Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development

By Livio D. DeSimone; Frank Popoff | Go to book overview

1 Eco-efficiency and
Sustainable Development

In 1990 DuPont's then CEO, Edgar Woolard, anticipated many of the themes of this book when he said:

The green economies and lifestyles of the twenty-first century may be conceptualized by environmental thinkers, but they can only be actualized by industrial corporations. Industry has a next-century vision of integrated environmental performance. Not every company is there yet, but most are trying. Those that aren't trying won't be a problem long-term, simply because they won't be around long-term. That is the new competitive reality. 1

Since then, many companies have developed and begun to implement this next-century vision. And, as the following chapters show, they have had considerable success. Emissions and wastes have been reduced, recycling has become common and many hazardous materials have been eliminated from products and processes. Source reduction approaches such as pollution prevention and design for environment are increasingly preferred to "end-of-pipe" methods that are expensive and simply transfer pollution from one medium to another.

These source reduction measures have contributed to real environmental improvements at the local level, such as cleaner air and water, in many parts of the world. Global problems have also been addressed. Industry has cooperated with policy makers and NGOs to first develop a global treaty (the Montreal Protocol) to phase out chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) and then taken action to remove them from products and processes.This has been a significant technical challenge, both for the companies who had to develop alternative products and those who have had to change their equipment and products to use substitutes. But the environmental and health benefits should be seen in the next

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Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Eco-Efficiency - The Business Link to Sustainable Development *
  • Contents *
  • Foreword *
  • Views of Business Leaders *
  • Acknowledgments *
  • Introduction *
  • 1 - Eco-Efficiency and Sustainable Development *
  • 2 - Eco-Efficiency and the Bottom Line *
  • 3 - Defining and Measuring Eco-Efficiency *
  • 4 - Becoming Eco-Efficient *
  • 5 - Partnership for Eco-Efficiency *
  • 6 - Case Studies *
  • 7 - A Leadership Role for Business *
  • Notes *
  • Wbcsd Working Group on Eco-Efficiency *
  • Index *
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