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Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384

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Journal of Cleaner Production


journal homepage: www.elsevier.com/locate/jclepro

Understanding and addressing business needs and sustainability


challenges: lessons from Devens eco-industrial park
Vesela Veleva a, *, Svetlana Todorova e, Peter Lowitt b, 1, Neil Angus c, 2, Dona Neely d, 3
a
Center for Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness (SERC), College of Management, UMass Boston, 100 Morrissey Blvd., Boston, MA 02125,
USA
b
Devens Enterprise Commission, Eco-Industrial Development Council of North America, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434, USA
c
Devens Enterprise Commission, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434, USA
d
Devens Eco-Efciency Center, 33 Andrews Parkway, Devens, MA 01434, USA
e
D'Amore-McKim School of Business at Northeastern University, Boston, USA

a r t i c l e i n f o a b s t r a c t

Article history: Attracting and retaining companies is critical for successful development of eco-industrial parks. By
Received 28 August 2013 examining and addressing the main business needs and sustainability challenges, policy makers, de-
Received in revised form velopers and other champions, can promote both business value and social value creation. This paper
29 May 2014
provides valuable lessons from Devens, Massachusetts, an eco-industrial park established in 1993. Based
Accepted 4 September 2014
Available online 23 September 2014
on 29 interviews with local organizations (30% participation rate) the study reports on key business
needs and sustainability challenges of local organizations and how Devens Enterprise Commission has
worked to address these as part of its vision for Sustainable Devens. The study found that access to
Keywords:
Industrial ecology
infrastructure e such as rail, green buildings and roads e was the most important factor for companies
Eco-industrial parks to locate to Devens, followed by the lower cost of real estate (59%) and tax benets (52%). Top two
Sustainability sustainability challenges for Devens companies included improving energy efciency and improving
Competitiveness materials efciency. Eighty six percent of Devens organizations reported partnering with others locally,
Eco-efciency and 79% said their organizations could benet from such partnerships in the future. Companies were
Industrial clusters most interested in partnering around joint sourcing, infrastructure and knowledge sharing. The study
conrmed that local government efforts to develop Devens infrastructure and establish supportive
sustainability policies and programs were in line with business needs and a key factor for Devens'
success. It conrmed earlier research on the role of industrial ecology as a cluster development policy
and the importance of diversity of rms, trust, sustainability policies, and supporting network devel-
opment as key to creating both business and social value.
2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

1. Introduction human systems to maximize efciencies? A main goal of industrial


ecology is to change the current linear nature of our industrial
Nature is highly efcient at using resources and maintaining a systems and move to a circular system where the wastes are
balance within a system of inter-linked groups of organisms. With reused as energy or raw materials for another product or process.
an ever increasing demand for a nite set of natural resources, can Within the broader eld of industrial ecology, which examines the
the lessons learned from studying nature be applied to redesign ow of physical resources through systems at different scales, the
sub-eld of industrial symbiosis (IS) focuses on these ows at the
level of industrial clusters and industrial parks. Eco-industrial parks
(EIPs) are dened as a community of businesses that cooperate
* Corresponding author. Tel.: 1 617 287 6293. with each other and with the local community to efciently share
E-mail addresses: Vesela.Veleva@umb.edu, vesela@comcast.net (V. Veleva), s. resources (information, materials, water, energy, infrastructure and
todorova@neu.edu (S. Todorova), PLowitt@devensec.com (P. Lowitt), NAngus@
natural habitat), leading to economic gains, gains in environmental
Massdevelopment.com (N. Angus), donaneely@ecostardevens.com (D. Neely).
1
Tel.: 1 978 772 8831x3313. quality, and equitable enhancement of human resources for the
2
Tel.: 1 978 772 8831x3334. business and local community (PCSD, 1997).
3
Tel.: 1 978 772 8831x3304.

http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jclepro.2014.09.014
0959-6526/ 2014 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.
376 V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384

