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Consensus building and knowledge integration methods applied to technology implementation in the Swiss waste incineration industry

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This paper describes the use of consensus-building and knowledge integration methods to reflect stakeholders' preferences. These methods were applied in a complex decision making process concerned with the implementation of innovative technologies in Swiss waste incineration plants. We described stakeholders' preferences by integrating their knowledge into a multi-criteria evaluation of technologies and assessment of various waste management strategies. Subsequently, the stakeholders participated in a consensus-building workshop on future waste management strategies and on strategic roles stakeholder groups occupy within the Swiss waste sector. Finally, technology suppliers validated the outcomes of the technology evaluation and workshop. We found that stakeholders differ in their opinion of what strategies should be used to develop and design the Swiss waste sector in future. However, they vary little with regard to the evaluation of different types of technologies. Choosing appropriate technologies was less important than setting up appropriate framework conditions that design the waste management sector. Some of the proposed framework conditions (e.g. periodical market analysis for technologies and reusable residues) were adopted by the Canton of Zurich in its future decision-making on waste technology implementation. In addition, the study brought important insights and impulses for the stakeholders' network and designed future collaboration opportunities in the Swiss waste incineration sector.

Keywords: consensus-building, decision making, knowledge integration, stakeholder networks, technology evaluation, technology implementation, waste incineration, Switzerland

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