Future partnerships through green industrial symbioses

The challenge
As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, where quantum computing, artificial intelligence and nanotechnology represent some of the technological breakthroughs, the need for a global focus on how to optimise the use of resources in the more traditional industrialised process is as pressing as ever.



The future
Industrial symbioses represent an opportunity for companies, utilities and local authorities to engage in mutually beneficial partnerships, where positive environmental impacts are as essential as economic gains. Industrial symbioses can create opportunities for significant resource optimisation, while at the same time creating competitive advantages for the partners involved. An example could be to enter a circuit where waste streams become resource streams and where one company’s excess heat becomes the other’s source of heat.

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Increased global resource consumption is threatening the future of our planet, and this urgency demands immediate action from public and private entities across continents and industries. A circular economy could provide an answer to this challenge as increased utilisation of waste streams could help slow down consumption of virgin resources. Industrial symbioses pave the way for companies across multiple sectors, utilities and local governments to come together in partnerships that can benefit all partners involved as well as the surrounding environment.

The idea behind the industrial symbiosis is a partnership between two or more companies, public or private, which share resource and residue streams for mutual benefit. One company’s residue could become the other company’s resource and as a result, an industrial symbiosis is born. Additionally, by engaging local utilities, industrial symbioses can significantly reduce disposal and discharge costs for companies, while benefitting the utilities and local authorities through exploitation of e.g. surplus heat that can be used for district heating.

However, for industrial symbioses to come alive, public and private stakeholders must come together and encourage mutual openness, as this is crucial to identifying the potential benefits of partnerships. Moreover, policy makers must create the right conditions for these partnerships to flourish and remove boundaries that limit the potential for exploiting otherwise wasted energy and resources.

Connect with us: Mie Johnson, Senior Project Manager, [email protected]


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