In a world of constrained resources and growing population, being a part of an eco-industrial park? The paper begins with a
EIPs are increasingly seen as a means for green growth and reduced literature review examining the business benets of EIPs and the
resource consumption. In 2010, the Organization for Economic human and organizational factors for successful development. The
Cooperation and Development (OECD) recognized industrial sym- Devens case is presented next, including its sustainability vision and
biosis as a systemic innovation vital for green growth (Lombardi process for redevelopment. The main part of the paper includes data
et al., 2012). China became the rst country to globally launch an and analysis of the interviews with 29 local organizations. The au-
eco-industrial park standard in 2006, and presently has at least thors conclude with discussion of the results, limitations of the
1568 national and provincial-level industrial parks which are seen study and recommendations for future research.
as critical for achieving a circular economy and national competi-
tiveness (Geng et al., 2008; Shi et al., 2012). 2. Literature review
Literature on eco-industrial parks has demonstrated qualitatively
and quantitatively that these sorts of arrangements are likely to be The business benets of industrial ecology and EIPs have been
advantageous for participating rms (Cote and Cohen-Rosenthal, studied by both researchers and practitioners. In examining
1998; Esty and Porter, 1998; Chertow and Lombardi, 2005; Moore Kalundborg eco-industrial park Jacobsen (2006) reported both
and Manring, 2009; Yuan and Shi, 2009). With the Sarbanes-Oxley direct and indirect economic benets for participating companies.
Act's requirement for disclosing the cost of retiring polluted Direct economic benets relate to higher value byproduct ex-
manufacturing facilities, a growing number of U.S. companies will be changes such as steam and water and are typically a result of
trying to remove these from their balance sheets.4 Presently there avoided discharge fees or reduced disposal costs. The indirect
are approximately 490,000 sites and almost 15 million acres of business benets are related to improved operational capability,
potentially contaminated properties across the United States that including supply security, increased exibility, or innovation. The
could benet from sustainable redevelopment (EPA, 2012). Yet, very latter provides insight into business motivation for collaborations
few developers are interested in redeveloping such sites despite the in cases of low-value by-product exchanges.
fact that they often have an ideal infrastructure for clean energy/ Chertow and Lombardi (2005) demonstrate the signicant
clean tech industry development (McKittrick, 2012). To promote economic and environmental benets for co-located rms in
redevelopment of contaminated and other sites as eco-industrial Guayama, Puerto Rico, including reduced costs for water, energy
parks and be able to attract and retain companies, it is critical to and materials. Yet, the study nds that without proper policy
understand and address rms' key business needs and sustainability intervention and encouragement, such collaborations among rms
challenges. In addition, there is a need to better communicate the are much less likely. The authors identify as potential organiza-
business benets of locating to an EIP to companies, prospective tional hurdles: the lack of information across rms, the perception
investors, and local communities. Such benets include both direct of high transaction costs, the lack of trust or communication across
economic benets including savings from reduced energy and ma- rms or regulatory requirements.
terials use, as well as indirect economic benets including improved A more recent study of a smelter in China found that industrial
reputation, innovation, supply security, operational resiliency, and ecology can improve the competitive advantage of supply chains
ability to attract and retain employees. by reducing production cost and improving environmental per-
This paper presents insights from a study of the business needs formance (Yuan and Shi, 2009). Rao and Holt (2005) examined
and sustainability practices of companies located in the Devens greening of rms' supply chains and found that the process leads
eco-industrial park and how local policy makers are working to to integrated green supply chain which ultimately leads to
address these while promoting local sustainability (Veleva, 2014). A competitiveness and economic performance. The study builds on
former military site listed under the Comprehensive Environmental an earlier work by Bacallan (2000) which suggested that improved
Response, Compensation, and Liability (CERCLA) Act, Devens had a competitiveness is a result of improved performance and ability to
sustainability vision from the very beginning and a goal to improve meet growing number of environmental regulations, ability to
the regional economic base by employing the principles of indus- address environmental concerns of customers and to mitigate the
trial ecology. Today Devens is a regional enterprise zone which has environmental impact of production and service activities.
attracted 95 organizations and contributed over $1.45 billion and Historically industrial ecology has focused on material and en-
3200 high quality jobs to Massachusetts economy while cleaning ergy ows, including water and by-products. Developing EIPs
up the local environment and advancing more sustainable infra- around a narrow denition of physical exchanges among closely
structure such as a rail and green buildings (Veleva, 2012). located rms, however, has been problematic. Studies have iden-
Yet little is known about the main factors behind companies' tied the main barriers to such eco-industrial development,
decision to locate in Devens as well as whether and how being a part including technical, economic, informational, organizational and
of an EIP has helped address their top sustainability challenges while legal (Gibbs and Deutz, 2007). In the 21st century knowledge-based
providing direct and indirect business benets. The authors seek to economy, business success is increasingly determined by factors
address this knowledge gap by examining the following questions: such as skills and knowledge (human capital), innovation and
What are the main reasons for companies to move to an eco- infrastructure. Recently Lombardi and Laybourn (2012) proposed
industrial park like Devens? What is the role of the organizational expanding the denition of EIPs to include the exchange of
and human factors, including the Devens Enterprise Commission knowledge, information, and expertise which they nd also
(DEC) and Devens Eco-Efciency Center (DEEC), in supporting positively inuences the physical ows of materials and energy
business and sustainability goals? How companies benet from and are seen as sources of innovation.
Concerns about global warming, weather-related business dis-
ruptions, energy and materials security are also becoming important
sources of innovation and competitiveness (Drucker, 1985). Nidumolu
4
The Sarbanes-Oxley Act strengthens the requirement for disclosure of envi- et al. (2009) demonstrate how sustainability today is becoming a key
ronmental liabilities, including retiring facilities, by mandating that the CEO and driver of innovation for small and large companies. By focusing on
CFO personally certify the disclosures in the annual report. The Act authorizes
imprisonment for up to 10 years and $1 million in nes if a CEO or CFO knowingly
creating more sustainable supply chains, operating their facilities more
certies a report that does not satisfy the requirements of the Act (Pfefferle III, efciently, designing more sustainable products and services,
2004). enhancing reputation, and attracting employees by improving the
V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384 377

