Project summary

Industrial Symbiosis (IS) is a building block of the Circular Economy, a means to sustainable growth increasing resource efficiency and SMEs competitiveness and resiliency. 

Despite the acknowledged advantages, IS is not yet fully widespread. The challenge TRIS is facing is to enable a systemic uptake of IS in 5 European regions, supporting policy makers to increase the competitiveness of their SMEs by introducing IS practices. To do so, the TRIS consortium will:

-Identify facilitating elements and obstacles and embed them in (or remove them from) the appropriate policy instruments.

-Reach out and engage with the actors that can drive and/or be impacted by the change and involve them in structured local networks.  

Starting from the knowledge already achieved within the Climate-KIC initiative, TRIS will benefit greatly from interregional cooperation, given the diversity in terms of geography, productive system and maturity of IS practices: the City of Birmingham, project leader, is the most advanced, Hungary and Emilia-Romagna regions have already tested pilot projects, while Småland och Öarna and Valencia regions have approached the topic more recently. Industrial Symbiosis Ltd will play both an advisory and dissemination role, acting as a bridge between the consortium and the European perspective.  

TRIS is determined to cause the following CHANGES and accomplish the following RESULTS:

-Raising awareness on the concepts of IS and its economic and environmental benefits

-Causing a mind-shift and building a cooperation culture in the stakeholder groups (including SMEs and policy actors)

-Standardize IS practices into regional policy instruments

-Launching tangible initiatives in the regions: reaching out to more SMEs, supporting their business with new IS cases/projects, preventing industrial waste production, testing new governance models.

-Bringing IS to a higher position in the European political agenda.


from 1 Apr 2016
to 31 Mar 2021

Environment and resource efficiency

What will this project change?

The project will raise the profile of the benefits of applying the Industrial Symbiosis approach across Europe and beyond, by involving stakeholders (SME and policy actors) across the world. Additionally the project will develop a standardised approach to Industrial Symbiosis, and this will affect regulation and policy instruments going forward.

What policy instruments does the project address?

The Waste Management Plan (WMP) implements the recommendations contained in current regulations and represents one of the regional strategy cornerstones for sustainable development. It defines objectives and actions for waste management, ensuring environmental and health protection and reducing the overall impacts of resource use. In accordance with the so-called "waste hierarchy", WMP outlines a governance model based on waste prevention, preparation for reuse, recycling, recovery and disposal.


WMP's 2020 objectives are:

• reduction of municipal and special (i.e. industrial) waste production per capita

• increase of separate waste collection

• improvement of recycling rates


WMP includes the regional Programme for Waste Prevention, that sets objectives and measures of prevention for stimulating waste reuse, related to single enterprises, groups of companies or production sectors with a positive impact on their economic competitiveness: among these measures, one of the key strategies is represented by Industrial Symbiosis. (§ 17.6 of the Programme).


WMP improvements will be aimed at:

•strengthening the prevention of special waste production

•implementing recovery actions

Through the participation in TRIS, the Regional Authority aims to investigate several aspects (regulations, industrial sectors, characteristics of production process, raw materials used, etc.) with the final aim of providing companies with a clearer context to seek solutions for reuse of their byproducts.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Emilia-Romagna Region - General Directorate for Territorial and Environmental Care
  • ART-ER (until 30/04/2019 ASTER)

The expected change is to create a highly innovative productive and business fabric, to develop products and services in the areas of eco-innovation, social innovation, agriculture, fisheries, marine, maritime and tourism sectors, to empower the Valencian SMEs and increase their competitiveness.


The ROP will contribute to the objective of promoting innovation in SMEs, through financial support measures in innovative companies which have a high potential in creating activities and services of high value and wealth for the Valencian Region.This will expand opportunities for growth, internationalisation and employment generation in the region and guide their productive capacities in future strategic sectors. As a result, the ROP will help to create the financing conditions necessary for SME´s.


