A holistic technological eco-innovation methodology for industrial symbiosis development

Claudio Castiglione*, Devrim Murat Yazan, Arianna Alfieri, Martijn Mes

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)
136 Downloads (Pure)


Technological eco-innovation plays a crucial role in improving economic-environmental performance by increasing the resource efficiency. Holistic eco-innovative approaches are more effective than focused ones because they address the product, process, and organizational dimensions simultaneously, and thus, engender better economic-environmental performance. Accordingly, we propose a holistic methodology to improve resource efficiency in production systems by concurrently evaluating three dimensions, namely, introducing new products, reducing process inefficiencies, and creating value through waste exchange within the framework of industrial symbiosis. Thus, industrial symbiosis becomes a part of a holistic eco-innovative strategy by primarily supporting organizational eco-innovation, rather than a stand-alone concept. In this study, the developed methodology follows a combination of an abductive approach and action research through cooperation with an Italian company, which is the object of our case study for observing the effectiveness of the holistic approach. The case study highlights the twofold aspects of resource efficiency improvement, namely, value creation through inefficiency reduction and implementing industrial symbiosis partnerships. Our findings show that addressing both aspects simultaneously can lead to better economic-environmental performance. Moreover, integrating industrial symbiosis with a resource efficiency improvement strategy increases the coordination of eco-innovation actions and can lead to better investment allocation.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1538-1551
Number of pages14
JournalSustainable Production and Consumption
Early online date7 Sept 2021
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2021


  • Eco-innovation methodology
  • Industrial symbiosis
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Resource efficiency
  • Waste-To-Energy supply chain
  • 22/1 OA procedure


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