Can a factory be designed like a forest?

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“When the forest and the city are functionally indistinguishable, then we know we’ve reached sustainability, ”Janine Benyus, American natural sciences writer and co-founder Biomimicry 3.8

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As a company that has used Biomimicry as a tool resulting in breakthrough design of our products and innovations like TacTiles, we are always exploring its application to our business.

Biomimicry offers a holistic and deeply rooted method for achieving true sustainability. Nature embodies more than four billion years of experience perfecting the designs and behaviours that make organisms and living systems thrive.

 

Recently, we kicked off a pilot project at our Australian factory in Minto, NSW to imagine how biomimicry could inform the management of our factory.

Humans are a young species on Earth and still have much to learn about interdependence and nature at all scales. The natural world offers a vast reference library of successful patterns and solutions that we can draw on to better design our organizations and conduct our personal lives. Biomimicry is the conscious emulation of nature’s genius in designing human systems.

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We’re asking if we can operate our factories like forests, with the ultimate goal of having a restorative impact on the surrounding environment and what will this look like. We’ll be consulting nature not only as a model, but also as a measure.

It’s a great chance to ask ourselves not only how we can further lower our factory’s environmental  footprint but how our actions on site can contribute positively to our local ecosystem and the planet. As a forest, our factory would not only be able to support itself, but also export benefits.

factory tree view

This month, we hit an important project milestone. We have selected the natural reference habitat that we will be using as a benchmark of our own success.

With the help of the Biomimcry 3.8 team, we researched local ecosystems to find a healthy, and well -functioning natural site to use as a model.  We want to measure our performance against that of Nature and to that we needed to find a good, healthy local ecosystem for comparison and to study how it works.  We finally selected the Wollemi and Yengo National Parks in NSW, as reference habitats.

wollemi National Park

Now, the Biomimcry 3.8 team is researching the site and measuring the ecosystem services that this natural area provides. This includes things like how it manages waste, water and stores carbon dioxide. Our next step will be looking at all the things this natural ecosystem can do and asking how we can apply the processes to our factory site.

We’re excited to support this pioneering approach and look forward to sharing our results.

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Read here to learn more http://www.greenbiz.com/article/can-carpet-factory-run-forest

 

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