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 10: Changing Stocks, Flows and Behaviors in Industrial Ecosystems: Retrospect and Prospect

Brynhildur Davidsdottir and Matthias Ruth

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

Extract

10. Changing stocks, flows and behaviors in industrial ecosystems: retrospect and prospect Brynhildur Davidsdottir and Matthias Ruth RETROSPECT Industrial systems, built of physical and natural components, are complex adaptive systems that individual agents control. These agents, such as people, households, firms, and agencies interact with each other through intricate networks, often cooperating or competing with their self-interest in mind. A change in one part of the system, for example a technology used in an industry or a constraint imposed by regulatory agencies, influences other parts of the system through dynamic, often non-linear, lagged and feedback-driven processes. Industrial systems closely interact with their economic, social, and environmental surroundings, cohesively forming an industrial ecosystem. As fundamental components of human society and cornerstones of human economies, the development of industrial ecosystems shapes regional and national economies and societies while influencing regional and national growth. They absorb material and energy inputs and emit wastes into the environment, thereby altering and influencing the natural environment. Thus as the structure and functioning of industrial ecosystems changes, the extent and quality of the interactions within them and with their surroundings modify as well. Given the importance of industrial ecosystems to human and natural systems, an understanding of the dynamics of industrial ecosystems is pertinent to successful industrial, economic, and environmental management and for successful planning of sustainable futures. The scholarship of the dynamics of industrial ecosystems is still in its infancy and scattered throughout the literature. This volume has brought together various fragments, contributing...

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