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How can we design more sustainable industrial and urban systems that reduce environmental impacts while supporting a high quality of life for everyone? What progress has been made towards reducing resource use and waste, and what are the prospects for more resilient, material-efficient economies? What are the environmental and social impacts of global supply chains and how can they be measured and improved?

Such questions are at the heart of the emerging discipline of industrial ecology, covered in Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology. Leading authors, researchers and practitioners review how far industrial ecology has developed and current issues and concerns, with illustrations of what the industrial ecology paradigm has achieved in public policy, corporate strategy and industrial practice. It provides an introduction for students coming to industrial ecology and for professionals who wish to understand what industrial ecology can offer, a reference for researchers and practitioners and a source of case studies for teachers.

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State-of-the-Art and Discussions of Research Issues


Open Access

Chapter 1. Industrial Ecology’s First Decade

Industrial ecology can be said to have begun with a 1989 seminal publication entitled “Strategies for Manufacturing.” During the next decade, the field was initially defined and developed by researchers in industry and elsewhere who saw the opportunity for improving corporate and governmental performance related to the environment and sustainability. They introduced design for environment, industrial symbiosis, and resource use and loss assessments at national and global levels and enhanced the embryonic specialty of life-cycle assessment. In the same decade, industrial ecology became widely recognized as a scholarly specialty, with its own journals and conferences. This chapter reviews industrial ecology’s emergence and evolution, largely from a North American perspective, with emphasis on the field’s lesser-known first decade.
T. E. Graedel, R. J. Lifset

Open Access

Chapter 2. Prospective Models of Society’s Future Metabolism: What Industrial Ecology Has to Contribute

Scientific assessment of sustainable development strategies provides decision-makers with quantitative information about the strategies’ potential effect. This assessment is often done by forward-looking or prospective computer models of society’s metabolism and the natural environment. Computer models in industrial ecology (IE) have advanced rapidly over the recent years, and now, a new family of prospective models is available to study the potential effect of sustainable development strategies at full scale.
We outline general principles of prospective modeling and describe the current development status of two prospective model types: extended dynamic material flow analysis and THEMIS (Technology-Hybridized Environmental-Economic Model with Integrated Scenarios). These models combine the high level of technological detail known from life-cycle assessment (LCA) and material flow analysis (MFA) with the comprehensiveness of, respectively, dynamic stock models and input/output analysis (I/O). These models are dynamic; they build future scenarios with a time horizon until 2050 and beyond. They were applied to study the potential effect of a wide spectrum of sustainable development strategies, including renewable energy supply, home weatherization, material efficiency, and light-weighting.
We point out future applications and options for model development and discuss the relation between prospective IE models and the related concept consequential LCA (CLCA).
The prospective models for industrial ecology can answer questions that were previously in the exclusive domain of integrated assessment models (IAMs). A debate about the relation between the two model families is necessary.
We find that IAMs have a more comprehensive scope than the prospective IE models, but they often do not obey central IE principles such as the life cycle approach and mass balance consistency. Integrating core IE principles into IAMs would increase the scientific quality and policy relevance of the scenarios of society’s future metabolism generated by IAMs, while placing industrial ecology concepts more prominently at the same time. We provide a sketch of what this integration could look like.
Stefan Pauliuk, Edgar G. Hertwich

Open Access

Chapter 3. Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment: What Is It and What Are Its Challenges?

Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) has developed fast over the last three decades. Today, LCA is widely applied and used as a tool for supporting policies and performance-based regulation, notably concerning bioenergy. Over the past decade, LCA has broadened to also include life cycle costing (LCC) and social LCA (SLCA), drawing on the three-pillar or ‘triple bottom line’ model of sustainability. With these developments, LCA has broadened from merely environmental assessment to a more comprehensive life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA). LCSA has received increasing attention over the past years, while at the same time, its meaning and contents are not always sufficiently clear. In this chapter, we therefore addressed the question: what are LCSA practitioners actually doing in practice? We distinguished two sub-questions: which definition(s) do they adopt and what challenges do they face? To answer these questions, LCSA research published over the past half decade has been analysed, supplemented by a brief questionnaire to researchers and practitioners. This analysis revealed two main definitions of LCSA. Based on these two definitions, we distinguished three dimensions along which LCSA is expanding when compared to environmental LCA: (1) broadening of impacts, LCSA = LCA + LCC + SLCA; (2) broadening level of analysis, product-, sector- and economy-wide questions and analyses; and (3) deepening, including other than just technological relations, such as physical, economic and behavioural relations. From this analysis, it is clear that the vast majority of LCSA research so far has focused on the ‘broadening of impacts’ dimension. The challenges most frequently cited concern the need for more practical examples of LCSA, efficient ways of communicating LCSA results and the need for more data and methods particularly for SLCA indicators and comprehensive uncertainty assessment. We conclude that the three most crucial challenges to be addressed first are developing quantitative and practical indicators for SLCA, life cycle-based approaches to evaluate scenarios for sustainable futures and practical ways to deal with uncertainties and rebound effects.
Jeroen Guinée

