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Special Issue "Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050). This special issue belongs to the section "Economic, Business and Management Aspects of Sustainability".

Deadline for manuscript submissions: closed (31 March 2017)

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Dr. Marian Chertow

Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies, Yale University, 195 Prospect Street, New Haven, CT 06511, USA
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +1-203-432-6197
Fax: +1-203-432-5556
Interests: industrial ecology; industrial symbiosis; business and environment; waste management; urban sustainability
Guest Editor
Dr. Frank Boons

Sustainable Consumption Institute & Manchester Business School, University of Manchester, 188 Waterloo Place, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9PL, UK
Website | E-Mail
Phone: +44-161-275-0189
Interests: innovation and sustainability; changing consumption and production systems; social process analysis; sustainable business models
Guest Editor
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ioppolo

Department of Economics, University of Messina, Piazza Pugliatti 1, Messina, Italy
Website | E-Mail
Interests: Environmental Management; Industrial Ecology; Environmental Governance; Local Development

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

This Special Issue seeks to deepen knowledge of industrial symbiosis, a prominent concept in industrial ecology focusing on networks of firms that share physical resources including water, energy, and by-product materials. These networks, and the processes through which they are generated, display a complexity and variety that is still poorly understood. This situation has hampered the ability of the scholarly community to explore and capture the similarities and differences across these variants. Therefore, articles are requested that focus on different ways that industrial symbiosis emerges and also how it develops over time relying on empirical methods both quantitative and qualitative. We use the concept of dynamics to portray the pathways through which the process of industrial symbiosis unfolds. Six dynamics have been proposed previously: Self-organization, organizational boundary change, facilitation, pilot projects and dissemination, government planning, and eco-cluster development where resource exchange is also pursued (see Boons et al. 2016).

Papers are sought that: (1) expand on dynamic processes and network outcomes; (2) offer new reflections on emergence, development and/or decline; (3) provide comparative analysis of dynamics across cultural and institutional settings; (4) examine barriers to comparative analysis; and (5) present other conceptual configurations in industrial symbiosis.

Selected papers are subject to a rigorous peer-review procedure with the aim of rapid and wide dissemination of research results, developments, and applications.

Dr. Marian Chertow
Dr. Frank Boons
Prof. Dr. Giuseppe Ioppolo
Guest Editors

Manuscript Submission Information

Manuscripts should be submitted online at www.mdpi.com by registering and logging in to this website. Once you are registered, click here to go to the submission form. Manuscripts can be submitted until the deadline. All papers will be peer-reviewed. Accepted papers will be published continuously in the journal (as soon as accepted) and will be listed together on the special issue website. Research articles, review articles as well as short communications are invited. For planned papers, a title and short abstract (about 100 words) can be sent to the Editorial Office for announcement on this website.

Submitted manuscripts should not have been published previously, nor be under consideration for publication elsewhere (except conference proceedings papers). All manuscripts are thoroughly refereed through a single-blind peer-review process. A guide for authors and other relevant information for submission of manuscripts is available on the Instructions for Authors page. Sustainability is an international peer-reviewed open access monthly journal published by MDPI.

Please visit the Instructions for Authors page before submitting a manuscript. The Article Processing Charge (APC) for publication in this open access journal is 1400 CHF (Swiss Francs). Submitted papers should be well formatted and use good English. Authors may use MDPI's English editing service prior to publication or during author revisions.

References

Boons, F., Chertow, M, Spekkink, W, Park, J., Shi, H. (2016). Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics and the Problem of Equivalence: Proposal for a Comparative Framework. Journal of Industrial Ecology (in press. Article will be made available through Researchgate).

Keywords

  • industrial symbiosis;
  • industrial ecology;
  • inter-firm cooperation;
  • emergence and development;
  • resource sharing;
  • comparative analysis

Published Papers (9 papers)

