Connecting organizational context to environmental sustainability initiatives and industrial symbiosis: Empirical results and case analysis

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikel i vetenskaplig tidskriftPeer review


Industrial symbiosis can move us closer to a circular economy and enable efficient and sustainable use of resources. Its potential has however been far from realized, and to increase our understanding of why that is, we investigate drivers, barriers, and outcomes associated with both broadly defined environmental sustainability initiatives and industrial symbiosis from an organizational context perspective. A mixed-methods approach is used, combining statistical analysis of survey material with an embedded case study at an industrial symbiosis network in Sotenäs, Sweden. The position of the customer order decoupling point (CODP), a critical aspect of supply chains that separates forecast-based operations from those tied to specific orders, enables comparisons between organizations with primarily forecast-driven operations from those with primarily order-driven operations. We find that the CODP plays an important role in organizations' commitments to sustainability initiatives in general, as organizations with different CODP positions experience different levels of benefits from such initiatives. We did not find that the CODP position had the same impact for industrial symbiosis initiatives. Our results indicate that both industrial symbiosis, a very specific type of sustainability initiative and collaboration, and environmental sustainability initiatives in a broad sense, are associated with multiple, positive business outcomes. However, case study participants also described that their industrial symbiosis participation was time consuming and associated with an added administrative burden. This could be a reason why such collaborations are not more prevalent, despite the potential of bringing about several positive business outcomes. Finally, our findings indicate that industrial symbiosis may bring business-related benefits to firms regardless of their CODP position, but then in order to understand why such networks are not more prevalent, we recommend that future research investigates ways of quantifying and distributing burdens and rewards associated with industrial symbiosis collaboration.

Sidor (från-till)210-219
Antal sidor10
TidskriftSustainable Production and Consumption
StatusPublished - 2023

Ämnesklassifikation (UKÄ)

  • Företagsekonomi


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