Title: Theory of industrial ecology: the case of the concept of diversity

Authors: Jouni Korhonen

Addresses: University of Tampere, Research Institute for Social Sciences, Kanslerinrinne 1 (Pinni B), FIN-33014 University of Tampere, Finland

Abstract: The Theory of Industrial Ecology (Korhonen, 2004a) classified the properties and characteristics of industrial ecosystems: the physical flows of matter and energy; the structural and organisational properties. I focus on the theory of the concept of diversity, an important concept in ecology, biology and sustainable development research. Can the concept of diversity be valuable and useful for developing industrial ecosystems; if yes, how, and if not, why not? A case study from energy and forest industry is analysed against diversity and other key industrial ecology principles. Furthermore, six arguments from the literature arguing for the value of the concept of diversity are evaluated. The article contributes by identifying and analysing the many different dimensions that the concept of diversity has. The definition, understanding and perception of the concept strongly affect its value. This suggests that the dominant engineering and natural science aspects of industrial ecology need to be bridged to business, management, organisational and policy studies, to social sciences and cultural studies.

Keywords: industrial ecology theory; sustainable development; industrial ecosystems; diversity; energy industry; forestry industry; industrial parks.

DOI: 10.1504/PIE.2005.006782

Progress in Industrial Ecology, An International Journal, 2005 Vol.2 No.1, pp.35 - 72

Published online: 14 Apr 2005 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article