The Challenges

Upscaling industrial symbiosis in Europe as a systemic approach through standards requires a broad perspective and approach which goes beyond one industry or sector and involves interaction with diversified  areas of interest and stakeholders. 

The key challenges to  define a robust and effective IS standardisation framework result from:      

Heterogenity of industries, sectors & value chains

Industrial symbiosis involves  industries and sectors with varying technologies, processes, and practices as well as diverse company sizes. Achieving standardisation across such heterogeneity requires reconciling differences, building trust and finding common ground processes while ensuring equitable participation from all stakeholders, including SMEs, in the realm of differing priorities, perspectives and sometimes conflicting interests. 

Definition of priority resources & synergies   

Developing and implementing standards requires a good understanding where the most impactful opportunities are.  Identification of priority resources and key synergies allows to set up an effective standardisation guiding process but requires an in-depth analysis of existing knowledge, evidence provided by IS-related projects, literature and IS practices  to identify and map resources and sectors with high IS potential .

Interdisciplinary nature of IS

Industrial symbiosis encompasses multiple areas, including engineering, environmental science, economics, legal regulations and policy. Framing IS standardisation requires compatibility with the needs and considerations of  these areas while ensuring coherence with the existing standards and regulatory frameworks.

Dynamic environment

Industrial ecosystems are constantly evolving due to advancements in science  technology, market conditions, and regulatory frameworks. Standardisation efforts must be flexible enough to adapt to these dynamic environments, capture and exploit innovation, stimulate R&I to discover untapped synergies,  while maintaining relevance and effectiveness over time.

Regulatory & legal complexity 

Industrial symbiosis often involves navigating complex regulatory and legal frameworks, including environmental regulations (e.g. pertaining to end-of-waste criteria) and liability issues. Developing standards that are compliant with these regulations while promoting collaboration and innovation is challenging.

Lack of awareness & skills 

Many stakeholders may not fully understand the concept of industrial symbiosis or its potential benefits.  Building awareness and consensus among stakeholders about the importance of standardisation and its potential impacts is essential.

See our analyses and reports

The standardisation start point for RISERS

The grounds for standardising IS have been laid down by the CEN Workshop Agreement  CWA 17354. The document specifies in particular: 

Learn more about CWA 17354