Open Access

Chapter 4. Industrial Ecology and Cities

The study of cities, or urban systems, in Industrial Ecology has a peculiar history. In the 1960s, there was a false dawn for green cities in the United States under the Experimental City project, the unfulfilled plans for which included numerous aspects of Industrial Ecology (IE). When IE eventually began to form as a discipline in the 1990s, cities or urban systems were at best a fringe topic, although their importance was recognized by thought leaders in the field. The development of research on cities as a theme within IE perhaps followed with the broadening of IE to include Social Ecology. Then the study of urban metabolism, which had its own separate literature, arguably became one of the three metabolisms within IE – along with industrial and socio-economic. In this review of work on IE and cities, a Scopus search of ISI-rated publications finds over 200 papers on the topic, many of which are in the Journal of Industrial Ecology. Amongst the common themes are papers on urban industrial symbiosis, urban infrastructure frameworks, transportation, waste, energy, greenhouse gas emissions, other urban contaminants, metals, phosphorus and food in cities. The great ongoing challenge for work on IE and cities remains to understand the environmental impacts related to urban metabolism and attempt to reduce them. More specific examples of possible future work include determining potentials for city-scale industrial symbiosis and uncovering how much is occurring and exploring theoretical limits to the sustainability of cities using nonequilibrium thermodynamics.
Christopher A. Kennedy

Open Access

Chapter 5. Scholarship and Practice in Industrial Symbiosis: 1989–2014

Industrial symbiosis, a subfield of industrial ecology, engages traditionally separate industries and entities in a collaborative approach to resource sharing that benefits both the environment and the economy. This chapter examines the period 1989–2014 to “take stock” of industrial symbiosis. First, we look at the earliest days to discuss what inspired industrial symbiosis both in the scholarly literature and in practice. Next, we draw attention to certain dilemmas and sharpen the distinctions between industrial symbiosis and some related concepts such as eco-industrial parks and environmentally balanced industrial complexes. With regard to dissemination of industrial symbiosis ideas, we found that at the country level, China has now received the most attention in industrial symbiosis academic research and this continues to grow rapidly.
The final section looks at both theory (conceptual knowledge largely from academia) and practice (on-the-ground experience of public, not-for-profit, and private organizations working to implement industrial symbiosis) as both are essential to industrial symbiosis. A bibliometric analysis of the scholarly work, capturing 391 articles indexed in Scopus and Web of Science for 20 years between 1995 and 2014, is used to define and track the types of articles, how the mix of articles has changed over time, and what the most popular journals are. Taking a closer look at the research literature, distinct themes are identified and discussed such as the scale of industrial symbiosis, whether industrial symbiosis is based on planning or self-organization, the role of social factors, and what is known about the actual performance of industrial symbiosis. To assess important issues with regard to practice, we compile a list of industrial symbiosis-related events from database searches of reports, media, and key consulting and business organizations and examine trends, mechanisms, and motivations of industrial symbiosis practice by surveying key practitioners and academics.
Since 1989, there has been significant uptake of industrial symbiosis around the world as shown by the increasing number of journal articles and also events on the ground. Industrial symbiosis has become more geographically and institutionally diverse, as more organizations in more countries learn about the ideas and diffuse regionally specific versions. This presents additional opportunities to understand the phenomenon, but also makes the search to embrace a coherent framework more immediate.
Marian Chertow, Jooyoung Park

