Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics and the Problem of Equivalence: Proposal for a Comparative Framework

15 Pages Posted: 9 Aug 2017

See all articles by Frank Boons

Frank Boons

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Marian Chertow

School of Forestry and Environmental Studies

Jooyoung Park

Peking University - HSBC School of Business

Wouter Spekkink

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Han Shi

University of South Florida

Date Written: August 2017

Abstract

Industrial symbiosis (IS), one of the founding notions within the field of industrial ecology, has diffused throughout significant parts of the world as a practice that can reduce the ecological impact of the industrial processes of groups of firms. In this article, we propose a fresh look at this research topic, building on the considerable advances that have been made in the last 15 years in understanding how IS comes about. We propose a conceptual and theoretical framework for taking on the challenge of comparative analysis at a global level. This requires developing an approach to address a solution to the problem of equivalence: the difficulty of comparing instances of IS across different institutional contexts. The proposed framework emphasizes IS as a process and attempts to address the obstacles to comparative study by (1) identifying terminology to examine IS variants, (2) providing a typology of IS dynamics, and (3) formulating key research questions to illuminate a way forward. In developing our argument, we build on the collective experiences of collaborative research efforts in North America, Europe, and Asia as evidenced in recent overviews of the literature.

Keywords: business strategy, comparative analysis, industrial ecology, industrial park, industrial symbiosis (IS), social science

Suggested Citation

Boons, Frank and Chertow, Marian and Park, Jooyoung and Spekkink, Wouter and Shi, Han, Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics and the Problem of Equivalence: Proposal for a Comparative Framework (August 2017). Journal of Industrial Ecology, Vol. 21, Issue 4, pp. 938-952, 2017. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3013910 or http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12468

Frank Boons (Contact Author)

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR) ( email )

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Marian Chertow

School of Forestry and Environmental Studies ( email )

New Haven, CT 06520
United States

Jooyoung Park

Peking University - HSBC School of Business ( email )

University Town
Shenzhen, 518055
China

Wouter Spekkink

Erasmus University Rotterdam (EUR)

Burgemeester Oudlaan 50
3000 DR Rotterdam, Zuid-Holland 3062PA
Netherlands

Han Shi

University of South Florida ( email )

Tampa, FL 33620
United States

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