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Operationalizing Industrial Ecology in the Waste Sector: Roles and tactics for circular value innovation
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6262-0609
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The take-make-waste approach to resource management in human production and consumption systems is contributing to a variety of environmental and social problems worldwide. Additionally, as the world’s population and affluence increase, so do the negative impacts of poor resource management. Lifting the waste management (WM) sector into a new phase of development, which takes its lead from the ideals of Industrial Ecology and circular economy, is seen by many scholars and practitioners as one potential to assist in alleviating these impacts. While there are many studies on how more efficient inter-organizational resource management is (or could be) constructed, there are relatively few business development studies which have explored novel approaches (from roles to tactics) that WM organizations might operationalize toward more efficient resource management.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the development of knowledge and understanding of how the waste management sector can operationalize more effective and efficient resource management. In approaching this aim, two research questions guided the exploration of: 1) novel roles for WM and 2) support tactics for such roles. Grounded in the broader context of Industrial Ecology (IE) and Business Development, five studies were performed. Two studies, focused on the novel roles of inter-organizational resource management and high value secondary resource extraction, were performed through literature review and interviews, and market driver analysis respectively. In exploring support tactics, two design and proof of concept studies were carried out to investigate data analysis tools for inter-organizational resource management, and one long-term action research engagement project was coordinated to study hands-on inter-organizational collaboration tactics.

The studies highlighted that the Swedish WM sector holds some key capacities for operationalizing (and in some cases, is already developing) the novel resource management roles identified: industrial symbiosis facilitator, eco-industrial park manager, holistic facility management, and high value resource extractor. However, depending on the portfolio of services to be performed in such roles, several capacities may need to be developed or strengthened. Main opportunities seen for these roles were – staying ahead of market developments, and aligning activities with organizational goals. The main general risk related to these roles was insufficient returns on investment. Looking forward, the main enablers identified were policy leadership for more balanced market mechanisms, increasing use of external knowledge, developing long term partnerships, lobbying, stockpiling resources, and carefully crafting new business models.

The tools developed for strategically applying external information toward the identification of opportunities within new roles showed tactical potential. However, their implementation in broader development processes has yet to be fully validated. The hands-on exploration of change oriented collaboration, highlighted collective system framing and goal setting and face-to-face interaction as key activities for inter-organizational approaches within roles such as industrial symbiosis facilitator.

Throughout the studies, several novel roles were investigated. Each of these roles will need to be individually evaluated by directing bodies of WM organizations, and evaluated from the organization’s vision and strategy. If certain roles are chosen to be explored in more detail, they will need to be developed within full business models - addressing issues such as income structure, internal processes and capacities to be developed, and key customers. Through applying IE and business development concepts and findings, WM organizations have possibilities to translate ambitious visions into novel offerings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. , 82 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1856
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Management Computer and Information Science Business Administration
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137464DOI: 10.3384/diss.diva-137464ISBN: 9789176855140 (print)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-137464DiVA: diva2:1096002
Public defence
2017-06-14, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-06-09Bibliographically approved
List of papers
1. Expanding roles for the Swedish waste management sector in interorganizational resource management
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Expanding roles for the Swedish waste management sector in interorganizational resource management
2017 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 124, 85-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several waste management (WM) professionals see an ongoing shift in the focus of the industry, from that of atransport and treatment sector to that of a more integrated sustainable service provision and material productionsector. To further develop such transitional ambitions, WM organizations are increasingly looking toward interorganizationalresource network concepts (such as the circular economy and industrial symbiosis) as models ofhow they would like to create new value together with their customers and partners.This article aims to take a step in addressing uncertainties behind such transitions by analyzing barriers forinter-organizational resource management and in turn uncovering some potential opportunities and risks ofnovel offerings from the WM sector. Obstacles for developing innovative inter-organizational resource networkshave been identified based on studies of implementing industrial symbiosis networks. Subsequently, managingexecutives from Swedish private and public WM organizations were interviewed regarding the sector’s capacityto overcome such barriers – opportunities and risks of providing new resource management services – and howtheir organizations might approach the role of actively facilitating more resource efficient regions.Eco-Industrial park management and contracting out holistic resource management are some areas in whichthe respondents see WM organizations offering new services. In relation to such approaches, various risks (e.g.being cut out of investment benefits, or unstable supply) and opportunities (e.g. new markets and enhancedsustainability profiles) were identified. Additionally, it was seen that WM companies would need to makesubstantial changes to their business approach, becoming less dependent on flows of mixed materials forexample, if they are to become even more central value chain actors. To strengthen such approaches, it was seenthat the sector will need to find methods to strategically build strong, long term partnerships, expand upon andtake advantage of available knowledge resources (i.e. best practice technologies and regional material flows),and explore new business models (i.e. stockpiling, park management, or waste minimization). Additionally,working with sector representatives to argue for a more balanced market conditions next to primary productionshould assist the viability of new offerings in the wider market.

