Industrial ecology: eco-industrial development and regional
Last updated on 10/2/2013 Print this page
Investigators: David Gibbs, Pauline Deutz and Qiaozhi Wang
What is industrial ecology?
In the 1990s industrial ecology emerged as a concept that its
proponents claim can deliver the win-win-win outcome of sustainable
development. At the heart of the concept is a deceptively simple
argument that proposes a way to reduce or eliminate the negative
impacts of economic development - by drawing upon the example of
natural ecosystems we can create 'industrial ecosystems'.
By mimicking nature, industry can shift from the current
wasteful linear model of production to a circular economy, where
natural resource inputs are reduced, wastes transformed into firm
inputs and energy cascaded through the industrial ecosystem.
Industrial ecology differs from more commonplace efforts to 'green'
industry in that it fosters cooperation between firms as opposed to
focusing upon action at the level of the individual firm, seeing
firms as nodal points within a networked ecosystem. By cooperating
with each other in an industrial ecosystem, it is proposed that
businesses can improve their combined environmental performance by
measures that will also increase profit margins.
Industrial ecology research at Hull
Pictured: Phillips Eco-Enterprise center, Minneapolis,
Our interests at Hull originally stemmed from our initial
observations that there seemed to be an overlap between research
undertaken on regional development which focused on networking and
trust in creating industrial clusters, and one strand of industrial
ecology research which focused on eco-industrial parks.
Eco-industrial parks have been defined as "a community of
manufacturing and service businesses seeking enhanced environmental
and economic performance through collaboration in managing
environmental and resource issues including energy, water, and
materials…the community of businesses seeks a collective benefit
that is greater than the sum of the individual benefits each
company would realise if it optimised its individual performance
(Lowe and Warren, 1996: 7.8).
We were therefore interested to see if issues of trust and
'untraded interdependencies' were important in the formation of
eco-industrial parks. Moreover, much industrial ecology research
has been from either a scientific/engineering or a management
science perspective and we were particularly interested in trying
to theorise the development of eco-industrial parks from a critical
social science perspective. The UK's Economic and Social Research
Council funded us for a research project on these themes (Sustainability and the Local Economy: The Role
of Eco-Industrial Parks).
In a second project (Governance, Partnership and Sustainable
Industrial Development: ESRC CASE studentship with Yorkshire
Forward), Amy Proctor analysed the role of partnerships in building
sustainable industrial developments. She investigated the roles of
public, private and NGO bodies in 9 eco-industrial developments in
the UK. Whilst partnerships increased the capacity of the public
and NGO bodies, engagement with the private sector was found to be
limited. Public sector bodies played a crucial role in the
governance of the partnership process.
Currently, Ms. Qiaozhi Wang is comparing China's circular
economy programme with the UK's National Industrial Symbiosis
Programme (NISP) and examining the potential for cross-cultural
transfer of strategies for promoting industrial symbiosis. See
page for more information.
We continue to be interested in research on industrial ecology
and would welcome the opportunity to develop collaborative research
with individuals or teams outside the UK. We also welcome
applications from potential doctoral students to work with us.
Deutz, P (accepted) Producer responsibility in a sustainable
development context: Ecological modernisation or industrial
ecology? The Geographical Journal.
Deutz, P. and Gibbs, D. (2008) Industrial ecology and regional
development: Eco-industrial development as cluster policy.
Regional Studies. 42 (10) 1313-1328.
Deutz, P. and Gibbs, D. (2004) 'Eco-industrial development and
regional restructuring: Industrial ecology or marketing tool?'
Business Strategy and the Environment No.13, pp.347-362.
Part of special issue: 'Business and Industrial Ecology'.
Deutz, P. and Lyons, D.I. (2008) Editorial: industrial symbiosis
- An environmental perspective on regional development.
Regional Studies, 42 (10) 1295-1298.
Deutz, P., Lyons, D., Gibbs, D. and Jackson, T. (2007) Editorial
to double special issue of Progress in Industrial Ecology:
Industrial ecology and regional development, v. 4 (3/4) p.
Gibbs, D (in press) Eco-industrial parks and industrial ecology:
strategic niche or mainstream development? in F Boons and J
Howard-Grenville (eds.) Industrial Ecology: Social Science
Perspectives, Edward Elgar.
Gibbs, D (2009) Sustainable entrepreneurs, ecopreneurs and the
development of a sustainable economy, Greener Management
Gibbs, D (2008) Industrial symbiosis and eco-industrial
development: An introduction, Geography Compass, 2/4,
Gibbs, D (2003) Ecological modernisation and local economic
development: The growth of eco-industrial development initiatives,
International Journal of Environment and Sustainable
Development, 2 (3), 1-17.
Gibbs, D (2003) Trust and networking in interfirm relations: the
case of eco-industrial development, Local Economy, 18(3),
Gibbs, D.C., and Deutz, P., (2007), Reflections on implementing
industrial ecology through eco-industrial park development.
Journal of Cleaner Production, 15, 1683 - 1695. Part of
special issue: 'From Material Flow Analysis to Material Flow
Gibbs, D.C., and Deutz, P., (2005), Implementing Industrial
Ecology? Planning for eco-industrial parks in the USA.
Geoforum, 36, 452-464.
Gibbs, D.C., Deutz, P., and Proctor, A., (2005), Industrial
Ecology and Eco-industrial Development: A New Paradigm for Local
and Regional Development? Regional Studies. v. 39, p.
