Scaling-Up of Industrial Symbiosis in the Korean National Eco-Industrial Park Program: Examining Its Evolution over the 10 Years between 2005–2014

Jooyoung Park, Jun Mo Park, Hung Suck Park

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39 Citations (Scopus)


In 2005, South Korea initiated the 15-year National Eco-Industrial Park Development Program in three stages to gradually transform aged industrial complexes into eco-industrial parks (EIPs) by promoting industrial symbiosis (IS). Building upon the pilot experiences from the first 5 years, the second phase of the program focused on the scaling-up of IS at a broader regional level. Key scaling-up strategies included the expansion of target areas by connecting multiple industrial complexes, the standardization of processes and dissemination of learning, and the development of large-scale projects that could contribute to the regional development. In this study, we examined the evolution of IS over the last 10 years between 2005 and 2014, primarily to understand the characteristics and impact of these scaling-up strategies. Our findings showed that the scale of IS in the second phase had increased in various aspects in comparison to that in the first phase. The number of operating projects had increased from 52 to 159, the number of participating firms increased from 90 to 596, and the average distance of IS increased from 40 to 48 kilometers. The size of economic and environmental benefits also increased along with an increase in the private investment and government research funding. We further analyzed the role of the regional EIP centers as facilitators, how their activities influenced the scaling-up of IS, and discussed the characteristics of the Korea's approach to IS.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)197-207
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2019 Feb
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
This study was financially supported by the 2016 Research Fund of University of Ulsan (Project No.: 2016-0148).

Funding Information:
As shown in figure 4, the expansion in the boundary of target areas promoted the development of external IS that went beyond the administrative boundary and the share of external symbiosis increased over time. As of 2014, 64% of the total projects that were in operation during the second phase occurred across the administrative boundary. This shows that the regionalization of the target areas increased the (technically) available options for IS that occur across boundaries. We did not observe significant obstacles to crossing the industrial complex boundaries in implementing IS. Instead, we recognized that the increase of IS across the boundaries often required the involvement of local governments, in the form of financial support or administrative assistance for infrastructure and business development, which was arranged by the regional EIP centers.


  • South Korea
  • eco-industrial park (EIP)
  • facilitation
  • industrial ecology
  • industrial symbiosis
  • scaling-up

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Environmental Science
  • General Social Sciences


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