workplace, companies can reduce their operating costs and increase industry clusters at the rm's location. A company's supply chain
market share. Seventy-six percent of the executives in a 2010 McKinsey clearly affects and is affected by various societal issues, claim Porter
study said that engaging in sustainability contributes positively to and Kramer (2011), including natural resource and water use,
shareholder value in the long term (McKinsey, 2010). infrastructure development, health and safety, and working con-
Hoffman (2003) was among the rst to call for examining the ditions. The increasing costs of energy and transportation, growing
role of the social systemsesocial interaction, culture, and in- political and other supply chain risks may lead companies to
stitutions e in implementing industrial ecology in practice. He remake their value chains by moving some activities closer to home
argued that the physical and social systems are closely inter- and having fewer major production locations. Such trends will
connected and the full potential of industrial ecology cannot be make the location increasingly important. Porter and Kramer
achieved without understanding and leveraging the power of the (2011) argue that shared value helps uncover new needs to
social systems. Implementing industrial ecology in practice re- meet, new products to offer, new customers to serve and new ways
quires developing network embeddedness by connecting rms and to congure the value chain, where the resulting competitive
individuals, developing trust and shared actions toward eco- advantage will often be more sustainable than conventional cost
industrial development and sustainability (Paquin and Howard- and quality improvements. The ability to increase self-reliance
Grenville, 2012). Such embeddedness occurs over time and has within the network of collaborating rms is another indicator of
been found to accelerate the formation of relationships and in the improved business competitiveness.
case of EIPs, leads to reduced transaction costs, including the search
and negotiation costs involved in identifying exchange partners 3. Devens eco-industrial parke history and process for
(Chertow and Ehrenfeld, 2012). sustainable redevelopment
Having the right institutional setting in a region is among the most
important elements for successful development of eco-industrial Devens is a regional enterprise zone created by the Massachu-
parks (Mirata, 2004). However, trust and co-operation must be setts legislature in 1993 to aid the redevelopment of the former Fort
developed between rms before they are prepared to link processes Devens (see Fig. 1). First created in 1917 by the U.S. Congress and
together in ways that have an impact upon the economic viability of the Department of the Army as a military base, Fort Devens con-
the rm (Gibbs and Deutz, 2007). Thus supportive local policies and sisted of predominantly rural lands from the adjacent Towns of
champions can play a critical role in advancing eco-industrial Ayer, Shirley, Harvard, and Lancaster. When the closure of Fort
development that leads to environmental and business benets. Devens was announced in 1991, a local and regional movement
They can serve as network brokers and institutional anchor tenants' toward base reuse planning was initiated. The Massachusetts
initiating the actor networks and providing political and managerial legislature adopted Chapter 498 of the Acts of 1993, which created
support as well as informational and educational services and the Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC) to take regulatory and
infrastructure support for the other participants of the industrial permit-granting responsibilities for the redevelopment of Devens.
ecosystem (Korhonen et al., 2004). Because of the limited time and MassDevelopment, a quasi-state agency, retains the infrastructure,
resources of company managers, there is a need for a coordinating police, re, and public works and is responsible for the sale and
organization which can facilitate such collaboration and create leasing of real estate within the Devens Regional Enterprise Zone
interaction spaces where rm members could meet and share ideas (DREZ) (Devens Sustainability Indicator Report, 2000).
(Lombardi et al., 2012). In this sense, the development of EIPs can be The 1993 Fort Devens Charrette and the Devens Reuse Plan
viewed as an environmentally-based variant of cluster policies used began the process of establishing the vision and goals for Devens
increasingly in recent years to advance economic development ini- redevelopment. Sustainability for Devens was dened as: the
tiatives, argue Deutz and Gibbs (2008). thoughtful and careful redevelopment of the base for the purpose of
In their literature review of the drivers and limitations for suc- promoting economic development, social welfare, environmental
cessful development and functioning of EIPs Tudor et al. (2007) protection, and natural resources (Devens Sustainability Indicator
identify improved environmental performance, shared access to in- Report, 2000).
formation, suppliers, distributors, markets, resources and support Redevelopment of Devens was focused on attracting a diverse
systems. Roberts (2004) reports that clustering of companies has also set of companies to provide a range of employment opportunities
been found to lead to cost avoidance through reduced waste collec-
tion costs as well as improved materials and energy efciencies.
More broadly, the literature on sustainability clusters has
identied the importance of supporting infrastructure and other
local factors in promoting productivity, innovation, and competi-
tiveness (Maskell and Malmberg, 1995; Martin and Mayer, 2008;
Porter and Kramer, 2011). Diverse industrial clusters include not
only the local businesses but also institutions such as schools,
universities, trade associations, and non-prot organizations. Local
governments can play a particularly important role in promoting
cluster development and rm competitiveness by setting clear and
measurable social goals which can promote social development
and business sustainability (e.g., around energy use, health and
safety or infrastructure improvement) (Deutz and Gibbs, 2008).
In their recent work on creating shared value, Porter and Kramer
(2011) emphasize the profound effect of a business location on a
rm productivity and innovation, which still remains understudied
by researchers. They argue that companies can create economic
value by creating societal value. There are three distinct ways to do
that: a) by reconceiving products and markets, b) by redening
productivity in the supply chain, and c) by building supportive Fig. 1. Map of Devens, Massachusetts (Lowitt, 2012).
378 V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384

