Industrial symbiosis as sustainable development strategy: Adding a change perspective

Veerle Verguts*, Joost Dessein, Art Dewulf, Ludwig Lauwers, Renate Werkman, C.J.A.M. Termeer

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


Industrial symbiosis (IS) is the coordination of energy and material flows among geographically proximate firms to increase economic performance while reducing environmental impact. Although IS is gaining popularity as a sustainability strategy, implementation is proving difficult. In an attempt to understand these roadblocks to implementation, we analyse the development and realisation of IS systems as complex change processes. Based on insights from organisational change literature we introduce the dual-perspective framework as an additional way to look at these IS change processes. Our framework combines two different but complementary perspectives to analyse IS: episodic change, meaning occasional and radical change driven by exogenous factors or interventions; and continuous change, meaning ongoing changes resulting from constant micro-adaptations. By adding insights on the nature of change, this framework extends the analytical reach and identifies situation-adapted intervention strategies. The framework is applied to a case of Flemish (Belgian) eco-industrial greenhouse park development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)15-35
JournalInternational Journal of Sustainable Development
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Change perspective
  • Change process
  • Continuous change
  • Dual-perspective framework
  • Eco-industrial development
  • Episodic change
  • Greenhouse parks
  • Industrial ecology
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Intervention
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainable development

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