2015/07/09 09:45 Walter Stahel and Roland Clift, “Stocks and Flows in the Performance Economy”, ISIE, U. Surrey

Plenary talk by Roland Clift @CES_Surrey, and Walter Stahel, The Product-Life Institute, at “Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology”, 8th Biennial Conference of the International Society for Industrial Ecology, University of Surrey, Guildford, July 7-10, 2015

This digest was created in real-time during the meeting, based on the speaker’s presentation(s) and comments from the audience. The content should not be viewed as an official transcript of the meeting, but only as an interpretation by a single individual. Lapses, grammatical errors, and typing mistakes may not have been corrected. Questions about content should be directed to the originator. The digest has been made available for purposes of scholarship by David Ing.

Plenary talks for ISIE 2015 are by contributors to an open access volume, Taking Stock of Industrial Ecology, available online as open access e-book from Springer in fall 2015.  See the table of contents and the Springer book description.


Walter Stahel is Founder and Director of the Product-Life Institute, in Geneva

Roland Clift is Emeritus Professor of Environmental Technology, University of Surrey

[Roland Clift]

Talk contains circular economy, called performance economy

  • Circular economy focuses on flows, not stocks

DI_20150709 034611 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift Stock Flow

People still struggle with stocks and flows

  • Ellen Macarthur Foundation has been successful in getting circular economy out, but not understood
  • They published “the wealth of flows”, confusing

Mainly focused on developed world economies

DI_20150709 034719 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift PerformanceEconomy

Performance economy starts with the stocks

  • What’s the best way to get the best performance from the stocks?  Then use flows to maintain
  • When stock gets to the point when you can’t use it?  Washing machine breaks down, try to replace bearings, but if can’t, then replace
  • Recycling and remanufacturing are two different things
  • Stock use and recycling is in local economy
  • Remanufacturing means localizing the activity, generating local employment
  • Advocating labour productivity means low employment
  • How to switch from energy to labour as a principle factor in production

Gaia relationship

  • IPCC report is wrong, they changed it after Clift wrote
  • To deliver a service, need some intensity, i.e. a stock
  • To maintain the S, need to a flow
  • To produce, need some energy
  • Usually, remanuacturing uses less resources than recycling, which requires less than primary production
  • Lifetime of stock

Thus, priority order to reduce energy use and emission

  • Extend life is best

Then, discuss distance issues

[Walter Stahel]

Rebound effect is most relevant is the money goes into flows

  • If money goes into stocks, then there isn’t so much of an issue with rebound effects

Maintaining the quality of manufacturing stock at its highest value will mean a new science

  • Upgrading components (microchips)
  • Recycling atoms by de-alloying

3 pillars of managing manufactured stocks

  • OEM manufacturing skills: Can produce in China and ship elsewhere, but can’t maintain it that way
  • Retained ownership of goods:  Will try to prevent costs, and gives resource security, no compliance costs and no transaction costs
  • Operation and maintenance skills

DI_20150709 035007 ISIE plenary WalterStahel EnergyRequiredToMaintainStock

Can’t sell a tire service without local, as retreading

DI_20150709 035144 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift ReprocessingAndRecycling

Mining with molecules as services?

DI_20150709 035200 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift PerformanceEconomy TotalInterventions

Performance economy needs new metrics

  • value per weight
  • manpower input per weight
  • (then don’t have to look at flows)

DI_20150709 035334 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift PriorityOrder

DI_20150709 035524 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift MaintainingQualityOfManufacturedStock

1976 report to EC was substituting manpower for energy

  • I/O analysis on Dutch and Spanish economies, means that CO2 down 70%, increase in employment
  • Labour-intensive regional economy, don’t tax non-renewal resources; tax renewal resources

DI_20150709 035849 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift BusinessModelInPerformanceEconomy

DI_20150709 040231 ISIE plenary WalterStahel RolandClift ValueAndLabourInput

For a copy of the 2010 ebook version of Performance Economy, send an e-mail