Industrial Symbiosis & The Future of Food Understanding Resource Flows, Business Strategies, and Value Creation in Symbiotic Networks

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Marian Chertow
Essay Abstract: 
With the human population projected to reach 9 billion before 2050, the global food system must learn to use resources more efficiently, minimize waste, and develop innovative models of production to sustainably meet demand while reducing nega-tive impacts on the environment. Addressing the need for circularity and resource cycling, the rapidly evolving field of industrial symbiosis (IS) may offer a potential solution to these challenges by a) enabling higher quantities of food production, b) increasing resource efficiency at various nodes of the supply chain, and c) decreas-ing environmental impacts such as CO2 emissions. Through a three-part analysis encompassing 45 symbiotic networks in 19 regions, this thesis explores a variety of elements that can help IS shape a more sustainable food system and offers insights on feasible resource flows, strategic business models, and opportunities for value cre-ation within existing and developing industrial clusters. Additionally, this project highlights the need for a) more quantitative data collection in firms and clusters, b) a higher degree of data standardization, and c) future research specifically studying food in IS networks.