During the 1st semester, partners discussed the COVID-19 impact on industrial symbiosis (IS), the challenges and new IS opportunities, through a joint study to assess the impact of COVID-19 on industrial symbiosis (IS) practices in the partnership territories. In the course of this activity, partners

a) identified disruptions in industry, manufacturing and waste management businesses, as well as successful industrial symbiosis practices, and

b) explored opportunities to facilitate the economic recovery and resilience through IS practices.

The conclussions of this joint study can be summarized as the COVID-19 pandemic has created many challenges for businesses (including materials’ price inflation and supply chain disruption). At the same time, survey results indicated certain mitigation techniques to facilitate the fight against the COVID-19 economic crisis:

  • Ensuring operational security by adapting workflow,
  • Finding new markets to mitigate the losses,
  • Reducing costs and exploring new resources.

A key finding from this questionnaire is that the impact of the pandemic was not severe on IS plans and activities. On the contrary, the circular and symbiotic initiatives contributed to the regional resilience. Future policy making (and particularly crisis management) could incorporate key aspects of industrial symbiosis practices to confront workforce shortage to increase the overall effectiveness of the applied policies. In addition, the pause of investments, the delay in circular / IS projects, and the disruptions in the transportation of materials were important factors. The waste management circular activities were highly challenged by the increased volume of the waste generated (especially packaging and unsorted waste).

Strengthening the regional value chains to make regional economies more resistant to future crises is the most decisive factor, together with supporting the digital transformation in regional value chains. The recovery and resilience of regional economy and businesses was enhanced by Industrial Symbiosis and circular economy examples, along with the innovation of the related businesses. Policy authorities should therefore encourage such initiatives and contribute to the expansion of regional businesses networks and innovation pathways.

The Joint Study can be found in Library section