Keyword
Circular economy, Industrial symbiosis, Recycling, Business development, Green innovation
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137456 (URN)10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.04.007 (DOI)000403860200009 ()
Note

Funding agencies: Ragnar Sellbergs Foundation

Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-08-07
2. Driving Forces and Inhibitors of Secondary Stock Extraction
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Driving Forces and Inhibitors of Secondary Stock Extraction
2016 (English)In: The Open Waste Management Journal, ISSN 1876-4002, E-ISSN 1876-4002, Vol. 9, 11-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Even though it’s well known that our common resources are limited and that recycling is key for a sustainable future; inreality we see few examples of true recycling where virgin raw material is substituted by waste. There are endless numbers ofexamples where waste is utilized to some extent without solving the core issue: reducing the need of extracting virgin raw materials.This article analyses some of the driving forces and inhibitors of secondary stock extraction to explore why it’s so difficult establishlarge scale secondary stock extraction although suitable technologies are available. The authors discuss and suggest possible ways forreducing some of the main barriers presented.

Keyword
Circular economy, Economy, Recycling, Resources, Sustainability
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137459 (URN)10.2174/1876400201609010011 (DOI)
Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-06-14
3. Looplocal - a heuristic visualization tool to support the strategic facilitation of industrial symbiosis
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Looplocal - a heuristic visualization tool to support the strategic facilitation of industrial symbiosis
2015 (English)In: Journal of Cleaner Production, ISSN 0959-6526, E-ISSN 1879-1786, Vol. 98, 328-335 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Industrial symbiosis (IS) developments have been differentiated as self-organized, facilitated, and planned. This article introduces a tool, Looplocal, which has been built with objectives to support the strategic facilitation of IS. Looplocal is a visualization tool built to assist in 1) Simplifying the identification of regions susceptible to new industrial symbiosis facilitation activities 2) Enabling proactive and targeted marketing of potential exchanges to key actors in specific regions and 3) Assisting facilitators to assess the various strategies and consequential engagement and analysis methodologies suitable for additional IS development in specific regions. The tool compares industrial symbiosis data and estimated regional material and energy flows (on a facility level) to identify potential IS transfer information along with key stakeholder and network data. The authors have performed a proof of concept run of this tool on Sweden. In its early stages of application the method has given results seen as useful for identifying regions susceptible to the investment of symbiosis facilitators' time and resources. The material focus and customization possibilities for the tool show potential for a spectrum of potential facilitators: from waste management companies to national or regional authorities. In conjunction with long term business models, such a tool might be utilized throughout an adaptive chain of facilitation activities and aims.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Elsevier, 2015
National Category
Civil Engineering
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137462 (URN)10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.08.012 (DOI)000356194300033 ()2-s2.0-84929966422 (Scopus ID)
Note

