The role of champions in establishing Eco Industrial Parks

Anne K. Hewes (2005)

During the past twenty years, Industrial Ecology (IE) has emerged in response to a global call for sustainable development to counteract environmental pollution from industrial wastes. The findings from this study suggest that in order for Industrial Symbiosis (IS) and Eco Industrial Parks (EIPs) to emerge, humanistic connections stimulated by champions are necessary. The research focus is the individuals who champion the creation of IS and EIPs and their calling to encourage economic benefits, environmental protection, and a sense of community. Kalundborg, Denmark, famous for industrial symbiosis, serves as the model for the Londonderry EIP in New Hampshire. The commitment of the champions selected for study--Valdemar Christensen of Kalundborg and Peter Lowitt, formerly of Londonderry--is such that they actively are promoting industrial symbiosis at new locations in Cherkassey and Komsomolske, Ukraine, and in Devens, Massachusetts, respectively. Qualitative research methods allowed a theoretical understanding of the champions' experience. Through methods of ethnography and grounded theory a systematic analysis resulted in data categorized by who the champions are as visionaries and invested leaders; and what the champions do by developing social relationship networks and developing strategies. Through an examination of the developmental process based on emotional, intellectual and ideological competencies, two distinctive models of operation emerged for the two subiects. Christensen represents an adaptive-processing style and Lowitt reflects an expert-linear approach. Also of significance is the finding that the champions' strategies are not centered around solving technical problems but rather emphasize the importance of developing social relationships. The adaptive-process model stresses inter-personal relationships to assess available resources and develop an effective strategy based on understanding the local context; and the linear-expert model links a predictive approach with a formal setting that targets top managers. Both approaches or a combination of the two models are effective. The emphasis of the findings is on the role of people and the social relationships necessary in implementing EIPs--factors often disregarded in the industrial ecology discourse.