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Research

Open AccessArticle Organizational Boundary Change in Industrial Symbiosis: Revisiting the Guitang Group in China
Sustainability 2017, 9(7), 1085; doi:10.3390/su9071085
Received: 28 March 2017 / Revised: 13 June 2017 / Accepted: 16 June 2017 / Published: 22 June 2017
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Abstract
This study revisits the Guitang Group, one of the best known industrial symbiosis cases in the sugar industry. Our goal is to offer an evolutionary understanding of industrial symbiosis at the Guitang Group. This article focuses on the organizational boundary change of the
[...] Read more.
This study revisits the Guitang Group, one of the best known industrial symbiosis cases in the sugar industry. Our goal is to offer an evolutionary understanding of industrial symbiosis at the Guitang Group. This article focuses on the organizational boundary change of the Guitang Group over time, and acknowledges this process as one of the seven industrial symbiosis dynamics proposed by Boons et al. We offer a historical view of the critical forces behind Guitang’s industrial symbiosis evolution since the 1950s; particularly how these changes were influenced by broader economic and institutional contexts of importance in China. These insights include the role of institutionalized research and development (R&D) as well as technology-oriented leadership as driving forces for Guitang’s innovation, particularly since the 1990s, when greater efficiency and productivity were emphasized, leading to the establishment of further symbiotic relationships in the company’s evolutionary process. As a result, the Guitang Group grew from 2 internal to 11 internal and external symbiotic exchanges and is now a conglomeration with more than 3000 employees generating more than 1 billion RMB (150 million USD) in revenue annually. The driving forces of the Guitang Group’s industrial symbiosis evolution helped to create, disseminate and share information by continuously reinforcing the industrial symbiosis message as part of the Guitang Group’s business model and competitive strategy. In addition, state-level policies such as establishing the Guigang (the city where Guitang is located) Eco-Industrial Park enabled industrial symbiosis in Guitang. This study provides prospects for future research on the organizational boundary change dynamic of industrial symbiosis in the sugar manufacturing industry and beyond. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Developing and Understanding Design Interventions in Relation to Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 826; doi:10.3390/su9050826
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 10 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 16 May 2017
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Abstract
Symbiotic Urban Agriculture Networks (SUANs) are a specific class of symbiotic networks that intend to close material and energy loops from cities and urban agriculture. Private and public stakeholders in SUANs face difficulties in the implementation of technological and organisational design interventions due
[...] Read more.
Symbiotic Urban Agriculture Networks (SUANs) are a specific class of symbiotic networks that intend to close material and energy loops from cities and urban agriculture. Private and public stakeholders in SUANs face difficulties in the implementation of technological and organisational design interventions due to the complex nature of the agricultural and urban environment. Current research on the dynamics of symbiotic networks, especially Industrial Symbiosis (IS), is based on historical data from practice, and provides only partly for an understanding of symbiotic networks as a sociotechnical complex adaptive system. By adding theory and methodology from Design Science, participatory methods, and by using agent-based modelling as a tool, prescriptive knowledge is developed in the form of grounded and tested design rules for SUANs. In this paper, we propose a conceptual Design Science method with the aim to develop an empirically validated participatory agent-based modelling strategy that guides sociotechnical design interventions in SUANs. In addition, we present a research agenda for further strategy, design intervention, and model development through case studies regarding SUANs. The research agenda complements the existing analytical work by adding a necessary Design Science approach, which contributes to bridging the gap between IS dynamics theory and practical complex design issues. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Industrial Symbiosis in the Upper Valley: A Study of the Casella-Hypertherm Recycling Partnership
Sustainability 2017, 9(5), 806; doi:10.3390/su9050806
Received: 1 April 2017 / Revised: 22 April 2017 / Accepted: 10 May 2017 / Published: 12 May 2017
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Abstract
The Casella-Hypertherm Recycling Partnership (CHRP) is a collaboration between a waste management company and a manufacturer that has created a unique recycling environment for companies in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire. This article presents the CHRP as a novel
[...] Read more.
The Casella-Hypertherm Recycling Partnership (CHRP) is a collaboration between a waste management company and a manufacturer that has created a unique recycling environment for companies in the Upper Valley region of Vermont and New Hampshire. This article presents the CHRP as a novel form of industrial symbiosis (IS) using the recently published theoretical framework of IS dynamics proposed by Boons et al. We present this partnership in the academic literature for the first time and also gauge the adequacy of the typology when faced with a new model of IS. We argue that the CHRP exhibits qualities of multiple dynamics, and may in fact be an example of a new dynamic which we call “active facilitation”. Finally, the article also contributes evidence to the Boons et al. generative research question about the relationship between initial conditions and specific dynamics by analyzing the context in which the CHRP emerged. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Life and Death of Industrial Ecosystems
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 605; doi:10.3390/su9040605
