Global Eco-Industrial Parks Programme - Ukraine: Country Level Intervention

Industrial Symbiosis

Industrial symbiosis defines initiatives of more than two industrial companies to establish and maintain mutually beneficial relationships. The most common example of industrial symbiosis is that one company uses a material stream that is regarded as waste by another company. The other examples include shared utilization of equipment or facilities and the pooling of resources.

Industrial symbiosis was first registered in Kalundborg in 1960ies. In 2000 it was defined by Marian Chertow: “The part of industrial ecology known as industrial symbiosis engages traditionally separate industries in a collective approach to competitive advantage involving the physical exchange of materials, energy, water, and by-products. The keys to industrial symbiosis are collaboration and the synergistic possibilities offered by geographic proximity.”

Industrial symbiosis leads to two types of benefits:

  • Environmental benefits result from reduced consumption of resources and reduced amounts of waste and emissions. The system of exchange typically converts negative environmental externalities, mainly in the form of waste, into positive environmental externalities such as decreased pollution and reduced need for raw material.
  • Economic benefits for the companies result from savings on waste utilization, materials acquisition, and transportation. The industrial symbiosis cooperation between the companies leads to operational cost saving.

Industrial symbiosis promotes economic growth, while at the same time it generates environmental benefits. Implementation of industrial symbiosis, therefore, holds huge potential to unlock powerful mechanisms that foster sustainable development. It is often used in Eco-Industrial Parks for better performance.