McManus, P and Gibbs, D (2008) Industrial ecosystems? The use of
tropes in the industrial ecology and eco-industrial park
literature, Progress in Human Geography 32(4),
Adams, J.D. and Deutz, P. 2006, Industrial ecology: Illuminating
analogy, or misguided metaphor? Invited presentation to the
University of Teesside's EPSRC funded Industrial Symbiosis Network
workshop, University of Hull, 20 October, 2006.
Deutz, P., 2006, Producer responsibility in a sustainable
development context: Ecological modernisation or industrial
ecology? Presented at the RGS-IBG annual conference, London, 30 Aug
- 1 September, 2006. Supported by HERI.
Deutz, P., 2006, End of Life Vehicle Directive as regulation for
interfirm co-operation: a critical study of industrial ecology as a
policy initiative. Presented at the 12th Annual International
Sustainable Development Research Conference, Hong Kong, 6-8 April,
2006. Supported by the British Academy.
Deutz, P. and Gibbs, D.C., 2005, Industrial ecology,
eco-industrial development and regional development: The role of
clustering and networks. Presented at 11th Annual International
Sustainable Development Research, Helsinki, 6-8 June 2005.
Supported by HERI.
Deutz, P., and Gibbs, D.C., 2004, Eco-industrial developments as
a tool for sustainable development. Paper presented at the RECOURSE
meeting Society, economy, environment - Towards the sustainable
city Gdansk, Poland, 12-14 September, 2004.
Deutz, P., and Gibbs, D.C., 2004, Eco-industrial parks as
business clusters and networks: Interrelationships of economic
geography and industrial ecology in theory and practice. Paper
presented at the Annual Meeting of the RGS-IBG (joint with IGU),
Glasgow 15-20 August, 2004.
Deutz, P., and Gibbs, D.C., 2004, Eco-Industrial Development: an
exercise in public-private co-operation. Paper presented to the
Annual Meeting of the Association of American Geographers,
Philadelphia, 14-19 March 2004.
Deutz, P., and Gibbs, D.C., 2003, Eco-industrial development and
regional restructuring: Industrial ecology or marketing tool? Paper
presented to the Reinventing Regions in the Global Economy
conference, Regional Studies Association, Pisa, Italy 12 -15 April
Deutz, P., Gibbs, D.C., and Proctor, A.L., 2003, Eco-industrial
development: Its potential as a stimulator of local economic
development. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the
Association of American Geographers, New Orleans, 4-8 March
Gibbs, D.C., and Deutz, P., 2003, Eco-industrial development and
regional restructuring: industrial ecology or marketing tool? Paper
presented to the Business and Industrial Ecology Symposium,
Business Strategy and the Environment Conference, University of
Leicester, 16 September 2003.
Gibbs, D., Deutz, P., Proctor, A., and Jones, G. 2002,
Eco-industrial parks and sustainable waste management. On-line
conference at www.environment-2002.com, 4/11/2002-15/11/2002.
Gibbs, D., Deutz, P. and Proctor, A., 2002, Sustainability and
the local economy: the role of eco-industrial parks, ecosites and
eco-centres in Europe, Brussels, 19th June 2002.
Proctor, A., 2004, Addressing issues of scale in industrial
ecology: local and regional approaches to eco-industrial
development in the UK. Paper presented to the Annual Meeting of the
Association of American Geographers, Philadelphia, 14-19 March
Proctor, A., 2003, Regional restructuring for sustainable
development: the potential role of ecosites. Paper presented to the
Reinventing Regions in the Global Economy conference, Regional
Studies Association, Pisa, Italy 12 -15 April 2003.
Conference Sessions and Journal Special Issues
Deutz, P. Lyons. D., Randles, S. and Agarwal A., 2009
Industrial symbiosis, eco-industrial networking and regional
sustainability. Invited session for 15th Annual International
Sustainable Development Research Conference, Utrecht, 5-8 July,
Lyons, D. and Deutz, P. 2008 Regional Sustainable
Development. Invited session for 14th Annual International
Sustainable Development Research Conference, New Delhi, 27-29
September, 2008. Special issue in preparation for Sustainable
Deutz, P., Lyons, D., Gibbs, D., Jackson, T. Industrial Ecology
and Regional Development. 11th Annual International Sustainable
Development Research Conference, Helsinki, 6-8 June 2005.
Contributed to double special issue of Progress in Industrial
Ecology v 4 (3/4), 2007.
Deutz, P. and Lyons, D. Industrial Ecology and Economic
Geography, RGS-IBG Glasgow, 2004. Contributed to double special
issue of Progress in Industrial Ecology v 4 (3/4),
Deutz, P. and Lyons, D. Industrial Ecology and Geography. AAG,
Philadelphia April 2004. Resulted in mini themed issue of
Regional Studies, v 42 (10), 2008.
Deutz, P. and Gibbs, D., 2007 Implementation of Industrial
Symbiosis through Eco-industrial Park Development: The USA, UK and
France. International Conference on Eco-Industrial Development
(Aree Produttive Ecologicamente Attrezzate). Provincia di
Deutz, P. and Gibbs, D. 2005, Eco-industrial Parks: The USA
Scence. Presentation to Renew Tees Valley conference: Environmental
Industries Park in Tees Valley, Middlesbrough, 20 September,
Deutz, P. and Gibbs, D.C., (2004) Sustainability and the Local
Economy: The role of Eco-Industrial Parks. In Dallemand, J.F., and
Mottram, L.C., eds. Ecosites, Ecocentres and the implementation of
European Union environment and sustainable development policies,
Proctor, A.L., Deutz, P., and Gibbs, D.C., 2002, Eco-industrial
development in Europe and the United States. Poster presented at
'Sustainable development: The way ahead for Yorkshire and Humber',
organised by Yorkshire Forward, 21.11.02, Harrogate.