SUSPRO3: Generating growth through sustainable production methods
A business support programme in Flanders has given the textile, woodworking and furniture industries a competitive boost by providing small to medium sized businesses with professional advice on environmental and ecological issues.
The Flemish textile, woodworking and furniture industries have faced serious challenges in recent years and, in particular, have faced fierce competition from abroad. The sector is largely dominated by small to medium sized businesses, which, because of their relatively small size, are often unable to implement sustainable developments themselves.
For this reason, three Belgian trade bodies – Fedustria, Centexbel and the Belgian Technical Centre of Wood Transformation and Furniture (TCHN) – got together with the Flemish government and put together the SUSPRO3 programme, which stands for sustainable products, processes and profit, and aims to grow the sector through sustainable development.
The underlying belief behind SUSPRO3 is that sustainable manufacturing methods are a competitive advantage on the international stage. In particular, the project has helped manufacturers in Flanders respond to competition from low-cost countries such as China by putting a renewed emphasis on quality, environmentally-friendly production methods and adding value for customers.
Participating companies were encouraged to use recycled materials in the manufacture of their products. They were also encouraged to think about how the products that they manufacture could eventually be recycled and reused.
Sharing best practice
As part of the project, workshops were arranged on five separate themes: the environment, energy, waste management, eco-innovation systems and supply chain management. These workshops brought together participating companies and experts in a forum where information and best practice could be shared. Specialist consultants also visited participating companies with a view to offering advice on how change could be implemented to manufacturing systems.
Although the programme is open to companies throughout Flanders, most of the 150 participating companies are based in the regions of East and West Flanders, Limburg and Antwerp.
Project manager Bruno Eggermont said that SUSPRO3 had been successful in its aim of growing companies through sustainable development. “The question for companies became: how can we modify our business model so that we can add value for customers,”
Total investment and EU funding
Total investment for the project “SUSPRO3” amounted to EUR 1 100 531, of which the EU’s European Regional Development Fund contributed EUR 440 212 from the “Flanders” Operational Programme for the 2007-2013 programming period.
Related countriesAntwerpen , Belgium Limburg (B) , Belgium Oost-Vlaanderen , Belgium Vlaams Brabant , Belgium West-Vlaanderen , Belgium
FundERDF for the 2007-2013 programming period
Total InvestmentEUR 1 100 531
EU InvestmentEUR 440 212
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