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Journal Articles Sustainability Year : 2019

Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics, a Strategy to Accomplish Complex Analysis: The Dunkirk Case Study


Industrial symbiosis (IS) is presented as an inter-firm organizational strategy with the aim of social innovation that targets material and energy flow optimization but also structural sustainability. In this paper, we present geographical proximity as the theoretical framework used to analyse industrial symbiosis through a methodology based on System Dynamics and the underpinning use of Causal Loop Diagrams, aiming to identify the main drivers and hindrances that reinforce or regulate the industrial symbiosis’s sustainability. The understanding of industrial symbiosis is embedded in a theoretical framework that conceptualizes industry as a complex ecosystem in which proximity analysis and stakeholder theory are determinant, giving this methodology a comparative advantage over descriptive statistical forecasting, because it is able to integrate social causal rationality when forecasting attractiveness in a region or individual firm’s potential. A successful industrial symbiosis lasts only if it is able to address collective action problems. The stakeholders’ influence then becomes essential to the complex understanding of this institution, because by shaping individual behaviour in a social context, industrial symbiosis provides a degree of coordination and cooperation in order to overcome social dilemmas for actors who cannot achieve their own goals alone. The proposed narrative encourages us to draw up scenarios, integrating variables from different motivational value dimensions: efficiency, resilience, cooperation and proximity in the industrial symbiosis. We use the Dunkirk case study to explain the role of geographical systems analysis, identifying loops that reinforce or regulate the sustainability of industrial symbiosis and identifying three leverage points: “Training, workshop and education programs for managers and directors,” “Industrial symbiosis governance” and “Agreements in waste regulation conflicts.” The social dynamics aims for the consolidation of the network, through stakeholder interaction and explains the local success and failure of every industrial symbiosis through a system dynamics analysis.
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hal-02127581 , version 1 (08-06-2021)





Manuel Morales, Arnaud Diemer. Industrial Symbiosis Dynamics, a Strategy to Accomplish Complex Analysis: The Dunkirk Case Study. Sustainability, 2019, 11 (7), pp.1971. ⟨10.3390/su11071971⟩. ⟨hal-02127581⟩
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