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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 23: Industrial ecology: analyses for sustainable resource and materials management in Germany and Europe

Stefan Bringezu


Stefan Bringezu Industrial ecology comprises the analysis of the industrial metabolism and the implementation of appropriate instruments and measures for materials and resource management on different levels. This contribution will focus on analyses for public policy support. Policy development in Germany and Europe since the mid-1990s has been influenced by material flow-related goals, such as resource efficiency factor 4 to 10 and the eco-efficiency debate. These concepts in turn have gained momentum from the availability of data on the material throughput and resource requirements of industrialized countries. The study Sustainable Germany (Loske et al. 1996) was based on the first comprehensive material flow accounts of the German economy (Bringezu and Schütz 1995). It found widespread resonance among non-governmental organizations (NGOs) and inspired similar work by governmental agencies (UBA 1997b). The German environmental ministry prepared a draft environmental policy program (BMU 1998) which proposed concrete targets for an increase in energy and raw materials productivity. Parallel to the policy debate, the Federal Statistical Office (FSO) developed a material and energy flow information system (MEFIS) (Radermacher and Stahmer 1998). On the European level, studies from NGOs also stimulated political action. Inspired by the study Sustainable Netherlands (Buitenkamp et al. 1992), data on selected materials consumption were provided and targets for sustainable development were proposed in studies such as Sustainable Europe (FoE 1995). These studies were rooted in the concept of environmental space (Opschoor 1992) and exemplified the factor 4 to 10 goal for an increase...

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