Open Access

Chapter 6. A Socio-economic Metabolism Approach to Sustainable Development and Climate Change Mitigation

Humanity faces three large challenges over the coming decades: urbanisation and industrialisation in developing countries at unprecedented levels; concurrently, we need to mitigate against dangerous climate change and we need to consider finite global boundaries regarding resource depletion.
Responses to these challenges as well as models that inform strategies are fragmented. The current mainstream framework for measuring and modelling climate change mitigation focuses on the flows of energy and emissions and is insufficient for simultaneously addressing the material and infrastructure needs of development. The models’ inability to adequately represent the multiple interactions between infrastructure stocks, materials, energy and emissions results in notable limitations. They are inadequate: (1) to identify physically realistic (mass balance consistent) mitigation pathways, (2) to anticipate potentially relevant co-benefits and risks and thus (3) to identify the most effective strategies for linking targets for climate change mitigation with goals for sustainable development, including poverty eradication, infrastructure investment and mitigation of resource depletion.
This chapter demonstrates that a metabolic approach has the potential to address urbanisation and infrastructure development and energy use and climate change, as well as resource use, and therefore to provide a framework for integrating climate change mitigation and sustainable development from a physical perspective. Metabolic approaches can represent the cross-sector coupling between material and energy use and waste (emissions) and also stocks in the anthroposphere (including fixed assets, public and private infrastructure). Stocks moderate the supply of services such as shelter, communication, mobility, health and safety and employment opportunities.
The development of anthropogenic stocks defines boundary conditions for industrial activity over time. By 2050 there will be an additional three billion urban dwellers, almost all of them in developing countries. If they are to receive the level of services converging on those currently experienced in developed nations, this will entail a massive investment in infrastructure and substantial quantities of steel, concrete and aluminium (materials that account for nearly half of industrial emissions). This scenario is confronted by the legacy of existing infrastructure and the limit of a cumulative carbon budget within which we could restrain global temperature rise to <2 °C.
A metabolic framework incorporating stock dynamics can make an explicit connection between the timing of infrastructure growth or replacement and the material and energy needs of that investment. Moreover, it provides guidance on the technical and systemic options for climate mitigation concurrent with a future of intense urban development and industrialisation.
Timothy M. Baynes, Daniel B. Müller

Open Access

Chapter 7. Stocks and Flows in the Performance Economy

The performance economy is a concept which goes beyond most interpretations of a “circular economy”: the focus is on the maintenance and exploitation of stock (mainly manufactured capital) rather than linear or circular flows of materials or energy. The performance economy represents a full shift to servicisation, with revenue obtained from providing services rather than selling goods. While the form of industrial economy which has dominated the industrialised countries since the industrial revolution is arguably appropriate to overcome scarcities in a developing economy, the performance model is applicable in economies close to saturation, when the quantities of new goods entering use are similar to the quantities of goods being scrapped at the end of life.
Key elements of the performance economy are re-use and re-manufacturing, to maintain the quality of stock and extend its service life by reducing material intensity, i.e. the material flow required to create and maintain the stock. Because material flows represent costs which reduce the revenue from service provision, business models inherent in the performance economy support the macro-level objective of extending service life and thereby minimising material intensity. Product life in the performance economy is limited by technological improvements in the efficiency of manufactured capital rather than by damage, wear or fashion.
Re-use and re-manufacturing tend to be more labour-intensive and less capital-intensive than virgin material production or primary manufacturing. This enables re-use and remanufacturing to be economically viable at smaller scales. It also enables these activities to substitute labour for energy, reversing the trend which has characterised industrial economies and offering ways to alleviate current environmental, economic and global challenges; i.e. to make the economy more sustainable. However, there are significant barriers to adoption of the performance economy model, partly because economic and business models generally focus on flows (GDP or added value) rather than prioritising the quality, value and use of stock. Promoting the performance model may require a complete re-think of public policy, away from subsiding to taxing use of non-renewable resources and away from taxing the use of renewable resources, of which labour is possibly the most important. Recent analyses of the social costs of unemployment and potential social benefits of a more resource efficient performance economy provide some of the evidence supporting a shift from flow to stock management.
Walter R. Stahel, Roland Clift