Received: 9 February 2017 / Revised: 23 March 2017 / Accepted: 7 April 2017 / Published: 13 April 2017
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Abstract
Self-organized industrial ecosystems (SOIEs) refer to communities of firms in diverse industries that spontaneously engage in Industrial Symbiosis (IS); that is, firms independently develop bilateral and multi-lateral interactions involving material, energy, and knowledge sharing for individual and collective benefit. Like biological ecosystems, self-organized
[...] Read more.
Self-organized industrial ecosystems (SOIEs) refer to communities of firms in diverse industries that spontaneously engage in Industrial Symbiosis (IS); that is, firms independently develop bilateral and multi-lateral interactions involving material, energy, and knowledge sharing for individual and collective benefit. Like biological ecosystems, self-organized industrial ecosystems must constantly respond to external perturbations. Resilience of SOIEs, or the ability of systems to maintain structure and function in response to perturbations, has been the focus of a few recent studies. However, these studies have only examined the network characteristics for resilience of IS in a static manner. The current study contributes to this emerging literature by examining the dynamics associated with growth (life) and demise (death) of self-organized industrial ecosystems in light of changing network dynamics and external perturbations, with emphasis on material and socio-economic aspects of connectivity between firms. This research is grounded in real world cases, but expands beyond these through hypothetical network models in order to ascertain the network characteristics that lead to more resilient structures and outcomes. A key distinction is made between SOIEs that include an anchor firm versus scavenger firms. The former typically involve a scale-free network structure where new member firms preferentially connect to actors with the most connections, while the latter involve more random, fully-connected networks where new member firms connect with multiple existing actors. The results imply that resilience of SOIEs do not arise from intrinsic properties of the system alone, but from the interplay of network topology with external social and ecological constraints. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Long Distance Trade, Locational Dynamics and By-Product Development: Insights from the History of the American Cottonseed Industry
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 579; doi:10.3390/su9040579
Received: 8 December 2016 / Revised: 6 March 2017 / Accepted: 31 March 2017 / Published: 11 April 2017
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Abstract
Using the historical development of the American cottonseed value chain as a case study, we show that the factors usually deemed significant in the spontaneous development of localized industrial symbiosis (e.g., high volumes of potentially valuable yet environmentally problematic residuals, an economically diverse
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Using the historical development of the American cottonseed value chain as a case study, we show that the factors usually deemed significant in the spontaneous development of localized industrial symbiosis (e.g., high volumes of potentially valuable yet environmentally problematic residuals, an economically diverse industrial base, as well as personal interactions and short mental distances between economic actors) have long been observed at much larger geographical scales. Like cereal grains and livestock, but unlike unprocessed residuals (e.g., residual steam and gas), the development of by-products out of cottonseed further involved numerous intermediaries and steps through which a complex raw material was broken down into various components that were then often (re)combined with other materials in remote locations. Additionally, because of the insufficient size and/or demand by domestic consumers, distant markets proved crucial at an early stage. We suggest that self-organizing and market-driven long-distance recovery linkages warrant more attention on the part of industrial symbiosis theorists, especially in terms of the technical, economic, geospatial, social and institutional conditions required for their emergence. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Coordination of Industrial Symbiosis through Anchoring
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 549; doi:10.3390/su9040549
Received: 13 February 2017 / Revised: 17 March 2017 / Accepted: 27 March 2017 / Published: 5 April 2017
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Abstract
This paper aims to contribute to understanding the dynamics of industrial symbiosis. More specifically, we focus on the dynamics of anchoring as they can be observed in the Chinese context of eco-industrial development. We define anchoring as those activities that (typically local) actors
[...] Read more.
This paper aims to contribute to understanding the dynamics of industrial symbiosis. More specifically, we focus on the dynamics of anchoring as they can be observed in the Chinese context of eco-industrial development. We define anchoring as those activities that (typically local) actors perform to create local physical and institutional conditions conducive to the emergence and further development of industrial symbiosis in a specific regional industrial system. We argue that, in the study of industrial symbiosis dynamics, it is conceptually more useful to focus on anchoring as an activity, rather than anchor tenants as actors. Based on a systematic literature review, we distinguish two types of anchoring activities: institutional and physical. We analyze anchoring dynamics in the case of Qijiang Industrial Symbiosis (Chongqing Municipality) in China. We have identified the physical and institutional anchoring activities, the actors responsible for these activities, and how different anchoring activities build on each other over time. Our case study shows that the attempt to bring about industrial symbiosis in the Qijiang industrial park can be described in a richer way than just ‘governmental planning’. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Efficacy of Landfill Tax and Subsidy Policies for the Emergence of Industrial Symbiosis Networks: An Agent-Based Simulation Study
