Journal of Industrial Ecology

Call for Papers:

Special Issue on

Industrial Ecology as a Competitive Advantage in Business

Deadline: June 1, 2013

The Journal of Industrial Ecology invites you to submit articles for a special issue on Industrial Ecology as a Source of Competitive Advantage in Business by June 1, 2013. Submission of abstracts for review and feedback prior to that date, while not required, is strongly encouraged.

Industrial ecology (IE) is an ensemble concept that specifies ways in which firms can and are currently starting to deal with their environmental impact. It builds on a metaphor of natural ecological phenomena to analyze and develop tools and prescriptions for industrial systems that are, for the most part, larger than a single firm. The normative goal of industrial ecology is to optimize resource efficiencies and close material loops within this more encompassing system boundary as part of the pursuit of sustainable production and consumption.

Industrial ecology encompasses a variety of characteristic concepts:

and tools such as

The goal of the special issue is to explore how the concepts and tools of industrial ecology can and do serve as a source of competitive advantage for firms, groups of firms and industry sectors. Analyses can range from the theoretical and conceptual to systematic empirical analysis to case studies of individual firms, business ventures or strategies. Case studies that specify in quantitative terms the nature and magnitude of the competitive advantage are especially welcome. Articles that address radical corporate (re)design informed by industrial ecology principles are also welcome. An overview of the relationship between business and industrial ecology can be found in a review by Lifset and Boons (2011). See also Esty and Porter (1998), Reinhardt (1999), and Hoffman (2003).

Two sets of audiences are envisioned for this special issue: Those knowledgeable in business—both scholars and industry practitioners—seeking to apply their expertise to the novel environmental concepts that have emerged from industrial ecology and those familiar with industrial ecology, curious to understand how industrial ecology can and could be the basis for profitable business endeavors.

Andrew Hoffman of the University of Michigan, Peter Wells of Cardiff University, Nitin Joglekar of Boston University and Charles Corbett of the University of California, Los Angeles will serve as co-editors of the special issue.

The Journal of Industrial Ecology is an international peer-reviewed bimonthly, owned by Yale University, headquartered at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies and published by Wiley-Blackwell. Support for this special issue is provided by the Joel Omura Kurihara Fund.

Suggested Topics

The goal of this special issue is to explore industrial ecology concepts and tools as the basis for competitive advantage. Appropriate topics include:

Reviews of relevant recent books and reports are also sought to enrich the special issue. Reviews of web sites and electronic services will be considered.

Ancillary data relevant to articles can be posted on the journal's Web site in the form of supporting information.

The special issue is intended to be relevant to diverse audiences—academics, policymakers, business people and environmental advocates—and submissions should be written with that in mind. Articles from technical specialists should make the implications of their research accessible to non-specialists.

Business Cases

Case studies of businesses using industrial ecology as a source of competitive advantage are especially welcome. Case studies for this special issue can be presented in one of two formats: firm profiles or full-length articles.  Firm profiles should be between 1,500 and 3,000 words and will be reviewed by editors for coherence, credibility and completeness. These articles should include quantitative information documenting the feasibility and/or performance of the industrial ecology-based strategies. Full-length articles (3,500-6,000 words) that include case studies will be peer-reviewed following the Journal's normal process.  Non-academic contributors should keep in mind that the Journal of Industrial Ecology is a scholarly publication and all submissions will be expected to follow the norms, tone and practices of academic publishing, especially avoidance of promotional content. General guidance for non-academic authors can be found at Instructions for case studies for this issue be found at  When submitting an article, please specify in the cover letter whether the article is "full-length" or "firm profile" to avoid confusion.

How to Submit

Authors are requested (but not required) to send abstracts of proposed submissions of between 750 and 1,000 words to Abstracts received by November 1, 2012 will receive feedback from the editors prior to January 1, 2013. The deadline for full length submissions is June 1, 2013.

Manuscripts should be original, previously unpublished, in English, and between 3,500 and 6,000 words in length not including references. Submission implies that the manuscript has not been submitted for publication elsewhere and that it will not be submitted elsewhere while the review process is underway. Papers should be submitted electronically via ScholarOne Manuscripts at <> , indicating that they are intended for the special issue on industrial ecology as a source of competitive advantage. Details about the preparation of the manuscript can be obtained from the Journal's home page or from the editor. All submissions will be peer-reviewed in a single blind process using at least two single reviewers.


Esty, D. C. and M. E. Porter (1998). "Industrial ecology and competitiveness: Strategic implications for the firm." Journal of Industrial Ecology 2(1): 35-44.

Hoffman, A. (2003). "Linking social systems and analysis to the industrial ecology framework." Organization & Environment 16(1): 66-86.

Lifset, R. J. and F. Boons (2011). Industrial Ecology: Business Management in a Material World. The Oxford Handbook of Business and the Natural Environment. P. Bansal and A. Hoffman. New York, Oxford University Press.

Reinhardt, F. (1999). "Market failure and the environmental policies of firms: Economic rationales for "beyond compliance" behavior." Journal of Industrial Ecology 3(1): 9-21.

Send inquiries to:

Reid Lifset
Editor, Journal of Industrial Ecology
Yale University
School of Forestry & Environmental Studies
195 Prospect Street
New Haven, CT, 06511-2189  USA


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