Empowering Regenerative Businesses for Increased Resource Productivity and Sustainable Business Growth

Collage with images of the sun, soil. tomatoes, algae, water and plastic bottles

Industrial and Urban Symbiosis (IUS) helps mitigate growing economic and environmental problems by creating more value with less resource use and emissions. Regenerative businesses can play key roles in increasing IUS practices and associated benefits. 

Project background and aim

Industrial and urban symbiosis (IUS) is a systems approach and seeks to increase resource productivity by focusing on regional economic systems as a whole. Despite their proven impact, IUS practices remain under-developed and associated benefits under-exploited. Regenerative Businesses, which we define as “entrepreneurial initiatives that adopt value creation from residual resources as a core business” seemingly play important roles in IUS developments, but knowledge on their impact and challenges remain limited.  The overarching purpose of this project is to contribute to the development of more sustainable economic systems in Sweden, and beyond, by scaling up IUS practices while also supporting sustainable entrepreneurship. To achieve these, the project aims to co-create and diffuse new knowledge on:

a) the importance of (regenerative businesses) for advancing industrial and urban symbiosis, and;
b) actions that can foster the growth and impact of regenerative businesses.

More specifically, the research seeks to answer the following questions:

  1. What is the importance and role of regenerative businesses for scaling up IUS practices, and associated benefits, in Sweden?
  2. What key challenges hinder effective functioning and further development of regenerative businesses?
  3. How can the accelerated development of regenerative businesses be supported? 

Expected results

Accelerated and successful growth of regenerative businesses are expected to create more sustainable jobs and business activity and scale up IUS practices, which in turn will. These will provide multiple benefits to the businesses, to society, and to natural systems.


Financier and partners

Project partners

  • Eco-loop AB
  • Econova AB
  • Ragn-Sells AB
  • Sotenäs Symbioscentrum
  • Stockholm Social Innovation Lab AB 
  • Swedish Algae Factory AB
  • WA3RM AB

Project time


News about industrial and urban symbiosis 

Mapping Industrial Symbiosis

Successful practitioner trainings across the Baltic Sea Region

Linköping University delivered six practitioner training programs across the Baltic Sea Region to promote and facilitate industrial symbiosis practices.

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How Sweden's most sustainable industrial cluster was created

Sotenäs Municipality remedied the negative environmental impact of local industry with the help of a group of local entrepreneurs, enthusiastic municipal officials and research-based methods.

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Shift to circular economy is slowed by traditional thinking

By communicating and collaborating, businesses can join forces to create greater social, economic and environmental value for society than what they do today, researchers at Linköping University have found.