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19 – The Bussi chemical site in Italy: a case in which the opposition of the local community prevented a full Industrial Symbiosis implementation

The chemical site located on the river Tirino in Abruzzo is one of the oldest industrial clusters in Italy, founded at the beginning of last century. The cluster includes basic chemicals producers, pesticides and silicates manufacturers, as well as power stations. Despite the very long history of the industrial area, Industrial Symbiosis has never been implemented in the district, and the study reported in the source is a first attempt to identify symbiotic opportunities and evaluate their feasibility.

In 2008, the local government decided to fund such exploratory research project, managed by the University of Chieti “G. D’Annunzio”. The main challenge that drove the government’s decision was the need to revitalise the industrial area from an economic and social point of view. In fact, over the last decade, due to the global economic and financial crisis, the cluster had undergone a downsizing process with a consequent job market crisis.

From the very beginning of the project, it was clear to researchers and government representatives that the main barrier to overcome in order to implement Industrial Symbiosis in the Bussi chemical site was the strong opposition of the local community. This originated from a lack of knowledge on the Industrial Symbiosis topic, a diffused resistance to change and from some previous negative experiences related to hazardous waste management in the area.

The approach used by researchers and the local government to try to overcome such barrier was to develop and implement a management plan for dissemination of information and learning among the local community throughout the project and to perform historical and social analyses of the region in order to tailor their intervention accordingly. Nevertheless, they did not succeed in taking the local community on-board and this impeded the full development of the project.

The discovery process followed by researchers in their attempt to implement Industrial Symbiosis in the Bussi chemical site started with a literature review aimed at identifying methodologies for Industrial Symbiosis implementation in existing industrial clusters. In addition, they conducted a study on the history, geography and economy of the area, in order to gather information on the context. Then, after defining the methodology that would have been followed during the process execution, they defined stakeholders involved and organised a stakeholders meeting in order to share aims and scope of the project. After the meeting, field activities were started, and a data collection was carried on in the form of a survey and additional one-to-one meetings with companies’ representatives. Companies neighbouring the industrial site were also involved in the process in order to increase business diversity and therefore the number of potential exchanges identified. Finally, researchers also involved the “Local Observatory for the Chemical Industry”, a local sectorial association that helped coordinating stakeholders and organising periodic round-tables to keep them informed and gather feedback.

The main preconditions that allowed the start of the Industrial Symbiosis implementation project were the fact that the region hosts several plants operating in complementary industries and with good logistic links and the fact that companies in the Bussi chemical site were already sharing some facilities and services (such as for e.g. laboratories, security services, maintenance shops, etc.). In addition, the involvement of local authorities allowed to involve key players such as sectorial associations in the project and to get good visibility with companies operating around the industrial site. The commitment of local companies was also enhanced by a regional regulation defining the discipline regarding Ecologically Equipped Estates (a concept quite similar to Eco-Industrial Parks).

Source: Taddeo, R., Simboli, T., Morgante, A., 2012, “Implementing eco-industrial parks in existing clusters. Findings from a historical Italian chemical site”. Journal of Cleaner Production 33:22-29.

The source contains the description of new potential IS exchanges. The source reports the evaluation of the social benefits deriving from IS implementation.
ID:24 You can use the source ID to identify exchanges taken from this source in the Exchanges Database. To find out more, check out the Instructions for use in the Exchanges Database.


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