International Society for Industrial Ecology
Topical Sections of the ISIE

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.

Eco Industrial Development/Industrial Symbiosis 

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.

Socio-Economic Metabolism

Formerly known as “Material Flow Analysis – ConAccount” (or short “MFA Section”)  Download the bylaws here.

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.
Visit the website here.

Download the bylaws here.  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:

a)  discussing and developing best practices in EE IO methodology

b)  providing a platform for exchange of EE IO data in a common format, or mutual support between members in data development

c)  providing a platform for exchange of operational procedures and scripts

d)  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

e)  engaging with other professional organizations in the field, most notably IIOA

f)   organizing dedicated EE IO tracks during ISIE conferences, other suitable conferences, or organizing smaller workshops/events on EE IO

g)  promoting applications of EE IO in political and corporate decision-making

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.

Organizing Sustainable Consumption and Production

This is a section for those interested in exploring the challenge of achieving sustainability for product chains.
The globalised economy has led to much outsourcing of production, and product life cycles consequently sprawl across the globe. This poses particular challenges for their sustainability management and governance, since no single actor has overview, much less control over an entire production and consumption system, yet changes need to be considered in the context of the entire system in order to reduce environmental sub-optimisation. Although LCAs can provide comprehensive environmental descriptions for products, the capacity to act upon such information is not automatic - it requires actors that communicate, collaborate, coordinate, etc, their environmental demands, tasks, actions etc, in these systems. The improved understanding of the issues for environmental organisation of product chains is therefore at the heart of the members of this chapter.

Sustainability research concerning consumption and production is dispersed over several knowledge communities. This Section will aim to provide a platform for systematic and interdisciplinary treatment of the management issues of product chains. We expect discussions to draw upon contributions from supply chain management, life cycle management, environmental management and strategy, product design and service systems, environmental sociology and governance, among others. Furthermore, the development of methodologies that combine environmental study with study of organisation and management in various ways is of special interest for the Section.

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Life Cycle Sustainability 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 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.

LCA methodological discussions have no platform within IE yet whereas many IE scholars and members are working with this tool. LCA has its platform outside IE, traditionally in the Society of Environmental Toxicology and Chemistry (SETAC) and UNEP. As Industrial Ecology is the overarching concept for all chain and life-cycle based approaches and as LCA is currently developing from a merely environmentally based tool into a sustainability-oriented (people, planet and prosperity) tool, IE is an appropriate home for discussions and scientific debates on these developments.

Environmental life cycle assessment (LCA) has developed fast over the last three decades. LCA developed from merely energy analysis to a comprehensive environmental burden analysis in the 1970s, full-fledged life cycle impact assessment and life cycle costing 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. Structuring, selecting and making the plethora of disciplinary models practically available for application to different types of life cycle sustainability questions is a main challenge. 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:

•    Improvement and development of traditional environmental LCA;
•    How to align environmental LCA with LCC and LCSA?
•    How to link LCA methods to developments in Eco-Efficiency and Eco-Innovation, which in turn are also linked to other tools like MFA?
•    How to better develop LC(S)A methods that can be more effective in informing and guiding the overall sustainable development of society?
•    LC(S)A for different levels of question varying from products, to companies, sectors and societies. Should we start simple and expand for more complex and more important questions? If so, how?
•    Linking life-cycle based questions to (sets of) life-cycle based approaches and tools, and when to start with what?
•    How to model the future in life-cycle based approaches, or use scenario based back-casting? Is consequential LCA the main route, with variants, or are there more ways and how do they relate and differ?

From these topics it is likely that this section will make cross-links between sections, such as with the IE sections on MFA, 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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