Open Access

Chapter 8. Impacts Embodied in Global Trade Flows

The steep and unprecedented growth of globalisation and trade over the last few decades has led to accelerated economic activity with mixed outcomes. Continued economic growth and alleviation of poverty in many countries has been accompanied with an overall increase and shifting of environmental pressures between countries. Industrial ecology research has contributed decisively to the knowledge around impacts in trade. This chapter summarises the latest empirical findings on global change instigated by trade, discusses new methodological developments and reflects on the sustainability of globalised production and consumption. Significant proportions of up to 64 % of total environmental, social and economic impacts can be linked to international trade. Impacts embodied in trade have grown much more rapidly than their total global counterparts. Policies aimed at increasing the sustainability of production and consumption need to go beyond domestic regulation and seek international cooperation to target production practices for exports worldwide.
Thomas Wiedmann

Open Access

Chapter 9. Understanding Households as Drivers of Carbon Emissions

Households are accountable for nearly three quarters of global carbon emissions and thus understanding the drivers of these emissions is important if we are to make progress towards a low carbon future. This chapter starts by explaining the importance of using an appropriate consumption perspective accounting framework for assessing the carbon footprint of households. This contrasts from the more commonly used production perspective, as, for many Western countries in particular, once responsibility for emissions embedded in imported goods and services are taken into account, consumption emissions are often higher than production emissions.
The chapter then reviews findings concerning the determinants and composition of the carbon footprint of households, focusing on Western countries. One of the main determinants is income, with carbon footprints increasing with increasing incomes. However, other drivers, such as household size and composition, rural/urban location, diet and type of energy supply, also play a part. Studies show that the majority of an average carbon footprint arises from three domains: transportation, housing and food. Further analyses aimed at gaining a deeper understanding of the motivations behind the activities driving emissions, in particular those due to transportation and housing, show that recreation and leisure pursuits are responsible for a substantial portion of average carbon footprints. Studies indicate, for example, that activities such as spending time with friends and family in and around the home, which are generally low carbon and also enhance well-being, should be encouraged alongside the more mainstream strategies of improving systems of provision of energy, food, housing and transportation.
The finding that income is one of the principal drivers of carbon emissions is a challenging and important issue to address, as, for instance, incomes are arguably the driver of the rebound effect – a phenomenon that confounds attempts to reduce carbon footprints, making reducing emissions more of an uphill task than often acknowledged. This challenge leads us to a wider, whole-systems approach in which we view households as an integral part of the system of production and consumption.
In summary, industrial ecology, with its wide ranging systems approach as shown in this chapter, has a great deal to contribute to the quest to devise strategies to move towards lower carbon, fulfilling lifestyles.
Angela Druckman, Tim Jackson

Open Access

Chapter 10. The Social and Solidarity Economy: Why Is It Relevant to Industrial Ecology?

The goal of this contribution is to illustrate the linkages between industrial ecology (IE) and the social and solidarity economy (SSE), an economic paradigm that is robust in terms of conceptual and historical developments, and active around the world as a social movement. The SSE includes a range of activities, such as fair trade, community currencies and some forms of peer-to-peer sharing, to name but a few. The links and tensions between SSE and IE are considered first conceptually, by uncovering the theoretical frameworks attached to each field. Three ‘solidarity’ practices are then discussed in relation to industrial ecology activities, namely: aspects of the sharing economy, community currencies and forms of crowd-funding. A main finding is that the two fields of research and practice are compatible, as neither focus on economic growth and specifically profit as an ultimate aim; yet IE prioritizes biophysical considerations, whereas the SSE places more emphasis on people and power systems, as expected. One insight gleaned through this process is that more attention could be placed on labour conditions, power relations and governance systems in industrial ecology, building on previous and ongoing work in this area.
Four main fields of inquiry emerge: understanding whether ‘solidaristic’ cooperatives and enterprises could be more receptive to industrial ecology approaches and more adept at embracing resource exchanges such as in industrial symbiosis; ascertaining to what extent companies already involved in symbiotic relations might also embody social and solidarity values, including notions of participative governance, limited profit-making, a focus on employee benefits, among others; considering certain forms of crowdfunding as an opportunity for abating economy-wide rebound effects through more socially just and environmentally sound investments; and finally, the potential for complementary currencies to work towards industrial ecology aims. One of the weaknesses of the social and solidarity economy has been that of scale, as SSE activities tend to take place on a micro-scale, with some notable exceptions. That being said, the SSE is well underway and expanding, in research and practice, presenting interesting synergies with IE and opportunities for further research and action. Bringing together IE and SSE ultimately brings to the fore a discussion around paradigms and associated values, including societal and environmental priorities which are not always aligned – raising questions around what values we wish to put forward in our economy, workplaces and society.
Marlyne Sahakian

