Towards an Industrial Symbiosis in the Emilia-Romagna Region (Italy): A Study on the Main Barriers to Industrial Symbiosis in the Italian Context

Vittoria Placuzzi & Gian Marco Zanotti

Student thesis: Master thesis


Circular Economy aims at gradually separating economic activity from the use of finite resources. Within this field, Industrial Symbiosis, evolved around the idea of creating a collaborative network of waste, material and energy exchange within an industrial system. The concept is raising increasing attention not only from the academic world, but it is also inspiring governments, policy-makers and other organizations towards its practical implementation. Within the Italian context, a pilot project aimed at an Industrial Symbiosis implementation, has been performed from 2013 to 2015, in the Emilia-Romagna region. However, although numerous synergies have been identified, an actual exchange network has not been established yet. This research aims at investigating the barriers that might have hindered the Industrial Symbiosis development in Emilia-Romagna. The theoretical framework created, covers three levels of analysis: Actor-Network Theory is utilized to describe the network process of creation; the concept of embeddedness studies the relations among the project participants and finally, the main barriers are determined in discussion with Hofstede’s cultural dimensions. The research design relies on singlecase study, investigated through a qualitative data collection, in the form of seven semi-structured interviews among project participants and organisers. The findings showed a certain degree of instability in the pilot project network. Moreover, the lack of embeddedness within the network ties, which resulted to be loose, and the negative influence of a short-term and individualist mindset, have been argued to characterize the principal barriers that hindered the success of the pilot project. In addition, those barriers have been found also as potentially common of the Italian industrial context.

EducationsMSc in International Marketing and Management, (Graduate Programme) Final ThesisMSc in Brand and Communications Management, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2019
Number of pages140
SupervisorsSönnich Dahl Sönnichsen