QC 20150713

Available from: 2015-07-13 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-05-16Bibliographically approved
4. Secondary Resources in the Bio-Based Economy: A Computer Assisted Survey of Value Pathways in Academic Literature
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Secondary Resources in the Bio-Based Economy: A Computer Assisted Survey of Value Pathways in Academic Literature
2017 (English)In: Waste and Biomass Valorization, ISSN 1877-2641, E-ISSN 1877-265X, Vol. 5, no 6, 1-18 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Research on value pathways for organic wastes has been steadily increasing in recent decades. There have been few considerably broad overview studies of such materials and their valuation potential in the bio-based economy in part because of the vast multitude of materials and processes that can be used to produce energy carriers, chemicals, and materials of value. This article explores how automated data analysis approaches can help in analyzing large bodies of text to distill and present potential value pathways for secondary (waste) bio-based materials. The study employed multiple methods (literature collection, topic modelling, and co-occurrence analysis) on a collection of abstracts from 53,292 academic articles covering technologies, applications, and products (TAPs) for bio-based wastes. The results of both the topic modelling and co-occurrence analysis are presented as online interactive web pages. The topic modelling presented an overview of research clusters related to secondary organic resources, processes, and disciplines. The co-occurrence analysis helped to understand which TAPs are researched in relation to a broad spectrum of organic wastes. Co-occurrences were evaluated using the Normalized Pointwise Mutual Information measure to locate terms which co-occur more frequently than would be expected by chance. Through the use of detailed lists of organic wastes and TAPs, the co-occurrence method mapped out 7118 unique intersections between 473 specific wastes and 228 TAPs. This technique enables us to find seemingly non-obvious valorization pathways such as the re-use of oyster shells as catalysts for bio-diesel production and bioplastic production from brewery waste. While a proof-of-concept, this work points the way for using Big Data to suggest novel pathways for implementing the Circular Economy.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017
Keyword
By-product, Waste valorization, Circular economy, Recycling, Industrial symbiosis, Big Data
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Biotechnology
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-138067 (URN)10.1007/s12649-017-9975-0 (DOI)2-s2.0-85020108904 (Scopus ID)
Available from: 2017-06-08 Created: 2017-06-08 Last updated: 2017-07-03Bibliographically approved
5. Improvement of aggregate cycles in Stockholm and the Baltic Region: Activities and results of the BRA initiative
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Improvement of aggregate cycles in Stockholm and the Baltic Region: Activities and results of the BRA initiative
2012 (English)In: Proceedings of the 8th International conference on Sustainable management of waste and recycled materials in construction, Gothenburg, Sweden, 30 May - 1 June 2012 / [ed] M. Arm, C. Vandecasteele, J. Heynen, P. Suer and B. Lind, Swedish Geotechnical Institute , 2012, 1-9 p.Conference paper, Published paper (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

From 2009 until 2011 project BRA (Bygg-och Rivningsavfall i Stockholms Län) “Construction and Demolition (C&D) waste in Stockholm County” was coordinated from the division of Industrial Ecology, KTH. This project was focused on actively improving (from plural perspectives) the cycles of C&D (specifically non-metallic inert) materials in the region. In response to the normative aim and inter-systems complexity, a highly participative action research procedure was adopted. Through processes of network communication, workshops, a course, and an international symposium - a number of issues (such as market development, recycled product quality, greenhouse gas impacts, collaborative planning, and statistics) were prioritized, researched, and acted upon. Indicators for measuring progress in selected areas were developed and preliminary action plans created. At a final co-organized symposium Swedish delegates laid the groundwork for the establishment of a Swedish C&D recycling b ranch organization. This initiative of continued collaboration between and within sectors is seen as a vehicle for the priorities and action requirements identified in BRA to be further enabled and held in focus. Furthermore, these actors taking ownership of the process is seen as a success in accordance to the original aims and the need for further cycles of evaluation, planning, and action.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Swedish Geotechnical Institute, 2012
Keyword
by-product, recycling, synergy, industrial ecology, facilitation
National Category
Construction Management
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137463 (URN)
Conference
WASCON 2012 – towards effective, durable and sustainable production and use of alternative materials in construction. 8th International conference on sustainable management of waste and recycled materials in construction, Gothenburg, Sweden, 30 May - 1 June 2012
Note

QC 20130522

Available from: 2013-05-20 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-05-16Bibliographically approved

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  • Other locale
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Output format
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