Subject Sections

Members of the ISIE are able join subject sections as part of their membership.  Sections provide a small community within the ISIE through which ideas are exchanged and collaborations are formed.  Members can engage on a minimal level or can be considered for leadership positions within a Section.  Read below to learn more about the currently active subject sections.


The Student Chapter provides support for today’s students – the future industrial ecologists – to enter and collaborate with the International Society of Industrial Ecology. Not only that, it provides a space for students to interact with each other and with professionals and share resources, databases, and dissertations, among other things.

Today, students represent an important share of the ISIE membership. The offer of study courses and master’s and PhD programs related to industrial ecology is growing each year. You can find a list with industrial ecology related courses and programs here.

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Industrial Symbiosis and Eco-industrial Development

Those of us with a passion for translating the theories of industrial ecology into practice are pleased to announce the Section of the International Society for Industrial Ecology devoted to industrial symbiosis. Practitioners might be more familiar with the terms Eco-Industrial development or Eco-Industrial networking, rather than industrial symbiosis. I hope you will choose to enroll in the Industrial Symbiosis/Eco-Industrial Development Section of the International Society for Industrial Ecology. At future ISIE conferences, members from our section will serve as moderators for industrial symbiosis presentations. Download bylaws here.

If you are interested in Industrial Symbiosis, Eco-Industrial Development, are a practitioner or an academic; we invite you to join the Industrial Symbiosis Eco-Industrial Development Council. We have posted by-laws and information on creating indicators for eco-industrial parks which we hope to engage our community of members in discussing and preparing.

The purpose of this Section is to develop industrial symbiosis internationally in academia and to promote its application in policy and businesses. This includes establishing and maintaining cooperation with international organizations, companies, and government organizations.

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Sustainable Urban Systems

The Sustainable Urban Systems section of the ISIE is concerned with applying methods of industrial ecology towards the sustainable development of cities, their supporting hinterlands, and the networked infrastructure that connects them. This is an applied, cross-cutting section in which various IE methods, such as LCA, MFA, EIO, complex systems theory and thermodynamics, are applied at the urban scale. Issues addressed include (but are not limited to): developing urban infrastructure for low carbon cities; urban waste management and material recycling; urban transportation; green buildings; sustainable water and nutrient management; urban energy systems; resilient cities; adapting cities to climate change, and provision of infrastructure for the urban poor. Practical solutions to these issues are informed through study of urban ecology, urban metabolism and the dynamics of city growth. Membership of the section is broad ranging, including: urban planners, architects, geographers, engineers, economists, scientists, and others.

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Socio-Economic Metabolism

 ISIE’s SEM Section is the largest global network of researchers employing material flow analysis as a tool for environmental sustainability assessment. The purpose of this Section is to develop material flow analysis internationally in academia and to promote its application in policy and businesses. This includes establishing and maintaining cooperation with international organizations, companies, and government organizations. The SEM Section was formally approved by the ISIE Council in summer 2008. In the fall, we developed Section by-laws, which the Council approved in December 2008. As an ISIE member, you may join the SEM Section and benefit from its services at no additional fees. In addition to the general ISIE benefits, a Section membership has the following advantages: Reduced fees for biennial ConAccount conferences, Regular information about SEM related events, publications, etc. The by-laws foresee biennial elections of the Section Board, which consists of seven Board members including one student member.

Formerly known as “Material Flow Analysis – ConAccount” (or short “MFA Section”)

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Environmentally Extended Input Output Section

The purpose of this Section is to develop environmentally extended input output analysis internationally in academia and to promote its application in policy and businesses. This includes establishing and maintaining cooperation with international organizations, companies, and government organizations. The section may collaborate with the International Input Output Association when organizing its activities.”

More specifically, the section may engage in the following activities:

  1. discussing and developing best practices in EE IO methodology.
  2. providing a platform for exchange of EE IO data in a common format, or mutual support between members in data development.
  3. providing a platform for exchange of operational procedures and scripts.
  4. engaging with National Statistical Offices and similar bodies such as EUROSTAT, UN Statistical Division, FAO, and others, to improve official data and methodologies used in EE IO.
  5. engaging with other professional organizations in the field, most notably IIOA.
  6. organizing dedicated EE IO tracks during ISIE conferences, other suitable conferences, or organizing smaller workshops/events on EE IO.
  7. promoting applications of EE IO in poltical and corporate decision-making.
  8. disseminating advancements of science in EE IO to non-academic audiences.
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Life Cycle Systainability Assessment

This section will focus on life cycle assessment (LCA) as currently existing and on life cycle sustainability assessment (LCSA) as a direction in which LCA is likely to develop. This section is intended for those working in the field of LCA and LCSA, for those interested in promoting life-cycle thinking, and also for those interested in bringing various life-cycle based tools together and linking them to appropriate questions and applications. We believe the section will provide a platform for IE scholars already working in this field and may draw new perspectives and scholars to the field of IE.

Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) has developed quickly over the last three decades. Beginning as merely energy analysis and expanding to a comprehensive environmental burden analysis in the 1970s, full-fledged life cycle impact assessment and life cycle costing (LCC) models were introduced in the 1980s and 1990s, and social-LCA and particularly consequential LCA gained ground in the first decade of the 21st century. Many of the more recent developments have been initiated to broaden traditional environmental LCA to a more comprehensive Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA; cf. Guinée et al., LCA is evolving into LCSA, which is a trans-disciplinary framework for integration of models rather than a model in itself. LCSA works with a plethora of disciplinary models and guides selection of the most appropriate to address any specific sustainability question. The main challenge is structuring, selecting, and making the diversity of disciplinary models available for practical application to all types of life cycle sustainability questions. Within this broader view, traditional environmental LCA still has its value fulfilling one specific requirement of this broader life-cycle sustainability framework.

This IE section offers a platform for discussing methodology proposals and case studies addressing the broadening and deepening of LCA into LCSA, addressing topics such as:

  • Developing Methods
    • Improving and developing traditional environmental LCA;
    • Aligning and integrating environmental LCA with LCC and LCSA;
    • Linking LCA methods to developments in Eco-Efficiency, Eco-Innovation, and other tools like Material Flow Analysis (MFA);
    • Incorporating forecast modeling into life-cycle based approaches to make predictive or anticipatory assessments;
  • Expanding the Use of LCSA
    • Providing LC(S)A resources for young researchers and ISIE members interested in using LC(S)A;
    • Improving LC(S)A methods so they can be more effective in informing and guiding the overall sustainable development of society;
    • Developing guidance and educational materials for those interested in utilizing LC(S)A, so they understand life-cycle based approaches and tools, know when and where to apply which tools, and know how to apply to different levels of analysis, from products, to companies, sectors and societies;
    • Promoting the existence and use of LC(S)A to the general public, including in evidence-based policy and regulatory decisions;

From these topics it is likely that this section will make cross-links between sections, such as with the IE sections on Material Flow Analysis (MFA), Environmentally Extended Input Output (EEIO) and the upcoming section on SCP. Moreover, owing to the multi-disciplinarity of the issue, we will strive to attract new scholars to the field of IE, for example, social science scholars. We would also like to explore the possibilities for joint PhD colloquia for engineering/environmental science research students and social science research students.

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