Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems

Edited by Matthias Ruth and Brynhildur Davidsdottir

Industrial ecology provides a consistent material and energetic description of human production and consumption processes in the larger context of environmental and socioeconomic change. The contributors to this book offer methodologies for such descriptions, focusing on the dynamics associated with stocks of materials and capital, flows of raw materials, intermediate products, desired outputs and wastes, as well as the associated changes in behaviors of producers, consumers and institutions.

Chapter 5: The Economic Dynamics of Stocks and Flows

Brynhildur Davidsdottir and Matthias Ruth

Subjects: business and management, management and sustainability, organisation studies, economics and finance, industrial organisation, environment, environmental management, environmental sociology


5. The economic dynamics of stocks and flows Brynhildur Davidsdottir and Matthias Ruth INTRODUCTION Industrial ecosystems absorb large quantities of energy and materials, which are transformed by production processes into useful outflows (output) and waste. This transformation has been called industrial metabolism (Ayres 1989; Ayres and Simonis 1994). The industrial ecology community has been productive in quantifying industrial metabolism of energy and materials at various scales ranging from particular production processes (Brunner and Rechberger 2004), to specific industries or a system of industries (Brunner and Rechberger 2004; Schenk et al. 2004), to regions and cities (Kennedy et al. 2007) up to assessments of entire biogeochemical cycles (Graedel et al. 2004; Graedel and Ellis 2005). The basic principle of any energy and material flow analyses (E/MFA) is based on the law of conservation of matter. This law indicates that the sum of inflows must equal the sum of outflows, yet allowing for potential timedelays in various reservoirs (Brunner and Rechberger 2004). In the past E/MFA were mostly static or comparative static, providing snapshots of energy and material flows, and the accumulation in associated reservoirs at particular points in time. Recently the field has begun moving towards dynamic E/MFA (see for example Chapter 4 in this volume). In dynamic E/MFA inflows, outflows and accumulation in various reservoirs are linked in time as a function of quantitative assessments of service life of capital. The information contained in static and dynamic energy and material flow analyses certainly is...

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