Open Access

Chapter 11. Industrial Ecology in Developing Countries

Sustainable development is not a simple, singular and well-tested path. It needs an interdisciplinary examination of resource use patterns, ecological heritage, demographics and cultural values. Industrial ecology, owing to its emphasis on using a holistic approach, can provide a valuable platform to draw out sustainable strategies and policies for developing countries to implement. It can offer a paradigm within which IE methods and tools can inform responses to local development challenges. Within this paradigm, sustainable industrial, rural and urban development strategies and policies in developing countries should follow from IE research and analyses.
A SWOT analysis of IE in developing countries highlights strengths of high economic growth and threats from outdated policies and inadequate industrial ecology awareness in the policy making and governing spheres. Examination of the IPAT equation in the context of developing countries highlights the role that new technological hubs such as China and India can play, the significance of increasing affluence among “new consumers” in the developing world and the role of population in managing resources sustainably.
Research in IE since its introduction to the global south around the mid-1990s has primarily focused on two concepts of IE – cleaner production and eco-industrial parks – largely due to the impetus of development organizations. Other studies using the IE lens and tools have shown the potential of the IE paradigm in developing countries. These studies have highlighted the importance of focussing on scarce resources such as water, examining the possibilities of using well-tested technologies and evaluating the long-term maintenance of new technologies and practices before recommending their implementation. New policies in the developing world can gain from the IE community in terms of assistance in simplifying and downsizing data requirements, application of solutions to contemporary sustainability challenges and framing effective policies based on IE concepts.
Megha Shenoy

Open Access

Chapter 12. Material Flow Analysis and Waste Management

Material flow analysis (MFA, also known as Material Flow Accounting) has become one of the basic tools in industrial ecology, since its pioneering development by Ayres. This chapter reviews progress in MFA with emphasis on the use of MFA to support waste management and recycling policy.
Waste statistics are compiled in most developed and some developing countries, but the basis is insufficiently standardized so that care is needed in making comparisons between countries. This also applies to recycling flows, which are difficult to define and quantify. Waste arising from demolition can be predicted by dynamic modeling which also predicts future resource demand, but the discrepancies between predicted and reported waste quantities can be large due to “missing” or “dissipated” stock. Metals represent an important and valuable component of waste; metals in end-of-life vehicles and e-waste in particular need to be quantified for their recycling and ecological and human health impact assessment. MFA has also been applied to international trade of secondhand products containing metals. MFA studies on phosphorus have revealed potential ways to increase recovery that go beyond recycling from obvious wastes. Analysis of stocks must be an important topic in coming decades.
Policies designed to move the economy towards “circularity” have been promoted in some countries, including China and Japan, as practical manifestations of the industrial ecology paradigm. In China, the link to MFA was only recognized some years after the introduction of the policy, whereas in Japan MFA was accepted from the outset.
Measures are being advocated, for example by the OECD, to improve the comparability of MFA across different data sources. Input-output analysis is increasingly applied to estimate and represent material flows. In general, MFA has matured to the point where it is now mandated as a tool for national and international policy. But further expansion and integration are expected.
Yuichi Moriguchi, Seiji Hashimoto

Case Studies and Examples of the Application of Industrial Ecology Approaches


Open Access

Chapter 13. Circular Economy and the Policy Landscape in the UK

This chapter sets out the European policy origins of ‘circular economy’ thinking in the UK and discusses the extent to which the waste prevention plans written by the four countries of the UK (to fulfill the EU requirement) start to move the UK in the direction of more circular approaches. This is important for an understanding of what has driven UK action on this agenda. I argue that the ‘circular economy’ has become an increasingly vigorous topic of debate in the UK. This has been manifested mainly through interest and use of the language by leading companies, but more recently also through political interest in Scotland and Wales, resulting in diverging policies in the countries of the UK. Heightened political interest in some parts of the UK has coincided with uncertainty about activity in the European Commission. The chapter discusses some of the difficulties in turning the concept into policy prescriptions.
Julie Hill

