Fifth intermezzo The exchange of ideas between social science and engineering approaches to product chain industriale cology
Fifth intermezzo The exchange of ideas between social science and engineering approaches to product chain industrial ecology Bart van Hoof The integration of social science approaches into industrial ecology reflects the constant need for engineers to invent, design, develop, produce and optimize processes, products and services of all kinds and make them acceptable to different groups of stakeholders. Since sustainability has become essential to the total quality concept, it has also become a core concept of the engineering discipline, and brings with it the need to account for social considerations. In this intermezzo, I will try to contribute to the exchange of ideas between social scientists and engineers regarding the ongoing value of social science approaches to understanding phenomena in the field of industrial ecology. My personal reference for this discussion is based on my education in industrial engineering and 14 years of experience with applied engineering work in cleaner production and environmental improvement in small, medium and large sized companies in the Netherlands, Colombia and Mexico. In addition to this work related to industrial ecology, I am connected to academic research and teaching in the field at the Los Andes University in Bogota, and am currently in my PhD studies at the industrial ecology program of the Erasmus University in Rotterdam. From this background, I perceive the relationship between sustainability, industrial ecology and the engineering discipline on different levels: I view sustainability as an ‘umbrella concept’ that provides basic values for my acting, whereas industrial ecology provides strategies and...
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