Changing economic structures, intensifying environmental problems and increasing demand-related requirements all mean that companies need to come up with more resource-efficient solutions. These can be achieved through co-operation between companies operating in various sectors, and alongside local authorities and municipalities.
Industrial symbiosis is an industrial ecosystem where unused or residual resources of one company are used by another . This contributes towards the so called circular economy and results in mutual economic, social and environmental benefits. It is a process involving several companies – firms that complement one another provide mutual added value through the innovative and efficient use of raw materials, technology, services and energy.
Joint development of industrial symbiosis provides an efficient way of devising, developing and testing product and service innovations. This, in turn, engenders new competencies, on which new business operations can be based.
The Finnish Innovation Fund, Sitra, supports setting up synergies, while simultaneously promoting sustainable growth and the development of companies’ business operations. The new programme Finnish Industrial Symbiosis System (FISS) launched by Sitra and Motiva brings together the producers and users of residual resources in workshops aimed at creating concrete synergies.
FISS is also based on facilitation and networking. Public actors are welcome to attend the workshops even though they are mainly targeted towards the needs of the enterprises. Regional FISS actors actively seek the possible symbiotic relationships and give support to networks and partnerships. Motiva is the coordinator of the programme in Finland and in the it will be funded by Public grant funding for demonstration.
The new programme has been developed using the lessons learned and good experiences from the National Industrial Symbiosis (NISP) programme.
One such lesson was that in order to find and format such synergies; facilitators are needed.
Business ecosystems based around industrial symbiosis provide more added value by using fewer natural resources than traditional industrial value chains. This means more efficient energy and water consumption, and reduced waste.
In industrial symbiosis, industrial operations, energy production, primary production, waste processing and the services supporting these, combine to form an entity that provides products and services for end-user needs, while optimising resource use.
Industrial symbiosis seems to be trending topic and many programmes are developed around it. The next step would be taking the symbiosis over the country boarders and start similar programmes internationally
Over 300 Finnish cases can already be found on the www.teollisetsymbioosit.fi website
The maturity of this programme is estimated to be 5 on the GML scale.