Article

Industrial Ecology: Business Management in a Material World

Reid Lifset and Frank Boons

in The Oxford Handbook of Business and the Natural Environment

Published in print November 2011 | ISBN: 9780199584451
Published online January 2012 | | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/oxfordhb/9780199584451.003.0017

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

Industrial Ecology: Business Management in a Material World

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Industrial ecology (IE) is an ensemble concept that specifies ways in which firms can and are currently starting to deal with their environmental impact. Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) have become familiar elements of public discourse and environmental management. Self-organization, self-governance, governments setting conditions, external control can be instrumental in providing the coordination necessary for industrial ecology. IE intersects with operations management and research primarily in three ways: through its focus on resource efficiency, through efforts to accomplish loop-closing, and through insights that emerge from the ecological analogy. It can inform, shape, and even constrain corporate marketing activities. It has a less distinctive connection to finance. The anchoring of IE in a physical conception of environment that challenges the monopoly of conventional approaches to management is a key source of a central dilemma for the field.

Keywords: industrial ecology; life-cycle assessments; public discourse; environmental management; corporate marketing; finance; self-organization; self-governance

Article.  8020 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Strategy

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