With the growth of environmental and social pressure, the structure of the traditional groupings of enterprises has changed towards symbiotic clusters or business combinations able to reuse unwanted flows to produce new goods and services.

The recent growth of available technologies for the recycling and reuse, as well as growing competition in this area is further driving this transformation. In fact, the goal of sequestrating unwanted flows (e.g. emissions or the by-products) within the techno-sphere becomes only a preliminary aspect. The current trend seems to emphasize the need to promote efficiency even within the context of industrial symbiosis. The use of these tools allows the systematic tracking of operations of flow reassignment and the identification of more sustainable scenarios for this breakdown.

The implementation of Symbioptima paradigm required the evolution of traditional criteria of sustainability analysis (LCSA):

  • From a methodological point of view, the congruent alignment of the LCA with LCC and SLC analysis perspective of circularity requires the development of methodologies that focus on effects due to re-allocation of flows.
  • From an operational point of view, the generation of LCSA indicators to be implemented within the production dynamics of business clusters requires the development of modular quantification criteria, standardization and interoperability.

Cooperation should become a key element in the path to the process industries that are truly sustainable and can be based on the availability of critical resources in the long term. In this sense, the availability of the sustainability analysis methods and procedures can help to break down barriers for the shared management of resources (e.g. energy, waste and by-products) and the consequent integration of processing activities.