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A Handbook of Industrial Ecology

Edited by Robert U. Ayres and Leslie W. Ayres

Industrial ecology is coming of age and this superb book brings together leading scholars to present a state-of-the-art overviews of the subject. Each part of the book comprehensively covers the following issues in a systematic style: the goals and achievements of industrial ecology and the history of the field; methodology, covering the main approaches to analysis and assessment; economics and industrial ecology; industrial ecology at the national/regional level; industrial ecology at the sectoral/materials level; and applications and policy implications.
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Chapter 6: Industrial ecology: governance, laws and regulations

Braden R. Allenby


Braden R. Allenby Industrial ecology deals for the most part with environmental science, and technology and technological systems, but these do not exist in a vacuum. Thus the industrial ecologist should be familiar not just with the techniques and principles of the field, but also with the cultural and legal context within which they are embedded. These dimensions are usually interrelated with economic and other policy issues (see Chapter 5). Taken together, these dimensions are integrated in general policies, practices, laws and regulation that vary widely between jurisdictions. Rather than focus on specifics that may be relevant only in particular jurisdictions, therefore, this chapter will present a general introduction to the governance and legal contexts within which industrial ecology issues are likely to arise and be resolved. In many fields, a discussion of law and regulation is straightforward, if detailed. Industrial ecology, however, offers a more daunting analytical challenge, for two principal reasons. First, it represents the evolution of environmental policy from overhead to strategic for both society and firms. As overhead, environment was essentially an afterthought, to be taken care of once the core activity, whether it was producing widgets in the firm, or carrying out national security policy as a nation state, was already done. For example, putting scrubbers on a manufacturing facility is an overhead approach; indeed, such environmental expenditures appear in corporate accounting systems in the overhead accounts (Todd 1994). Designing a personal computer to be cost-efficient in a jurisdiction that requires product...

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