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Expanding roles for the Swedish waste management sector in interorganizational resource management
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering. Ragn-Sells AB.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-6262-0609
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-0157-6573
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.ORCID iD: 0000-0001-7131-7353
Linköping University, Department of Management and Engineering, Environmental Technology and Management. Linköping University, Faculty of Science & Engineering.
2017 (English)In: Resources, Conservation and Recycling, ISSN 0921-3449, E-ISSN 1879-0658, Vol. 124, 85-97 p.Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Several waste management (WM) professionals see an ongoing shift in the focus of the industry, from that of atransport and treatment sector to that of a more integrated sustainable service provision and material productionsector. To further develop such transitional ambitions, WM organizations are increasingly looking toward interorganizationalresource network concepts (such as the circular economy and industrial symbiosis) as models ofhow they would like to create new value together with their customers and partners.This article aims to take a step in addressing uncertainties behind such transitions by analyzing barriers forinter-organizational resource management and in turn uncovering some potential opportunities and risks ofnovel offerings from the WM sector. Obstacles for developing innovative inter-organizational resource networkshave been identified based on studies of implementing industrial symbiosis networks. Subsequently, managingexecutives from Swedish private and public WM organizations were interviewed regarding the sector’s capacityto overcome such barriers – opportunities and risks of providing new resource management services – and howtheir organizations might approach the role of actively facilitating more resource efficient regions.Eco-Industrial park management and contracting out holistic resource management are some areas in whichthe respondents see WM organizations offering new services. In relation to such approaches, various risks (e.g.being cut out of investment benefits, or unstable supply) and opportunities (e.g. new markets and enhancedsustainability profiles) were identified. Additionally, it was seen that WM companies would need to makesubstantial changes to their business approach, becoming less dependent on flows of mixed materials forexample, if they are to become even more central value chain actors. To strengthen such approaches, it was seenthat the sector will need to find methods to strategically build strong, long term partnerships, expand upon andtake advantage of available knowledge resources (i.e. best practice technologies and regional material flows),and explore new business models (i.e. stockpiling, park management, or waste minimization). Additionally,working with sector representatives to argue for a more balanced market conditions next to primary productionshould assist the viability of new offerings in the wider market.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
2017. Vol. 124, 85-97 p.
Keyword [en]
Circular economy, Industrial symbiosis, Recycling, Business development, Green innovation
National Category
Environmental Management
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137456DOI: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.04.007ISI: 000403860200009OAI: oai:DiVA.org:liu-137456DiVA: diva2:1095902
Note

Funding agencies: Ragnar Sellbergs Foundation

Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-08-07
In thesis
1. Operationalizing Industrial Ecology in the Waste Sector: Roles and tactics for circular value innovation
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Operationalizing Industrial Ecology in the Waste Sector: Roles and tactics for circular value innovation
2017 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

The take-make-waste approach to resource management in human production and consumption systems is contributing to a variety of environmental and social problems worldwide. Additionally, as the world’s population and affluence increase, so do the negative impacts of poor resource management. Lifting the waste management (WM) sector into a new phase of development, which takes its lead from the ideals of Industrial Ecology and circular economy, is seen by many scholars and practitioners as one potential to assist in alleviating these impacts. While there are many studies on how more efficient inter-organizational resource management is (or could be) constructed, there are relatively few business development studies which have explored novel approaches (from roles to tactics) that WM organizations might operationalize toward more efficient resource management.

The aim of this thesis is to contribute to the development of knowledge and understanding of how the waste management sector can operationalize more effective and efficient resource management. In approaching this aim, two research questions guided the exploration of: 1) novel roles for WM and 2) support tactics for such roles. Grounded in the broader context of Industrial Ecology (IE) and Business Development, five studies were performed. Two studies, focused on the novel roles of inter-organizational resource management and high value secondary resource extraction, were performed through literature review and interviews, and market driver analysis respectively. In exploring support tactics, two design and proof of concept studies were carried out to investigate data analysis tools for inter-organizational resource management, and one long-term action research engagement project was coordinated to study hands-on inter-organizational collaboration tactics.

The studies highlighted that the Swedish WM sector holds some key capacities for operationalizing (and in some cases, is already developing) the novel resource management roles identified: industrial symbiosis facilitator, eco-industrial park manager, holistic facility management, and high value resource extractor. However, depending on the portfolio of services to be performed in such roles, several capacities may need to be developed or strengthened. Main opportunities seen for these roles were – staying ahead of market developments, and aligning activities with organizational goals. The main general risk related to these roles was insufficient returns on investment. Looking forward, the main enablers identified were policy leadership for more balanced market mechanisms, increasing use of external knowledge, developing long term partnerships, lobbying, stockpiling resources, and carefully crafting new business models.

The tools developed for strategically applying external information toward the identification of opportunities within new roles showed tactical potential. However, their implementation in broader development processes has yet to be fully validated. The hands-on exploration of change oriented collaboration, highlighted collective system framing and goal setting and face-to-face interaction as key activities for inter-organizational approaches within roles such as industrial symbiosis facilitator.

Throughout the studies, several novel roles were investigated. Each of these roles will need to be individually evaluated by directing bodies of WM organizations, and evaluated from the organization’s vision and strategy. If certain roles are chosen to be explored in more detail, they will need to be developed within full business models - addressing issues such as income structure, internal processes and capacities to be developed, and key customers. Through applying IE and business development concepts and findings, WM organizations have possibilities to translate ambitious visions into novel offerings.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Linköping: Linköping University Electronic Press, 2017. 82 p.
Series
Linköping Studies in Science and Technology. Dissertations, ISSN 0345-7524 ; 1856
National Category
Environmental Sciences Environmental Management Computer and Information Science Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:liu:diva-137464 (URN)10.3384/diss.diva-137464 (DOI)9789176855140 (ISBN)
Public defence
2017-06-14, ACAS, A-huset, Campus Valla, Linköping, 10:00 (Swedish)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2017-05-16 Created: 2017-05-16 Last updated: 2017-06-09Bibliographically approved

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Publisher's full texthttp://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.04.007

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