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About – History
A brief look back at the history of the Zero Emissions Forum:
The United Nations University (UNU) launches a new initiative designed to investigate various approaches and technological breakthroughs requisite to the creation of a new type of industrial system. The vision is optimistic that value-added uses for waste materials can be found to realize double dividends for economy and the environment.
1994 – 1998
UNU Zero Emissions research focusses on investigating technological solutions for industry, mainly for biomass-based processes. Results include the development of the idea of the "biorefinery", through which input materials for plastics and other organic-based products are derived from plant matter.
"In order to put the Zero Emissions concept into practice, reusable materials that would have low environmental impact, as an alternative for the exhaustible engines or engines with less CO2 emissions are highly desirable; among such candidates, the most feasible resource is so-called "biomass". Human beings will establish for the time a sustainable society - the Zero Emissions society - only if we can combine biomass resources and natural engines and utilize them."
Hiroyuki Fujimura, ZEF Chairman (since 2004), Honorary Chairman, Ebara Corporation
1995 – 1998
The Emissions concept is communicated to industry, government and civil society through events such as the yearly World Congresses on Zero Emissions. As a result, many businesses, local and national government agencies and local communities, particularly in Japan, adopt Zero Emissions as a basis for activities to improve environmental performance.
Since 1999
UNU adopts a facilitating role in fostering Zero Emissions related activities through formation of a new organization: the UNU Zero Emissions Forum (ZEF). In its current form, this forum has international and Japanese components - the latter involving over 150 representatives from Japanese business, local governments, academia and NPOs. In 1999, the first ZEF office outside Japan was opened in Europe.