Inter-firm Collaboration toward a Local Sound Material-cycle Society : A Case of the "Tomakomai Zero Emission Network" in Hokkaido, Japan

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Other Title
  • 循環型地域社会の形成をめざす企業間連携 : 「苫小牧ゼロエミッションネットワーク」の活動と参加企業の環境政策実践
  • ジュンカンガタ チイキ シャカイ ノ ケイセイ オ メザス キギョウカン レンケイ トマコマイ ゼロエミッション ネットワーク ノ カツドウ ト サンカ キギョウ ノ カンキョウ セイサク ジッセン

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Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to depict an inter-firm collaboration toward a local sound material-cycle society and to examine its possibility for promoting regional development. Japanese government launched "Eco Town Program" in 1997 in order to "promote local economic stimulation through fostering environmental businesses that utilize the strengths of local industries, and to create resource-recycling socioeconomic systems by promoting local approaches for recycling and suppressing the generation of waste." The Ministry of Economy, Trade and Industry and the Ministry of the Environment jointly have approved "Eco Town Plans" of 13 municipalities and 10 prefectures as of February in 2005. On the other hand, eight companies, which have become to be located in Tomakomai, Hokkaido in Japan, through the inviting policy by the local authorities, established a collaborating network for promoting zero-emission activities in September, 2001. The idea of the collaboration stems from Toyota Motor Hokkaido, Inc. This company proposed seven companies located in its vicinity to establish a voluntary association for research and collaboration for environmental problems. Among them, there are companies which engage themselves with disposing of industrial wastes. Some companies insisted on making the association's object more clear-cut. As a result, they established "Tomakomai Zero Emission Network" in order to realize the zero emission in their own company respectively as well as to contribute to the creation of a local sound material-cycle society. Although this network has nothing to do with the "Eco Town Program" of the Japanese government, this is the very reason why we pay attention to the initiative of the private companies. The Japanese government hopes that the local governments play a central role for the "Eco Town Plans". But it could not be possible to create a local sound material-cycle society without active participation of citizens and private companies in the activities of reducing, reusing and recycling of materials. It may well be significant to examine how such a voluntary collaboration of private companies can contribute to the promotion of the local society both in economic and environmental senses. The members of the network had monthly meetings in 2001 and 2002, and bimonthly meetings in 2003. The frequency of the meeting was reduced to once every three months. They mutually reported on their own waste problems and discussed to each other how to resolve them. They jointly visited some companies which had been in advance in terms of environmental actions and are located outside of Tomakomai to learn the developed methods of waste disposition. Stimulated through these network activities, all the companies have drastically reduced the waste to be landfilled. They could reduce, reuse and recycle solid wastes more efficiently than before. A member company found a new recycling method of some sort of waste with the collaboration of another member. Most of the network members dispose of fluorescent lamps and batteries collectively to reduce the transaction and transportation cost. Scale economies work for this project. The leader of the network, Toyota Motor Hokkaido, Inc. had already attained the zero emission in the sense of less than five per cent of landfill wastes to all the wastes, before the establishment of the network in 2001. It has had a much higher level of objective to halve the wastes to be incinerated. It successfully attained this objective in 2004. Therefore, the network activities have been very successful for the management of each company. Nevertheless, some very difficult themes are left such as recycling of a specific industrial wastewater. It may be impossible to resolve the problems only within the network. In spite of some problems, we expect that the network activities will develop to create social capital for the local society. But it is still an open question, because the frequency of the meeting of

Journal

  • 経済志林

    経済志林 73 (1・2), 123-177, 2005-07-30

    法政大学経済学部学会

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