Open Access

Chapter 14. Industrial Ecology and Portugal’s National Waste Plans

This chapter explores how industrial ecology concepts and tools were used to support the design of waste management systems and policies in Portugal. The focus is on a set of case studies that illustrate the results of a successful cooperation between government, private institutions, and academia to transform waste into a useful resource for socio-economic development.
The “Relvão Eco Industrial Park”, an industrial symbiosis case study, is analyzed, showing that it was possible to build from scratch a large number of synergies between companies, creating over 300 local jobs and attracting an investment of over €19 million to a region which was industrially undeveloped.
The partnership between the Portuguese Environment Agency and IST to develop the National Waste Management Plan enabled design of a policy instrument that explicitly identified the need for a life-cycle approach to underpin waste management policies and that supported a circular economy to contribute to increasing resource efficiency.
The recent national strategy for urban waste management (PERSU 2020), developed in 2014, is the latest case study of cooperation between academia and the government to develop a public policy whose results show that the proposed changes will lead to a major qualitative leap in the environmental and economic performance of the sector by 2020. It is estimated that the net GHG emissions will be reduced by 47 %, as demonstrated by an LCA study promoted to support policy development. These benefits are due not only to reduction of the quantity sent to landfill, especially the biodegradable fractions, but also to the expected increase in MSW recycling resulting from the increase of selective collection and more efficient treatment and recovery of mixed wastes. An hybrid input-output model, i.e. with both monetary and mass flows, that explicitly considers seven types of waste, showed that the new policy will allow for increasing the economic added value of the urban waste management system by 26 % to €451million and that the number of direct and indirect jobs will increase to 13,000 and 5,500, respectively.
The evidence reported in this chapter shows that the cooperation between government, academia and private sector in Portugal, based on industrial ecology principles and tools, has been able to significantly improve waste management performance in Portugal since the late 1990s, making the sector an important actor of the green economy, by combining better environmental performance with economic growth and job creation, critical dimensions for enabling sustainable development.
Paulo Ferrão, António Lorena, Paulo Ribeiro

Open Access

Chapter 15. The Role of Science in Shaping Sustainable Business: Unilever Case Study

Unilever is a leading example of a multinational company in the Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) sector. Unilever has long been an advocate of sustainable business, using scientific assessment as the basis for its strategy and initiatives. Given its business, Life Cycle Assessment (LCA) is established within the company and there is a current focus on improving the methodology and scope of LCA. Recent developments include new approaches to fill data gaps for agricultural ingredients and new impact assessment methods for assessing land use change. We have also adapted LCA approaches to inform corporate strategy and to engage a broad range of stakeholders both within the company and outside. The most recent and significant example of this has been the use of product footprinting as an integral element of Unilever’s Sustainable Living Plan (USLP); currently over 2000 products are footprinted annually across 14 countries.
LCA approaches will continue to play an important role in Unilever’s strategy. However, there is an urgent need to develop more predictive, regional/global level approaches that take into account the limited availability of many earth resources, the non-linearity of certain impacts and the absolute limits of sustainability. Several conceptual systems-level frameworks and theories already exist, but the Planetary Boundary (PB) approach has been selected as the most promising for developments in data, modelling and contextualization of environmental assessment. We have identified the need for developments in informatics to exploit new data gathering approaches as well as new modelling initiatives utilizing Geographical Information Systems (GIS) mapping and ‘big data’ approaches. In particular, we see real value in developing a distinct and novel, ‘PB-enabled’ normative LCA approach to support product/service/sectorial decision-making.
Sarah Sim, Henry King, Edward Price

Open Access

Chapter 16. Practical Implications of Product-Based Environmental Legislation

A number of approaches to industrial ecology are now employed within environmental legislation, targeting products at various stages of their life-cycle. These require producers to reduce the hazardous substances content of their products during production, increase product energy efficiency during use, and organise and finance improved recycling and treatment of their products at end of life (Extended Producer Responsibility, or ‘EPR’). Such requirements are increasingly commonplace in the Americas, Eurasia, and Pacific Rim countries and have substantial impact. If companies can’t comply, then they can’t sell their products. There appears to be little research on the practical steps producers have taken to manage compliance with this new-wave of product-based requirements, as compared to the more established areas of environmental management addressing site-based air and water emissions, resource and energy use, and waste management. Based on a number of case studies, this chapter explains how such product-based legislation operates in practice.
Kieren Mayers

