International Industrial Ecology Day 2022
09:00 – 10:00 AM (CET) - 25 Years of Impact: Part I – Reflections of Journal of Industrial Ecology Authors and a Bibliometric Analysis (08:00 UTC)
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Zoom meeting ID: 972 9345 8443
In celebration of the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the JIE is publishing a virtual special issue containing 25 important articles published over the course of the journal’s history. Authors of several of the papers in the special issue will discuss the genesis of their article, its import, what sort of research evolved from the article, and any impact it had. A bibliometric analysis of the articles published in the JIE will round out the presentations by the authors and will be followed by a panel discussion about the articles, and the JIE more generally. The session and the panel will be moderated by Richard Wood, co-Editor-in-Chief of the JIE.
Organizers and session chair: This session is organized by Reid Lifset (Yale University, New Haven, USA) and Ned Gordon (ISIE). It is chaired by Richard Wood (NTNU).
Minute 0-5: Welcome by session chair and introduction to the topic
Minute 5-15: Bibliometric analysis of the Journal of Industrial Ecology (Gang Liu, University of Southern Denmark)
To celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Journal of Industrial Ecology, the JIE is publishing a virtual special issue containing 25 important articles published over the course of the journal’s history. To assist in the preparation of the virtual special issue, a bibliometric analysis of the articles published in the first 25 years of the JIE was conducted. This presentation will describe the bibliometric analysis and discuss insights on industrial ecology gleaned from it.
Minute 15-25: Reflections upon “How Circular is the Global Economy? An Assessment of Material Flows, Waste Production, and Recycling in the European Union and the World in 2005“ (Willi Haas, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: It is increasingly recognized that the growing metabolism of society is approaching limitations both with respect to sources for resource inputs and sinks for waste and emission outflows. The circular economy (CE) is a simple, but convincing, strategy, which aims at reducing both input of virgin materials and output of wastes by closing economic and ecological loops of resource flows. This article applies a sociometabolic approach to assess the circularity of global material flows. All societal material flows globally and in the European Union (EU-27) are traced from extraction to disposal and presented for main material groups for 2005. Our estimate shows that while globally roughly 4 gigatonnes per year (Gt/yr) of waste materials are recycled, this flow is of moderate size compared to 62 Gt/yr of processed materials and outputs of 41 Gt/yr. The low degree of circularity has two main reasons: First, 44% of processed materials are used to provide energy and are thus not available for recycling. Second, socioeconomic stocks are still growing at a high rate with net additions to stocks of 17 Gt/yr. Despite having considerably higher end-of-life recycling rates in the EU, the overall degree of circularity is low for similar reasons. Our results indicate that strategies targeting the output side (end of pipe) are limited given present proportions of flows, whereas a shift to renewable energy, a significant reduction of societal stock growth, and decisive eco-design are required to advance toward a CE. Article DOI: https://doi.org/10.1111/jiec.12244
Minute 25-35: Reflections upon “Circular Economy Rebound” (Trevor Zink, Loyola Marymount University)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: The so-called circular economy—the concept of closing material loops to preserve products, parts, and materials in the industrial system and extract their maximum utility—has recently started gaining momentum. The idea of substituting lower-impact secondary production for environmentally intensive primary production gives the circular economy a strong intuitive environmental appeal. However, proponents of the circular economy have tended to look at the world purely as an engineering system and have overlooked the economic part of the circular economy. Recent research has started to question the core of the circular economy—namely, whether closing material and product loops does, in fact, prevent primary production. In this article, we argue that circular economy activities can increase overall production, which can partially or fully offset their benefits. Because there is a strong parallel in this respect to energy efficiency rebound, we have termed this effect “circular economy rebound.” Circular economy rebound occurs when circular economy activities, which have lower per-unit-production impacts, also cause increased levels of production, reducing their benefit. We describe the mechanisms that cause circular economy rebound, which include the limited ability of secondary products to substitute for primary products, and price effects. We then offer some potential strategies for avoiding circular economy rebound. However, these strategies are unlikely to be attractive to for-profit firms, so we caution that simply encouraging private firms to find profitable opportunities in the circular economy is likely to cause rebound and lower or eliminate the potential environmental benefits. Article DOI: https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/jiec.12545
Minute 35-45: Reflections upon “Errors in Conventional and Input-Output-based Life-Cycle Inventories“ (Manfred Lenzen, University of Sydney)
This presentation will reflect upon the genesis, import, research engendered, and impact of the publication of this article in the JIE. This is an abstract of the article: Conventional process-analysis-type techniques for compiling life-cycle inventories suffer from a truncation error, which is caused by the omission of resource requirements or pollutant releases of higher-order upstream stages of the production process. The magnitude of this truncation error varies with the type of product or process considered, but can be on the order of 50%. One way to avoid such significant errors is to incorporate input-output analysis into the assessment framework, resulting in a hybrid life-cycle inventory method. Using Monte-Carlo simulations, it can be shown that uncertainties of input-output– based life-cycle assessments are often lower than truncation errors in even extensive, third-order process analyses. Article DOI: https://doi.org/10.1162/10881980052541981
Minute 45-60: Panel Discussion on 25 years of the JIE