The Role of Industrial Symbiosis in Sustianable Development: A Critical Discourse Approach

By Teresa Doménech and Michael Davies.

Published by The Sustainability Collection

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Article: Print $US10.00
Article: Electronic $US5.00

Within industrial ecology (IE), Industrial Symbiosis (IS) has captured the attention of scholars, planners and industrial actors as a new path towards achieving more sustainable industrial systems. The rationale behind IS networks is the building of collaborative webs of material and energy exchanges among different production units, so that the waste materials from one process could feed the input requirements of another process, reducing the overall use of virgin raw materials and minimising waste flows. This paper critically examines the contribution of IS networks in Sustainable Development and the role that discourse plays in the actual scope and outcomes of industrial symbiosis networks. In the paper the authors analyse the potential of discourse analysis to understand the process of formation and development of IS networks. A protocol for the application of discourse analysis to IS is proposed. The role of IS networks in moving towards more sustainable paths of industrial development is discussed and the limitations and contradictions of the process unveiled.

Keywords: Industrial Symbiosis (IS), Industrial Ecology (IE), Sustainable Development (SD), Discourse Analysis, Industrial Eco-systems, Inter-firm Collaboration

The International Journal of Environmental, Cultural, Economic and Social Sustainability, Volume 5, Issue 3, pp.173-188. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.317MB).

Teresa Doménech

PhD Candidate and Postgraduate Teaching Assistant, University College of London, London, UK

Teresa Domenech is PhD candidate at the Bartlett School of Graduate Studies. Her PhD focuses on the analysis of the provision of a modelling framework for the analysis of the social and institutional factors of industrial symbiosis, based on Social Network Analysis, Grounded Theory and Discourse Analysis. She has a background as researcher and consultant in environmental and sustainability issues. She has taken part in an European funded project to research the applicability of industrial ecology principles to the design of industrial estates and planning policies. She has also worked as environmental consultant providing assistance to industrial land developing companies.

Michael Davies

Professor, Complex Built Environment Systems Group, University College of London, London, UK

Prof. Mike Davies is the manager of the Complex Built Environment Systems (CBES) group at University College London (UCL). He has a background of monitoring and modelling work in the field of the built environment - an example of a current project is ‘The Development of a Local Urban Climate Model and its Application to the Intelligent Development of Cities’. He is also currently managing the UCL components of research projects being undertaken for the department of Communities and Local Government (CLG) in the Sustainable Buildings Division. These research projects contribute to the development of the Building Regulations (England and Wales), in particular Part F and L, which deal with ventilation and energy.

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