Industry Ecology , Full Topic | Commerce Study Notes

NET/JRF Exam Booster ( Paper I + Paper II )

Industry Ecology , Full Topic

What is Industry Ecology 

Industrial activities are increasingly in confrontation with ecological systems. Continued natural resource exploitation and environmental impacts of resource use and pollution are cause for concern around the world. One broad approach emerging in response to these concerns is called Industrial Ecology (IE)

  • IE offers important goals and organizing principles for reforming industry, providing concepts which are gradually being embraced by leaders in industry, academia, and government agencies.
  • IE is advanced as a holistic approach to redesigning industrial activities
  • IE signals a shift from "end-of-pipe" pollution control methods towards strategies for more comprehensive prevention and planning of environmentally sound industrial development.

Components of Industry Ecology 

  1. improving metabolic pathways for materials use and industrial processes; 
  2. creating loop-closing industrial practices;
  3. dematerializing industrial output;
  4. systematizing patterns of energy use; 
  5. balancing industrial input and output to natural ecosystem capacity; 
  6. aligning policy to conform with longterm industrial system evolution; and,
  7. creating new action-coordinating structures, communicative linkages, and information. 

Strategies and Tools

techniques generally support one of two strategies: 
(1) the provision of information that will allow broader environmental consequences to be incorporated into the decision making process at levels ranging from policy to product design (i.e. "getting the information right"), and 
(2) the monetary incorporation of externalities that prevent the market from properly coordinating material flows (i.e. "getting the prices right")

  • Getting the information right  

The first interpretation of achieving a systems-oriented approach stresses the need for designers to consider the broader environmental implications of their decisions

The underlying premise is that industry needs more information about the environmental implications of their activities, and that by better analyzing production it will be possible to re-design products and processes to save money and protect the environment. 

  • Getting the Prices Right

A different approach to achieving "systems-oriented" product and policy design seeks to supply information indirectly by incorporating environmental externalities into market prices

Strategies for correcting market failures fall broadly into two categories: removing barriers that prevent private industry from responding to existing price signals, and addressing market externalities that lead to incorrect price signals

Business Ethics and Environment management Notes

vision and strategic plan

  • Resource efficiency in energy, materials, water, and transportation, with the cost savings gained through higher efficiency;  
  • Cleaner production through good housekeeping, reduction and substitution of toxic materials, control of emissions, separation of by-product or residual materials;  
  • Use of renewable energy and materials to replace fossil fuel and finite material;  
  • Rehabilitation of existing buildings to higher energy and environmental standards and use of green architecture and engineering in new facility and infrastructure design;
  •  Enhancement of quality of life and economic development in neighboring communities;  
  • Ecological site planning and utilization based upon clear understanding of the carrying capacity of air, water, and ground systems; and
  •  Establishing environmental management systems with objectives and indicators not only compliance with regulations. 

Model of Industry Ecology 

  • Industrial Ecology offers an important set of goals and organizing principles for reforming industrial activities to reduce their adverse environmental impacts
  • The IE framework begins to fill a current void for analyzing industrial-environmental problems and for designing solutions to growing resource constraints and degradation of environmental quality
  • It is quite clear that industry, government, and public organizations need tools for better analysis and planning of environmental issues. However, while having the potential to provide these tools, IE is currently mired in its own ambiguity and weaknesses 
  • Early efforts to delineate Industrial Ecology have produced a wide variety of strategies and tools for achieving disparate visions of sustainable industrial development. 

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