Keywords: industrial ecosystems, industrial symbiosis, environmental sustainability, barriers, mainstreaming, Australia, institutional entrepreneurship, institutionalisation, collaborative networks, normative networks, resource sharing, sustainable development
Exploration of barriers to mainstreaming industrial ecosystems in Australia
Despite the success of a small number of industrial ecosystems, there are many barriers to implementing them and 'mainstreaming' industrial ecosystems is a difficult and slow process. The primary purpose of this paper is to explore the managerial perceptions of the barriers to industrial ecosystems in Australia, through interviews with industrial ecosystem champions. The findings indicate that the industrial ecosystem field in Australia is not well established. Actors are employing institutionalisation practices more focused on changing norms and belief systems, rather than rules–based work that leads to more rapid institutionalisation of practices. An emerging normative network, the Australian Industrial Ecology Network, could provide a vehicle to drive the institutionalisation process by developing stronger relationships with more powerful stakeholders to engage in the political work of reconstructing rules, as well as to coordinate and leverage the normative work being undertaken by individuals and organisations.