in order to provide resilience from impacts associated with the and c) implementing an open and inclusive process for measuring
loss of a single primary employer. Business development efforts achievements and identifying gaps.
were particularly focused on attracting employers from the clusters For instance, the initial Sustainable Indicator Report in 2000
that were seen as good t for the community e e.g., military de- identied two major issues that DEC worked to address over the
fense, life sciences, medical devices, plastics and renewable energy past 12 years: (a) Lack of public transportation and alternatives to
technology (Hammer et al., 2012). single occupancy passenger vehicles to commute to and from
In 2000 Devens developed a framework of sustainability issues Devens, and (b) Lack of green buildings. To address the rst issue,
and indicators as a tool to measure and communicate progress the Fitchburg Line Working Group was established with DEC
towards its sustainability vision (see Fig. 2). These indicators were Director Mr. Lowitt as chair. The group managed to secure $200
updated in 2012 when a comprehensive review and assessment of million investment to double track the rail between South Acton
Devens sustainability achievements was undertaken. The assess- and Ayer and thus enable a viable reverse commute. To address the
ment revealed that overall Devens has made signicant progress in second issue, DEC adopted an Green Building Incentive Program
most areas over the past decade (Veleva, 2012). Most progress has and various regulatory changes to encourage the deployment of
been made in the following areas: green buildings in Devens. DEC has also adopted policies for low-
impact development and water resource protection (Lowitt, 2012).
 The number of organizations based in Devens increased from 60
to 95;
3.2. Devens Eco-Efciency Center (DEEC)
 Since its launch in 2007, the Devens Eco-Efciency Center had
interacted with more than 80% of the establishments in Devens;
To engage local organizations and promote building linkages
 The number of people participating in community events
and advancing Devens development as an eco-industrial park, DEC
increased from 120,000 to 300,000 annually;
Director Mr. Lowitt brought in a sustainability consultant in 2001 to
 All 324 CERCLA sites have been cleaned up and all known un-
assist in developing the membership program EcoStar which was
dergraduate storage tanks (USTs) removed;
launched in 2005 as a voluntary branding and achievement pro-
 The total linear feet of sidewalks has doubled from 40,673 to
gram to enable businesses and organizations in the Devens (MA)
65,482, representing 57% of the Devens roads in 2012;
area to gain eco-efciencies by pursuing strategies that improve
 The total linear miles of trails increased from 5.44 miles to 12.46
environmental and economic performances (EcoStar, 2012). In
miles;
2007 EcoStar transitioned to become the Devens Eco-Efciency
 Percentage of commuters using alternatives to driving increased
Center, a non-prot organization with the goal to assist local
from 4% to 10%;
businesses and organizations in reducing operating costs and
 Freight rail available to local businesses increased from 8000
environmental impacts through efciency, reuse and recycling. The
linear feet to 14,300 linear feet;
Center offers workshops around green building more sustainable
 Percent of sustainable/high performance (green) buildings
operational practices, environmental, health and safety (EHS)
reached 14% of the total square footage of all occupied space in
roundtable (a monthly open forum for EHS professionals to discuss
2012 (no green buildings existed in 2000).
experiences, trends and best practices as well as potential collab-
orations), energy efciency assistance, recycling assistance, the
3.1. Devens Enterprise Commission (DEC)
Great Exchange (a forum for exchanging and repurposing waste),
and educational tours among others. For example, Eglomise De-
In the process of redevelopment, DEC and its Director Peter
signs saved over $1800 per year by implementing an employee
Lowitt have played a critical role in working towards achieving
engagement program to promote energy conservation. The Great
Devens sustainability vision. As a Chair of the Eco-Industrial
Exchange helped repurpose 61 tons of materials in 2012, saving
Development Council of North America and the key person
$24,000 to the 50 participating entities (see Text Box 1).
behind the development of the Londonderry Ecological Industrial
Park, Mr. Lowitt focused on three main aspects in redeveloping
Devens as an internationally recognized EIP: a) promoting sup- Text Box 1
portive local policies; b) establishing a separate entity to focus on The Great Exchange, Devens.
providing education and building a network of collaborating rms,

The Great Exchange was launched in 2007 as a forum to


divert unwanted items and materials from the landfill to
reusable opportunities. Managed by Dona Neely, Executive
Director of the DEEC, the program repurposed 61 tons of
materials in 2012 saving $24,000 to the 50 entities partici-
pating in it. Some of the main materials exchanged included
foam packing sheets, bubble wrap, elastics, cloth bags,
furniture, equipment, and small boxes. Waste such as 10
gallon pails, plastic jars, Styrofoam blocks and fabric scrap
are turned into art by local schools and museums. Since
the first Exchange took place in 2008, the program has
partnered with over 100 global firms, small businesses,
service providers, daycare facilities, non-profits, and mu-
nicipalities and repurposed 500 tons of materials helping
participants avoid over $200,000 in purchase and disposal
costs (DEEC, 2012 Annual Report, http://www.
ecostardevens.com/2012%20annual%20report.pdf).
Fig. 2. Sustainable Devens: Framework and seven key issues (Veleva, 2012).
V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384 379

