Resource Optimization Initiative
Activities of ROI
  ROI is one of the first groups in the developing world to apply the theory, methods, and tools of industrial ecology in a developing context to inform policy and strategies for sustainable development.

At ROI we have two teams:
One focused on research and another on outreach, communication and training
  Our primary research focus is to optimize resource utilization by the Indian population. Our specific research activities are to:

1. Investigate environmental and social impacts from current patterns of resource consumption and recommend strategies to minimize negative impacts (optimize these flows),
2. Develop new methods that combine industrial ecology research with financial and social analyses to determine strategies that are locally feasible and culturally acceptable,
3. Partner with research institutions all over the world to encourage and facilitate research in industrial ecology in developing countries.


The main strength of ROI is in its use of clear and effective research methodology to provide insightful information about current practices and effective solutions for converting currently unsustainable practices to sustainable ones. We use principles and tools of industrial ecology to map out resources, understand current patterns of utilization and propose changes so as to bring about equitable distribution of clean resources. We adopt a broad definition of resources to include not only land, water, air and materials but also knowledge, social capital and tradition so that the solutions we provide are reliable and have long term positive effects for participating communities. We have always believed that such solutions will be effective only if all important social, economic and environmental variables are taken into consideration. ROI has collaborated with and retains strong ties with an extensive network of international academic and practitioner experts in the field of industrial ecology, such as its board of advisors. These relationships increase the available “brainpower” of the organization to take on large scale issues.

Currently we are focusing on a few projects and are poised to begin more in the near future:


Outreach, Communication and Training

Over the years ROI has felt that an important challenge lies in translating its research into implementable solutions and spreading awareness on the need for a holistic systems approach to promote sustainable development. This systems approach should focus on analyzing the long and short term economic, environmental and social benefits and costs associated with utilization, consumption, recycling and disposal of resources. To overcome this challenge we envisage that ROI will have an “Outreach and Communication” team that will focus on overcoming these challenges by actively interacting with the research component of ROI to provide feasible and implementable solutions to alleviate costs associated with anthropogenic activities in India, and create media, awareness programs and training programs to introduce industrial ecology to diverse audiences.

  The primary activities of this Outreach and Communication team would be to:

1. Follow up and implement solutions proposed by ROIs research,
2. Conduct awareness programs/road shows on Industrial Ecology and ROIs research with other groups including policy makers, industries, non-governmental organizations and communities,
3. Share resource optimized case studies with policy makers and communities in developing economies,
4. Develop and impart skills and tools of industrial ecology (Material/Resource Flow Analysis, Life Cycle Analysis, Input-Output Analysis, Design for Environment, etc.) to policy-makers, industries and communities
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Prof. Suren Erkman is the Chairman of ROI. He is one of the pioneers of Industrial Ecology and one of the founding members of the International Society for Industrial Ecology (ISIE). He is currently the Director of the Institute for Land Use Policies and Human Environment – IPTEH Faculty of Geosciences and Environment, Sorge Area - Amphipole Building, University of Lausanne, Switzerland. He is also the co-founder and member of the managing board of the Journal of Industrial Ecology (Yale University). The work by him and his team at the University of Lausanne has been published in several books, scientific publications and articles. One of his books has been translated into Chinese and used in formulating the Circular Economy Law that aims to accelerate sustainable industrial development in China.


Dr. Megha Shenoy is the Research Director at ROI. She co-ordinates and plans research investigations at ROI. Dr. Shenoy is also a Research Affiliate at the Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies, New Haven, USA. She completed her Masters and PhD degree from the Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India and a post doctoral fellowship from the Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale University, New Haven, USA.


Mr. Lokanath S. is the Senior Researcher at ROI. At ROI he has previously investigated solutions to improve energy efficiency, water recycling and carbon di-oxide emissions in the silk reeling sector around Bangalore. He has completed his Masters degree in Public Policy from the School of Public Policy, Indian Institution of Charted Financial Analysis of India (ICFAI), Hyderabad, India and Bachelors degree in Economics, Political Science, and History from St. Joseph’s College, Bangalore, India. He has completed a Summer Internship, at Observer Research Foundation, New Delhi (May 2008-July 2008) where he worked on solid waste management in India with special focus on Hyderabad waste management, its problems, main features and policy implications.


Mr. Manjunath Prasad H.J. is the administrator in-charge at ROI. He oversees administrative responsibilities in addition to updating and maintaining the online database of case studies, specialists and books at ROI. He also maintains and manages our in house library. Mr. Manjunath has completed his Bachelor’s degree in Commerce and Business from the University of Mysore, India. He has extensive work experience in managing administrative duties of medium scale enterprises in India.

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The web site of ROI is in an advance state of readiness. As can been seen this is not just a web page of ROI as its primary purpose is to introduce Industrial Ecology to policy makers and interested citizens in developing countries. We welcome specialists in Industrial Ecology to send us case studies that can be included in this collection. We hope policy makers will use these case studies to implement Industrial Ecology for optimal management of resources in developing countries. We also encourage specialists to list themselves with ROI so that their names can be included in the web site. Please send details or suggestions to

ROI web site also has a simply-written introduction to Industrial Ecology. We encourage readers to download, print or otherwise propagate this document.

  Project Funding 

Initial funding for ROI projects has come from the State of Geneva, through a Swiss foundation FIDEST. The Charles Leopold Mayer Foundation for the Progress of Humankind has also provided seed funding.

Further funding for our work has come from the Karnataka State Council for Science and Technology (KSCST), Indian Institute of Science, Bangalore, India; Karnataka State Pollution Control Board (KSPCB), India; Center for Industrial Ecology, Yale University, USA; Institute for Communication and Analysis of Sciences and Technologies (ICAST), Geneva, Switzerland.

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