Sustainability and industrial symbiosis: The evolution of a Finnish forest industry complex

S. Pakarinen (Corresponding Author), T. Mattila, M. Melanen, A. Nissinen, Laura Sokka

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

    56 Citations (Scopus)


    An industrial symbiosis (IS) is a group of industrial plants and other actors which exchange energy, water, by-products and waste. This article studies the evolution of an IS centred around a Finnish pulp and paper mill and analyses how the operations of the case system developed in a more sustainable direction during the years 1890–2005. We build upon basic sustainability principles known as The Natural Step (TNS) System Conditions by identifying and selecting quantifiable indicators for each of the conditions in the case of our target symbiosis. The study reveals that the environmental impacts of the case IS became more far-reaching during the 110-year period studied. Emissions, however, decreased substantially after the 1970s due to tightening environmental legislation and other policy measures and the progress in environmental technology, not due to symbiosis-type of arrangements. There has been no strong driver for more symbiosis-like cooperation among the companies in this study. It appeared that the main motives for increased collaboration were economic.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)1393-1404
    Number of pages12
    JournalResources, Conservation and Recycling
    Issue number12
    Publication statusPublished - 2010
    MoE publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed


    • Industrial ecology
    • symbiosis
    • history
    • forest indusstry
    • sustainability
    • The Natural Step
    • Finland


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