Although the new set of sustainability indicators for Devens Text Box 2
helped better evaluate progress over the past decade, it did not Devens organizations participating in the study, April 2013.
include indicators that measured the EIP benets for rms such as
improved operational efciency, innovation, learning, employee
engagement and job satisfaction, among others. Understanding AMSC Mount Wachussets College
such direct and indirect business benets (including sustainability Biognostics Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce
challenges and opportunities) and the main reasons for rms to Bristol Myers Squibb NBKenney
locate to Devens, is critical for attracting and retaining companies Comrex New England Sheets
Devens Recycling Parker Charter School
in an eco-industrial park.
Eglomesie Designs Parker Hannifin
As Devens moved into its second decade of promoting sustain- Guild of St Agnes Patterson Veterinary
able local development, DEC wanted to better understand, measure Integra Red Tail Golf Course
and communicate Devens achievements as well as existing barriers Johnson Matthew Rofin Baasel
Laddawn Ryerson
to greater collaborations among local companies. The study aimed to
Learning Express Sabic Polymer
examine local organizations' current practices, challenges and op- Liberty Tire recycling True North Hotel Group
portunities in advancing mutually benecial collaborations with Loaves and Fishes UNACC
other Devens organizations to improve efciency and business Magnemotion Waiteco
competitiveness while advancing local sustainability goals. Media News

4. Research methods

In order to examine the main reasons for locating in Devens and non-prot and 7% - government entities. The majority of partici-
the sustainability challenges and practices of local organizations, pating companies (90%) were manufacturing entities. More than
the research team designed a 20-question survey. A simple random half of the organizations (59%) had a small number of employees in
sample from nite population of 95 Devens organizations was used. Devens (less than 50 FTEs). Forty one percent (41%) of participants
The main reason to conduct a sample study and not a census was reported having 50 or more FTEs in Devens. In terms of total
that the research team had limited resources. To determine a number of U.S. employees, more than half (53%) reported having
sample size for the estimation of proportion from nite population, over 500 FTEs and 47% reported less than 500 FTEs in the U.S.
the researchers took into consideration the 95% condence interval Seventy-six percent of participants (CI, 55%e91%) were familiar
and maximum error of 0.15. Thus the conservative estimate of the with the DEEC EcoStar program and other offerings and 45% (CI,
sample size was determined to be 29. To obtain additional feedback 26%e64%) knew that Devens is internationally recognized as EIP.
from companies, DEC scheduled interviews with all 29 survey
participants.
5.1. Main reasons for locating to Devens
The interviews were held in the period between JanuaryeMarch
2013 and were open-ended, semi-structured and conversational in
Majority of study participants (67%) identied access to good
style. The interviewers' team included representatives from DEC,
infrastructure e rail, green building and roads e as the main
DEEC, Mass Development and UMass Boston. Company represen-
reason for locating to Devens (see Fig. 3). More than a third of study
tatives included senior executives such as CEO, CFOs or a vice
participants (36%) were interested in participating in an employee
president, as well as other personnel involved in implementing
shuttle to the new commuter rail terminal in Littleton. A large
sustainability practices such as environmental health and safety
number of rms mentioned traditional business factors such as the
managers and sustainability/recycling coordinators. Questions
lower cost of real estate (59%) and tax benets (52%) as key rea-
addressed issues such as the main reasons for locating in Devens,
sons for locating to Devens. One in three organizations (33%)
top sustainability challenges, current collaborations with other
identied the ability to collaborate with other businesses as one
Devens organizations, product take back, waste management
of the top three reasons for locating to Devens. Twenty-two percent
practices, and contingency planning for weather and other business
said that Devens' sustainability vision and policies were a factor
disruptions, among others. Study participants were provided with
in their decision. After an international search Bristol Meyers
the survey in advance of the interview. In addition to responding to
Squibb (BMS) chose to locate a large biopharmaceutical
the survey questions, participants were encouraged to provide
manufacturing plant in Devens because the site had the necessary
additional input into the sustainable redevelopment of Devens, as
infrastructure capacity, a unied and expedited permitting process
well as identify areas where Devens Enterprise Commission and
and competitively priced utilities. Devens commitment to sus-
Devens Eco-Efciency Center services could help support their
tainability also aligned with the company's mission and was also an
sustainability mission and business goals. Collected data were
additional selling point (Hammer et al., 2012).
analyzed using SPSS software package. Only questions that pro-
vided a sufcient number of responses were reported in the results.
For deeper and precise analysis the research team used not only the 5.2. Key sustainability challenges of Devens organizations
proportions of selected indicators, but also the 95% condence in-
tervals (CI).5 The top two sustainability challenges identied by study par-
ticipants included reducing the cost of energy (improving energy
5. Study results and analysis efciency) and reducing the cost of materials (improving mate-
rials efciency), each mentioned by 61% of interviewed organiza-
Text Box 2 lists all 29 organizations participating in the study tions (see Fig. 4). In this area DEEC offers a range of services
(30% of Devens organizations). Of these, 79% were businesses, 14% - designed to help businesses decrease their energy consumption
and save money. These services include employee outreach and
engagement guidelines, energy consumption benchmarking with
5
95% CI indicate that we are 95% condent that the interval constructed from the Energy Star's Portfolio Manager, and professional audit service by
sample will contain the true population proportion. the Industrial Assessment Center at UMass Amherst to help identify
380 V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384

