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Industrial Symbiosis Exchanges: Developing a Guideline to Companies


Current industrial symbiosis (IS) research focuses to a large extent on either (1) how likely different factors and conditions are to lead to the development of IS exchanges, (2) barriers to IS or (3) on network theories. There is less focus on how to realize actual exchanges between companies. The purpose of this paper is thus to operationalize current theories and knowledge of such IS barriers in order to provide a guideline on realization of IS projects and hereby make the knowledge of the scientific community applicable in the everyday work of companies. The findings of previous IS research are combined with both research on two companies currently in the process of establishing an IS exchange, as well as practitioners working with facilitation of such exchanges. Lastly, the findings and research are combined to determine what should be the content of a guideline on IS, so that it provides motivated companies with knowledge on potential barriers and opportunities in a way that is directly applicable to their everyday work. The study shows that important barriers for realizing IS-exchanges that can be influenced by companies are mainly related to a lack of resources in the form of money, time, and knowledge, technical issues and collaborative issues. This leads to the recommendation that the contents of a guideline should address information about the concept and benefits of IS, local facilitation programs, if available, and what to be aware of, if there are no facilitation programs or if the companies decide not to take advantage of them.

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The authors thank Henrik Riisgard for competent supervision; and IF Nedbrydning A/S, Siemens Wind Power A/S, Søren Birksø Sørensen, Henrik Møller Thomsen and Xenia Tsitiridou for their contributions to the study.

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Correspondence to Louise Holmelund Tackmann.

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Madsen, J.K., Boisen, N., Nielsen, L.U. et al. Industrial Symbiosis Exchanges: Developing a Guideline to Companies. Waste Biomass Valor 6, 855–864 (2015).

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  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Guideline
  • Companies
  • Barriers
  • Enabling factors
  • Facilitation