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42 – Symbiotic exchanges in a motorcycle district in Abruzzo, Italy: implementing Industrial Symbiosis within an automotive supply chain

The CISI (Consorzio Italiano Subfornitura Impresa) network is located in the Abruzzo Region, in Central Italy. Funded in 1992 by 13 companies, it has grown over time and now represents one of the most relevant industrial districts in the surrounding area. It is focused on motorcycle industry, and comprises a big motorcycles producer and a network of 18 SMEs that supply parts and raw materials. From 2010 to 2012 the industrial network has been the main focus of an Industrial Symbiosis implementation project led by the University of Pescara.

The main challenge that led researchers to try to implement Industrial Symbiosis in the district was to try to use such concept in order to valorise and revitalise the region and its economy.

The main barriers to Industrial Symbiosis implementation is this case were the regulatory restrictions regarding the possibility for companies to directly handle their waste or to accept waste as raw material, and the poor quality of some of the waste materials in the district, presenting impurities and irregularities. Additional barriers were the impossibility in some cases to perform a non-destructive disassembly to recover specific components and the discontinuity of production in terms of quantity, entailing logistic and technical issues.

Facilitators proposed an approach to overcome at least the first barrier, i.e. regulatory restrictions for waste handling. They in fact foresee the need of bringing waste treatment companies in the district, which could provide waste treatment services. As regards the other barriers identified, they simply suggest that they should be carefully considered in designing the symbiotic exchanges.

The discovery process followed by researchers to identify potential exchanges within the district is mainly divided into two steps. First, they performed a preliminary desk analysis, i.e. a literature review aimed at better understanding the history of the industrial district and its main features. Then, they carried on an on-site data collection in order to gather information on available materials and companies’ needs. They used both questionnaires and interviews to this purpose, and they involved both top managers and operators to get information related to general organisational aspects and technical details. Using information gathered, they performed an analysis of materials’ flows in the district and identified several potential exchanges, organised in different scenarios results where then shared with focus groups, involving companies’ representatives, the president of the CISI (coordination body) and delegates of different stakeholders’ categories. Focus groups were aimed at identifying solutions to be used as pilot tests.

Main preconditions that allowed the identification of new exchanges were the relevance of the industrial district for the region, which allowed to have immediate attention from relevant stakeholders, its geographical connotation and the fact that automotive industry is a leading sector as regards process and organisational innovation, so that companies had already the required mind set and know-how. In addition, companies were already collaborating to implement just-in-time procedures along the supply chain, coordinated by the CISI. The presence of diverse manufacturing processes, even if part of the same supply chain, also allowed to increase the number of identified exchanges, as well as the fact that for the automotive sector industrial scraps have usually the same composition as raw materials (there are few or no chemical reactions). Finally, the support provided by stakeholders involved in the project, and the presence of a “spontaneous catalyst” (the president of the coordination body) actually helped its successful completion.

Source: Simboli, A., Taddeo, R., Morgante, A., 2014. “Analysing the development of Industrial Symbiosis in a motorcycle local industrial network: the role of contextual factors”. Journal of Cleaner Production 66:372-383.

The source contains the description of new potential IS exchanges. The source reports the evaluation of the economic and environmental benefits deriving from IS implementation.
ID:23 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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