Fig. 3. Main reasons for locating to Devens, April 2013.

efciency opportunities with a payback period of two years or less 2013). The study found that 71% (CI, 49%e87%) of Devens
(DEEC, 2013). manufacturing rms were taking back old products for reuse or
About one in ve Devens organizations (21%) identied remanufacturing from their customers.6 Thirty-two percent (CI,
reducing waste generation among its top three sustainability 13%e57%) of study participants reported offering services instead
challenges. The study found that most organizations did not track of selling products.
waste generation, reuse and recycling, and therefore no reliable Over a half or 56% (CI, 35%e76%) of study participants reported
information was available to measure progress and cost savings. being engaged in contingency planning for improved resilience
With the growing waste reduction mandates, including the 2014 in cases of weather or other business disruptions. Contingencies
Massachusetts Organics Ban, it is expected that waste management included telecommuting, and sharing infrastructure with other
will grow in importance (Massachusetts EEA, 2013). Forty-ve businesses, among others. Such planning has become increasingly
percent of study participants reported using other companies' important after the widespread business disruptions caused by
waste as a raw material, a traditional EIP indicator. DEEC's Great hurricane Sandy in the U.S. in October 2012. During the interviews,
Exchange Forum has helped facilitate such connections and save several companies expressed interest in collaborating with others
companies' money; the exchanges, however, were typically low in Devens to nd space for employees in cases of re alarm or other
value items such as bubble wrap, foam packing sheets, small boxes emergency. A few rms were planning to expand and looking for
and furniture (see Text Box 1). new space while others had space they were looking to lease. In
Many companies identied employeeerelated issues as key such cases DEC played a critical broker role in helping companies
challenge: 39% reported difculties with access to highly skilled make the connection and thus reduce transaction costs, leading to
employees, 21% mentioned employee health and well-being and improved business efciency.
another 21% - the challenges in engaging employees around sus- Seventy-six percent (CI, 55%e91%) of participants reported
tainability initiatives. These ndings conrm the growing impor- increasing the use of local/U.S. suppliers to reduce supply chain
tance of knowledge, skills and employee health and well-being for risks. While many companies were involved in sourcing materials
improving business performance and competitiveness and is an and selling products globally, they recognized the increasing supply
area where DEC and DEEC have played an important role. For chain risks and costs and were looking for more local opportunities
instance, with its monthly workshops and roundtables around to meet their needs.
Green Building, Environmental Health and Safety and Regulatory
Compliance, each attracting around 20 people, DEEC has provided a
5.4. Collaborations between Devens companies
forum for area businesses to share best practices, discuss chal-
lenges, exchange resources, and build partnerships, thus helping
The level of collaboration by companies in an EIP is an
them run more efciently and sustainably. Expanded trails and
important indicator of building local networks which enable cost
sidewalks are supporting local rms' wellness programs. Thirty-
savings (e.g., resulting from materials exchanges or joint sourcing)
nine percent of study participants reported having walking clubs
and knowledge sharing. The study found that 86% (CI, 67%e96%) of
or other programs to encourage employee tness.
Devens organizations partnered with others locally. On average
each organization partnered with 2.5 others; three companies -
5.3. Other sustainability practices of Devens organizations Laddawn Inc., Integra, and Devens Recycling - reported partner-
ships with eight other organizations. The presence of non-prot
With the increasing costs of raw materials globally, a growing
number of companies are adopting strategies for product take-back
and reuse or dematerialization (selling services instead of prod- 6
While there are some business connections among the rms located in Devens,
ucts), which can bring signicant bottom line benets (Veleva et al., majority of companies' suppliers and customers were located outside Deven, MA.
V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384 381

Fig. 4. Top sustainability challenges for Devens organizations, April 2013.