Open Access

Chapter 17. Multinational Corporations and the Circular Economy: How Hewlett Packard Scales Innovation and Technology in Its Global Supply Chain

Hewlett Packard discusses how companies can move from the conceptual ambiguity of the circular economy to operational reality. The development of the circular economy concept is described, in particular the extension from resource efficiency: the importance of moving from the idea of ‘consumers’ to ‘users’. Transitioning from a linear economy to a circular one will require disruptive innovation. For more than 30 years, HP technologies have led large scale changes in a wide range of markets. We describe how HP is designing products and services which meet and enable circular economy applications. The examples demonstrate how a major multinational company like HP can build on its long-held resource efficiency principles to profitably drive industry forward in the circular economy. It is clear that the ‘new style of IT’ enables many future and current circular economy initiatives, from car sharing; community garden/power tool sharing and developing further connections between networks – i.e. the ‘sharing economy’. The ‘internet of things’ has huge potential to retain and grow control over dispersed resources. Through collaborative technologies and partnerships, and by engaging the innovation potential of others, HP looks to lead the proliferation of full system solutions that can allow inventors and communities to design and innovate surpassing what can be imagined today.
Kirstie McIntyre, John A. Ortiz

Open Access

Chapter 18. The Industrial Ecology of the Automobile

For the last 100 years, virtually every automobile was an internal combustion vehicle (ICV) powered by either gasoline or diesel and mostly made from steel. Even as the ICV was identified as a source of serious environmental impact, it continued to outcompete others, arguably more environmentally benign, transportation modes. Banning lead from gasoline, requiring catalytic converters, and increasing powertrain efficiency allowed the ICV to respond to environmental criticism and continue its dominance over other transportation technologies. Today, well over one billion ICVs are in use worldwide.
Since the turn of the last century, however, this dominance is beginning to be contested, not so much from other transportation modes but from alternative automotive designs and fuels, such as biofuels, lightweight materials, and fuel cell, hybrid, and battery electric powertrains. All of these alternatives are meant to decrease the environmental impacts of cars, but in all cases there is concern about trade-offs, unintended consequences, and regrettable substitutions. This chapter discusses history and recent developments of automobiles from an industrial ecology perspective. Such a perspective is necessary to determine the extent to which the emerging automotive technologies can genuinely reduce rather than simply shift the environmental impacts of automobiles.
Roland Geyer

Open Access

Chapter 19. Quantifying the Potential of Industrial Symbiosis: The LOCIMAP Project, with Applications in the Humber Region

The Humber region, in North East England, is a major hub of industrial activity and trade. It has seen applications of industrial symbiosis for many years, initially centred on ‘top-down’ infrastructure projects with large capital investment but subsequently following a ‘bottom-up’ approach engaging industries in the area. Reductions in GHG emissions and waste generation have already been impressive. The possibilities for further savings, recognising the European Union’s aspirations for deep GHG cuts and the objectives of the A.SPIRE partnership involving 114 stakeholders from the process industries in Europe, have been explored in the LOCIMAP (low-carbon industrial manufacturing parks) project, which involved partners from across Europe. Industrial symbiosis has been central in the plans for LOCIMAP from the outset. Studies conducted for LOCIMAP have revealed that more substantial savings require industrial symbiosis to be designed in, rather than developed once facilities exist. Major further savings depend on co-location of activities in eco-industrial parks to enable systematic process integration, but following this approach raises further questions, including:
  • How can such systems be engineered without compromising safety?
  • What are the implications for system resilience?
  • How does close integration affect operations such as maintenance?
The project has shown that we have the engineering ability to achieve deep reductions in energy use and GHG emissions provided industries can be located in eco-industrial parks with interactions designed according to thermodynamic principles. Barriers to realising this concept, to achieve a new industrial revolution, include an economic and fiscal system which means that design for optimal economic performance leads to different outcomes from designing for optimal environmental performance.
Malcolm Bailey, Andrew Gadd


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