Keywords: industrial ecology, industrial symbiosis, by-product exchange, forest industry, Sweden, environmental impact, forestry
Industrial symbiosis in the Swedish forest industry
In the research field of Industrial Symbiosis (IS), by-product synergies between industries have been studied with the objective of decreasing the environmental impact of industrial activity and simultaneously increasing profit for the companies involved. Many theoretical models and definitions have been suggested, although only a limited number of examples are documented in the literature. Existing IS initiatives, such as Kalundborg in Denmark, are sometimes presented as rare examples. In this paper, we argue that IS initiatives can be found to some extent in industry today, although they might not be labelled as such. One objective of finding existing IS initiatives is that they can be a starting point for broader industrial ecology. In this study, we made an inventory of the existing exchanges of material and energy in the Swedish forest industry. The results illustrate that IS in the form of by-product exchange networks exist in the forest industry sector as more than a third of the investigated companies have some kind of material or energy exchange with adjacent entities.