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Special Issue "Life Cycle Thinking and Industrial Symbiosis: Challenges for A Sustainable Growth"

A special issue of Sustainability (ISSN 2071-1050).

Deadline for manuscript submissions: 30 June 2019

Special Issue Editors

Guest Editor
Prof. Roberta Salomone

Department of Economics, University of Messina
Website | E-Mail
Interests: life cycle assessment (LCA); life cycle sustainability assessment (LCA, LCC e S-LCA); product oriented environmental management system; industrial symbiosis; circular economy; integrated approaches of environmental management and assessment tools
Guest Editor
Prof. Andrea Raggi

Department of Economic Studies, University "G. d'Annunzio"
Website | E-Mail
Interests: environmental management systems; life cycle sustainability assessment; industrial ecology
Guest Editor
Dr. Laura Cutaia

Italian National agency for new technologies, Energy and sustainable economic development (ENEA)
Website | E-Mail
Interests: life cycle assessment (LCA); life cycle sustainability assessment; industrial ecology; industrial symbiosis; circular economy
Guest Editor
Dr. Andrea Cecchin

Archives of Sustainability, Ca Foscari University of Venice
Website | E-Mail
Interests: sustainable resource management; circular economy in developing countries; waste management and policy; sustainability in construction; community-based participatory research; adaptive governance
Guest Editor
Dr. Pauline Deutz

School of Environmental Sciences, University of Hull
Website | E-Mail
Interests: circular economy; industrial symbiosis; governance; human geography; qualitative research; social implications

Special Issue Information

Dear Colleagues,

We are pleased to invite you to submit articles for a Special Issue on “Life Cycle Thinking and Industrial Symbiosis: Challenges for a Sustainable Growth”, by June 30, 2019.

We believe that the Life Cycle Thinking (LCT) approach is an essential part of Industrial Symbiosis experiences, supporting the transition to the traditional focus on a single production facility to the system vision that includes environmental, social and economic impacts of a product over its entire life cycle and that improves synergies among different organizations.

Starting from this belief, this Special Issue covers discussions on methodologies and practices for sustainability and Circular Economy based on the implementation of Life Cycle Thinking in Industrial Symbiosis challenges, which include but are not limited to:

  • Role of LCT in planning, implementing and assessing industrial symbiosis challenges
  • Investigating Industrial Symbiosis thought Life Cycle Assessment
  • Investigating Industrial Symbiosis thought Life Cycle Costing
  • Investigating Industrial Symbiosis thought Social-Life Cycle Assessment
  • Circular Economy and Life Cycle Thinking
  • Local sustainability and Life Cycle Thinking

We would like to invite you to share a wide range of studies, experiences and knowledge that helps to promote sustainability issues (not limited only to environmental aspects but also covering social and economic aspects) linking life cycle thinking and industrial symbiosis.

In recognition of the fact that the benefits sought are diverse, contributions from various sectors are welcome. Special encouragement goes to the papers that extend the presentations from the 24th International Sustainable Development Research Society Conference “Actions for a Sustainable World: from Theory to Practice” (ISDRS 2018).

Prof. Roberta Salomone
Prof. Andrea Raggi
Dr. Laura Cutaia
Dr. Andrea Cecchin
Dr. Pauline Deutz
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 semimonthly 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 1700 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.


  • Life Cycle Thinking/Management
  • Life Cycle Assessment
  • Life Cycle Costing
  • Social LCA
  • Supply Chain Management
  • Material/Energy Efficiency
  • Industrial Ecology
  • Industrial Symbiosis
  • Circular Economy
  • Sustainable Development Goals
  • Sustainable consumption and production.

Published Papers (1 paper)

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Open AccessArticle Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics, a Strategy to Accomplish Complex Analysis: The Dunkirk Case Study
Sustainability 2019, 11(7), 1971; https://doi.org/10.3390/su11071971
Received: 27 January 2019 / Revised: 28 March 2019 / Accepted: 29 March 2019 / Published: 3 April 2019
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Industrial symbiosis (IS) is presented as an inter-firm organizational strategy with the aim of social innovation that targets material and energy flow optimization but also structural sustainability. In this paper, we present geographical proximity as the theoretical framework used to analyse industrial symbiosis [...] Read more.
Industrial symbiosis (IS) is presented as an inter-firm organizational strategy with the aim of social innovation that targets material and energy flow optimization but also structural sustainability. In this paper, we present geographical proximity as the theoretical framework used to analyse industrial symbiosis through a methodology based on System Dynamics and the underpinning use of Causal Loop Diagrams, aiming to identify the main drivers and hindrances that reinforce or regulate the industrial symbiosis’s sustainability. The understanding of industrial symbiosis is embedded in a theoretical framework that conceptualizes industry as a complex ecosystem in which proximity analysis and stakeholder theory are determinant, giving this methodology a comparative advantage over descriptive statistical forecasting, because it is able to integrate social causal rationality when forecasting attractiveness in a region or individual firm’s potential. A successful industrial symbiosis lasts only if it is able to address collective action problems. The stakeholders’ influence then becomes essential to the complex understanding of this institution, because by shaping individual behaviour in a social context, industrial symbiosis provides a degree of coordination and cooperation in order to overcome social dilemmas for actors who cannot achieve their own goals alone. The proposed narrative encourages us to draw up scenarios, integrating variables from different motivational value dimensions: efficiency, resilience, cooperation and proximity in the industrial symbiosis. We use the Dunkirk case study to explain the role of geographical systems analysis, identifying loops that reinforce or regulate the sustainability of industrial symbiosis and identifying three leverage points: “Training, workshop and education programs for managers and directors,” “Industrial symbiosis governance” and “Agreements in waste regulation conflicts.” The social dynamics aims for the consolidation of the network, through stakeholder interaction and explains the local success and failure of every industrial symbiosis through a system dynamics analysis. Full article

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