1999 when International Synergies Chief Executive Peter Laybourn learned about by-product synergy activity in the Gulf of Mexico. Although an excellent idea Peter suspected that the model wasn't quite right for the UK.
After ‘germinating’ the idea for a few years, in 2003 Peter introduced NISP to the UK, piloting in three regions (West Midlands, Scotland and Yorkshire and Humber), with support from regional development agencies and the hypothecated landfill tax fund. Its immediate impact in terms of reducing landfill, carbon emissions and industry’s reliance on virgin resources brought the programme to the attention of Defra who, in 2005, invested to roll it out nationally.
From its inception, NISP was created as a business opportunity programme and the strap-line developed back in 2003 remains as relevant today: “Connecting Industry, Creating Opportunity”. NISP developed into a national network open to businesses from all industry sectors that provided a mechanism to share knowledge and ideas on how companies were addressing resource efficiency. Using this cross-sector and disruptive supply chain approach, NISP identified opportunities to reuse underused or undervalued resources, converting previously wasted materials, energy or water into bottom line benefit whilst generating environmental benefits.
In 2007 International Synergies successfully began applying the NISP model internationally, starting in Brazil, China and Mexico. NISP has now been replicated at regional and multi-regional level in 30 countries across five continents, all with support from International Synergies.
Part of NISP’s global appeal is that the facilitated industrial symbiosis approach has been proven to deliver benefits across any economy or culture (perhaps because, at its heart, industrial symbiosis is a very simple concept). In Europe International Synergies has worked in Finland and Denmark to support programmes moving from regional to national scale, with regional programmes continuing in Belgium, Hungary, Italy, Netherlands, Northern Ireland and Romania.
International Synergies is also a partner in the NISP France programme funded by ADEME and French Provinces, which was formally launched earlier this year with L'Institut de l'économie circulaire. Recent success with Horizon 2020 is enabling us to extend activity into Germany and Spain.