Keywords: industrial ecosystems, evolution, conceptual cladistic classification, manufacturing cladistics, industrial ecology, benchmarking, best practice, policy development, decision support systems, DSS, change management
Industrial ecosystems: an evolutionary classification scheme
Although typologies and characteristics of industrial ecosystems, symbioses, and eco-industrial parks and networks have been proposed in the literature, there is as yet no consensual acceptance of a benchmark and/or classification scheme. Problems arise not only with consensus surrounding concepts and theories, but in design and implementation. Does 'one size fit all' or do we need to account for differences in systems and, if so, how much so? Manufacturing cladistics based on biological classification science is a rapidly growing area of research which concerns the classification of individual manufacturing entities, and may provide solutions to these problems. Although this approach has not yet been applied to networks of organisations, the construction of a conceptual cladistic classification scheme of industrial ecosystems is attempted from secondary data. The potential benefits of this approach include a benchmark of best practice, a tool for policy development and a decision-support system for change management.