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 521; doi:10.3390/su9040521
Received: 24 January 2017 / Revised: 13 March 2017 / Accepted: 25 March 2017 / Published: 30 March 2017
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Abstract
Despite the theoretical value of industrial symbiosis (IS), this approach appears to be underdeveloped in terms of practical applications. Different attempts to stimulate IS in practice are noticed, one of them consisting in the application of adequate policy measures. This paper explores the
[...] Read more.
Despite the theoretical value of industrial symbiosis (IS), this approach appears to be underdeveloped in terms of practical applications. Different attempts to stimulate IS in practice are noticed, one of them consisting in the application of adequate policy measures. This paper explores the efficacy of two specific policies (landfill tax and economic subsidy for IS exchanges) in supporting the emergence of self-organized industrial symbiosis networks (ISNs). We frame the ISNs as complex adaptive systems and we design an agent-based model to simulate their emergence. We use a real case study and, by means of the simulation model, we assess how the two policy measures are able to enhance the formation of spontaneous IS relationships, thereby forcing the emergence of the ISN. Results show that both policy measures have a positive effect in all scenarios considered, but the extent is strictly dependent on the environmental conditions in which IS relationships occur. The economic implications for the government are finally discussed. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Early Front-End Innovation Decisions for Self-Organized Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics—A Case Study on Lignin Utilization
Sustainability 2017, 9(4), 515; doi:10.3390/su9040515
Received: 31 January 2017 / Revised: 22 March 2017 / Accepted: 25 March 2017 / Published: 29 March 2017
Cited by 1 | PDF Full-text (1228 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
The emergence of self-organized industrial symbiosis (IS) is based on the expectations of industrial actors regarding financial and/or environmental benefits through symbiotic inter-company linkages. One such linkage is the exchange of by-products as substitutes for primary raw materials. However, the company generating the
[...] Read more.
The emergence of self-organized industrial symbiosis (IS) is based on the expectations of industrial actors regarding financial and/or environmental benefits through symbiotic inter-company linkages. One such linkage is the exchange of by-products as substitutes for primary raw materials. However, the company generating the by-product may even not be aware of potential application fields in other industries. In cases where the by-product triggers an innovation, the very early phase of the innovation process (“early front-end”—EFE) is extremely important, as it is here that a first rough picture of future application fields must be defined. In contrast to traditional market innovations of industries, the EFE of IS innovations is triggered by the existence of a certain by-product. As conventional innovation models are not very helpful in supporting the EFE decisions in IS innovations, our paper aims to establish a link between self-organized IS and innovation by creating a specific theoretical framework for the support of EFE decisions. We thus introduce the “stage-gate model of self-organized IS innovations” and place a particular emphasis on the early phases within this model. Subsequently, we illustrate the application of the early phases of the model in a case study on lignin utilization in the Austrian paper and pulp industry (P&P industry). In this way, the study contributes to a better understanding of the peculiarities and conditions of EFE decisions in IS innovations and their significance in the emergence of self-organized IS networks. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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Open AccessArticle Industrial Symbiosis, Networking and Innovation: The Potential Role of Innovation Poles
Sustainability 2017, 9(2), 169; doi:10.3390/su9020169
Received: 17 November 2016 / Revised: 16 January 2017 / Accepted: 19 January 2017 / Published: 24 January 2017
Cited by 11 | PDF Full-text (531 KB) | HTML Full-text | XML Full-text
Abstract
In the literature, there is much debate on how to make Industrial Symbiosis (IS) successful and on the factors that may potentially affect its implementation, including networking and innovation. They have so far found limited space for investigation in favor of other technical
[...] Read more.
In the literature, there is much debate on how to make Industrial Symbiosis (IS) successful and on the factors that may potentially affect its implementation, including networking and innovation. They have so far found limited space for investigation in favor of other technical and economic aspects, such as the nature of the processes involved, regulatory issues, economic feasibility, and stakeholders involvement. However, in some cases, they may become relevant, especially when considered together and in their synergistic interaction. An interesting context to be considered in this respect is that of the Innovation Poles (IPs), which are government-sponsored consortia, created within EU programs with the objective of stimulating innovation within network of organizations and that promote the competitiveness in specific industries or value-chains at a local or regional level. In the present article, we firstly discuss how these topics have been so far addressed in IS studies, and then we analyze the main features of the IP model with the aim to understand if, and through which mechanisms, it can contribute to the development and spread of IS. A literature overview through desktop analysis and direct research, which particularly focused on the Italian IPs, provided the knowledge basis of the study. The results highlight the positive role that the IP model could play, both for its institutional activity of production and dissemination of knowledge and innovation, and, mostly, if considered as an applicative context for IS. Full article
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Diverse Dynamics of Industrial Symbiosis: Emergence and Development)
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