Currently the OP has focused on the improvement of the SME´s innovation, dealing separately with different sectors. In the Valencian Region these sectors are particularly agriculture, tourism, trade, crafts and textile and footwear sectors. The improvement of the competitiveness is especially focused on their production processes and the investment on innovative products and services. Through the IS approach we intend to study the industrial ecosystem globally thus tackling the problem in a holistic way to develop a circular economy. Therefore, the TRIS project is intended to improve resource efficiency and foster the use of by-products while boosting the competitiveness of the SMEs.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Valencian Institute of Business Competitiveness
  • AIDIMME, Institute of Technology, Metalmechanic, Furniture, Wood, Packaging and Allied

The primary aim of Priority Axis 3 SME Competitiveness is to improve the competitiveness of SMEs by increasing the capacity and capability of SMEs and promoting entrepreneurship. A range of Investment Priorities will focus ERDF intervention to support entrepreneurship and increase the growth capacity of SMEs.

These are:

 Investment Priority 3d - Supporting the capacity of small and medium sized enterprises to grow in regional, national and international markets and to engage in innovation processes Existing Small and Medium sized Enterprises face a number of barriers which restrict their ability to achieve their growth ambitions.

These include:

• Information and coordination failures which limit awareness, access and take- up of business support;

• High up-front costs and perceived difficulties in navigating legal, regulatory and cultural environments which constrain the number of Small and Medium sized Enterprises entering new export markets; and

• Known market failures in the disproportionate costs of establishing and costing risks given the relatively small amounts of capital involved.


The Industrial Symbiosis approach will develop capacity of Small and Medium sized Enterprises work alongside actions to develop capability of Small and Medium sized Enterprises. Both will lead to an increase in jobs created in Small and Medium sized Enterprises and in Small and Medium sized Enterprise productivity.

Which partners are working on this?
  • Birmingham City Council
  • Industrial Symbiosis Limited

EDIOP is the main document for the absorption of EU funds in economic development in parts of Hungary, other than Budapest and Pest county. It covers horizontal measures as priority areas such as Improving the competitiveness of SMEs, RDI, Employment, Competitive workforce, plus priority areas focusing on certain sectors such as Tourism, ICT, Energy. Resource efficiency is among the top five government priorities of this OP and recognized as a large opportunity to enhance competitiveness, despite not being explicitly mentioned as a Priority Axis or activity . While only energy efficiency is targeted, closed loop production, collaboration among companies to share resources and use of secondary raw materials can also support the objectives and enhance the economic and environmental impact of this OP. Hence, the TRIS project envisages the launch of symbioses directly addressing industrial waste reduction and reuse of by-product in forms of structural changes and possibly new projects starting from best practice exchange. The main aim of the targeted Specific Objective is to promote SMEs currently conducting a technological development so as to achieve an innovative infrastructural development and participation in IS networks/clusters that enables them to become internationally competitive. Secondary objectives are to decrease the energy & material intensity of the production processes; therefore to increase productivity and competitiveness and create new and sustainable jobs.  

Which partners are working on this?
  • IFKA Public Benefit Non-profit Limited for the Development of Industry
  • Herman Ottó Institute Nonprofit Ltd. (until 31/12/2016 Herman Otto Institute)

The main objective of the programme is to boost growth and employment in the region.

The programme focuses on 4 priorities that correspond to selected thematic objectives:

Priority 1 - TO1: strengthening research, technological development and innovation

Priority 2 - TO2: Improving access, use and quality of ICTs

Priority 3 - TO3: enhancing the competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises

Priority 4 - TO4: supporting the shift to a low-carbon economy in all sectors.


The following investment priority targets the enhanced competitiveness of small and medium-sized enterprises: supporting the capacity of SMEs to grow regionally, nationally and internationally, as well as to engage in innovation processes. Specific objective: improving growth of existing SMEs.

Within this investment priority a number of activities can be supported:

- business development of small and medium-sized enterprises (through e.g. seminars / workshops / business consulting with focus on leadership, sustainable growth, profitability, strategic competence and / or innovation),

- stimulation of small and medium sized enterprises’ will and capacity for internationalization,

- development of business promotion systems, - support businesses' capital. 

Which partners are working on this?
  • Energy Agency for Southeast Sweden