organizations such as the Parker Charter School (secondary school), participating in Devens programs has helped improve employee
Mount Wachusetts Community College (higher education) and morale and satisfaction, as shared Melissa Fetterhoff, President and
Loaves and Fishes (food pantry) has helped increase the diversity of CEO of Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce.8
local organizations and thus create additional opportunities for Local government responsiveness is an important factor for
collaborations e from student internships, to waste repurposing, business success, which can lead to reduced costs for obtaining
donations and volunteering. permits, addressing infrastructure and other business needs.
When asked about future opportunities for collaboration, 79% Almost two-thirds (66%) of study participants rated local govern-
(CI, 59%e92%) of study participants said their organization could ment as very responsive to their needs and 24% stated it was
benet from partnerships with others such as joint purchasing, coop somewhat responsive (Veleva, 2012). In follow-up interviews
bidding for snow plowing, landscaping and waste disposal, joint with study participants, many commented on the attractiveness of
safety and other training, contingency space use during re alarm the redevelopment (landscaping and maintenance of public
and other business disruptions, cardboard exchange, and employee spaces). In addition to the streamlined permitting of the DEC, re-
offerings such as walking clubs, gym facilities and eld trips. Such spondents also valued the coordination and accessibility/avail-
collaborations are important for successful development of eco- ability of DEC and MassDevelopment staff for day to day issues.
industrial networks because they create short mental distance, Proposed in the initial Devens sustainability indicator set, local
trust openness and communication (Ashton and Bain, 2012). government responsiveness was never reported before due to the
lack of data. It is, however, an important measure for EIPs de-
5.5. Intangible benets from locating in an eco-industrial park like velopers and policy makers to track and communicate as part of
Devens their strategy to attract companies.

Devens offerings have helped local organizations advance their 6. Discussion


sustainability practices, which are also often seen as key to their
business success and rm competitiveness. Being part of Devens This study demonstrates that a large number of Devens orga-
EIP has helped us become more competitive with prospective na- nizations see sustainability practices as important business issue
tional and local accounts that use our hotels for corporate travel. and source of competitive advantage. By identifying and addressing
Many large companies inquire as to sustainability practices and local rms' key sustainability challenges and priorities e energy
methods during the RFP (request for pricing) process. If they efciency, materials efciency, good infrastructure and employee
themselves have a sustainability initiative, they often won't do skills and well-being e DEC has been able to help support and
business with vendors that don't hold similar values, shared advance these challenges and priorities by implementing local
Maura Peeler, Area General Manager of the True North Hotels government policies and initiatives that have resulted in an in-
Group.7 For other organizations, being a part of an EIP and crease in access to rail, more green buildings and more companies

7 8
Source: Email follow up with Maura Peeler, Area General Manager, True North Source: Email follow up correspondence with Melissa Fetterhoff, President and
Hotels Group, August 15, 2013. CEO, Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce, August 15, 2013.
382 V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384

