Department of Geography, Environment and Earth Sciences

Industrial ecology: eco-industrial development and regional economic development

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'.

Kalundborg, Denmark

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

Phillips Eco-Enterprise center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

Pictured: Phillips Eco-Enterprise center, Minneapolis, Minnesota

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 Qiaozhi's web 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.

Project Outputs

Publications

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. 155-163.

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 International.

Gibbs, D (2008) Industrial symbiosis and eco-industrial development: An introduction, Geography Compass, 2/4, 1138-1154.

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), 222-236.

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 Management'.

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. 171-183.

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), 525-540.

Conference presentations

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 2003.

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 2003.

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 2004.

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, 2009.

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 Development.

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), 2007.

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.

Non-academic outputs

Presentations

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 Bologna, 16/03/07.

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, 2005.

Publications

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, European Communities.

Poster

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.

External links

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