Consultancy project helps manufacturing companies in Flanders to make their products and production more sustainableConsultancy project helps manufacturing companies in Flanders to make their products and production more sustainable
The consultancy advice programme for manufacturing companies in Flanders, funded via the EU’s European Regional Development Fund, has benefitted the environment and the regional economy by helping companies introduce more sustainable production methods and designs for a wide range of products made from metal and polymers.
The 30-month Open Window+ project saw over 70 technology companies in Flanders receiving an environmental audit on their products and production methods and various aspects of sustainable materials technology. The audits were carried out by academics from the universities of Antwerp and Leuven along with specialists from research organisations Sirris and the Flemish Institute for Technological Development (VITO).
As a result of the environmental audits, over 30 companies in the region, from radiator manufacturers to the producers of baby feeding bottles, implemented changes to their products and/or production processes. These changes included the greater use of sustainable materials, sustainable product design, resource-efficiency and environmentally-friendly production processes. Companies were also advised on how to use more recycled materials and how to make their products more recyclable.
Companies in the region also had the opportunity to attend seminars on sustainable production methods, where attendees were able to share ideas, knowledge and best practice. The project also involved the publication and dissemination of information on sustainable production and business practices. A book about the project will be published in due course.
Project manager Stefan Milis said that the project had benefited a broad range of large companies as well as small to medium sized enterprises in Flanders. Mr Milis said he was confident that, in the long-term, the project would help to safeguard current jobs and also help to create new jobs. The project has also helped to reduce the region’s carbon dioxide emissions and the region’s eco-footprint as well as bringing long-term economic benefits to the region.
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the “Open Window+/Open Raam+” project was EUR 849 270, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 339 708 from the “Flanders” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period. The regional contribution to the project was EUR 382 171.