in Devens collaborating to maximize efciencies. Having local centives to encourage such development are additional factors for
policies and initiatives that are in-line with local business needs can successful eco-industrial park development in the light of regional
serve as a valuable lesson for other policy makers and developers economic development (Chertow and Lombardi, 2005; Deutz and
interested in attracting and retaining companies. The study results Gibbs, 2008).
conrm previous research by Deutz and Gibbs (2008) of using in- By simultaneously pursuing environmental and community
dustrial ecology as a tool for local and regional economic devel- goals, Devens EIP provides empirical evidence in support of Porter
opment. While some parks report challenges in getting companies and Kramer's (2011) recent theory on creating shared value. The
to relocate, Devens has been more successful as a result of building case demonstrates in practice how the right kind of government
on successful spatial planning and infrastructure sharing (Deutz approach (including tax breaks and regulations) can encourage
and Gibbs, 2008). companies to pursue shared value. This approach, used by Devens,
Continuous communication about available programs for local includes setting clear and measurable social goals, establishing
organizations is key for advancing local sustainability goals and performance standards to meet these goals without being too
increasing collaborations (Tudor et al., 2007). With its workshops prescriptive (e.g., the Green Building incentives and regulations
and roundtables as well as the Great Exchange, DEEC has played a encouraging the use of low impact development storm water
critical role in promoting shared knowledge and learning, building management techniques), investing in the development of a mea-
trust and encouraging environmentally favorable behavior among surement and reporting system to benchmark progress (Devens
rms located in Devens and neighboring communities. This nding Sustainability Indicators), and efciently and timely reporting of
conrms previous studies that have examined the role of social results to all stakeholders (Veleva, 2012).
factors, including champions, in advancing collaborations and While locating in an eco-industrial park enables companies to
cooperative approaches to resource management (Hoffman, 2003; create shared value at all three levels outlined by Porter and Kramer
Ashton and Bain, 2012; Boons and Spekkink, 2012). By creating a (2011), the greatest potential is at level 2, redening productivity in
separate entity focused on promoting industrial ecology principles the value chain. This is in line with previous research which has
and greater collaborations among local rms, Devens has estab- found that clustering of companies results in synergies and eco-
lished the necessary institutional infrastructure to ensure eco-in- nomic benets related to access to information, networks, sup-
dustrial activities will continue, even in the case of personnel pliers, distributors, markets, resources and support systems
changes or the loss of key industrial ecology champions (Tudor (Tudor et al., 2007). While DEC has a robust system in place to
et al., 2007). measure the social, economic and environmental results of local
The fact that despite its two-decade long redevelopment Devens collaborations (Veleva, 2012), it is critical to also measure and
still does not have any major exchanges of materials or by-products, communicate the business results as part of their strategy to attract
conrms earlier studies that have identied a range of technical, more tenants. Porter et al. (2013) provide a framework for identi-
legal, economic, and organizational barriers to such exchanges fying such measures. For example, promoting alternatives to the
(Gibbs and Deutz, 2007). In addition, since most heavy single occupancy vehicle to get to work leads to reduced green-
manufacturing has moved abroad, there is less heavy material us- house gas emissions, reduced air pollution and trafc (social ben-
age available for major by-product exchanges. In this sense Devens ets) while at the same time improving companies' environmental
represents an eco-industrial model for light industrial parks, which performance, reputation and employee satisfaction (business
is more relevant to the U.S. industry presently (Lowitt, 2008). In the benets). Improved energy and materials efciency can lead to
21st century knowledge-based economy, the Devens case provides improved protability (business benet) while reducing energy use
empirical evidence in support of the Lombardi and Laybourn (2012) and pollution (economic and environmental). Joint purchasing and
proposal to expand the denition of EIPs to include exchanges of shared infrastructure (e.g., in case of weather or re emergency)
knowledge, information, and expertise, which are all sources of can reduce costs and operational disruptions for participating
innovation. Such vision for developing EIPs is particularly valuable companies (business benet) while promoting local cluster devel-
for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) as it enables them to opment and job opportunities (social benets). Sustainability
become more efcient suppliers in global supply chains through practices such as product take-back for reuse and remanufacturing
sustainability practices (Moore and Manring, 2009). are seen as a key part of adopting sustainable supply chain man-
The study ndings conrm the importance of indirect economic agement which is also associated with both business and social
benets for participating companies (Jacobsen, 2006) including benets (Zhu and Cote, 2004).
development of collaborations and green networks as instruments Understanding and addressing the main business needs and
for learning and innovation (Stormer, 2008). With the growing sustainability challenges of companies is critical for developers
number of environmental regulations, the value of such green and policy makers interested in advancing local and regional
networks and peer learning is expected to increase further (Rao and sustainable economic development. In such cases eco-industrial
Holt, 2005). Greater diversity of involved rms not only promotes parks like Devens can provide valuable lessons on how industrial
cross-sector knowledge transfer but also greater resilience and ecology can serve as a tool for establishing environmental and
reduced fragility of the system when some participants leave social goals, promoting education, trust and collaborations among
(Tudor et al., 2007). rms that lead to both business and social benets. While there
The case of Devens supports the idea that developing EIPs is are many factors that determine the success of such cluster
likely to be a long process where immediate results are unlikely to development (many beyond the control of local policy makers and
be forthcoming (Lowitt, 2008; Gibbs and Deutz, 2007). While EIP developers), the Devens case conrms that developers should
policies and initiatives cannot force companies to change their focus on what they can control and provide exibility and support
behavior, providing educational and networking opportunities, for the growth of social interactions and networking activity
knowledge, and guidance (especially when associated with costs (Deutz and Gibbs, 2008). As results demonstrate, sustainability is
savings or reduced business risks) can promote greater participa- not the main reason for companies to move to an EIP therefore
tion, collaboration and ultimately advance sustainability and local authorities should not abandon their economic develop-
competitiveness of local rms. Adopting local policies and in- ment objectives as suggested by Deutz and Gibbs (2008). Un-
V. Veleva et al. / Journal of Cleaner Production 87 (2015) 375e384 383

derstanding and addressing the main business needs in addition to physical exchanges of materials, energy, water and by-products,
promoting sustainability practices is key for attracting and and more about infrastructure and knowledge sharing, joint
retaining rms. sourcing, building local supply chain and reducing the risks from
weather and other business disruptions. All of these elements are
7. Limitations of the study and recommendations for future critical components of business competitiveness in the 21st century
research knowledge-based economy.

Due to limited resources, the study used a small sample which About the authors
did not allow for conducting more sophisticated statistical analysis
and moving beyond descriptive statistics. Future research could Vesela Veleva is a lecturer and co-director of the Center for
include stratied sampling from several eco-industrial parks to Sustainable Enterprise and Regional Competitiveness, College of
examine the business benets from locating to an eco-industrial Management, University of Massachusetts Boston. Svetlana
park, the differences between small and large facilities and the Todorova is an Adjunct Assistant Professor in D'Amore-McKim
impact of offered programs on sustainability practices and rm School of Business at Northeastern University. Peter Lowitt is the
competitiveness. Potential analysis to use includes inferences about Director/Land Use Administrator for the Devens Enterprise Com-
differences between two or several population proportions, such as mission and the Chair of the Eco-Industrial Development Council of
condence intervals and hypothesis testing. North America. Neil Angus is the Environmental Planner of the
Another limitation of the study is the lack of nancial data to Devens Enterprise Commission. Dona Neely is the Executive Di-
quantitatively evaluate rm performance. Part of the challenge is rector of Devens Eco-Efciency Center.
that earnings cannot be attributed by facility. Many of the rms
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