The legal context within which industrial ecologists operate is complex and varies by jurisdiction. Moreover, once it is recognized that environment is increasingly strategic, rather than overhead, for firms and for society as a whole, it follows that the traditional discipline of environmental law is less and less important for the practice of industrial ecology. Rather, the industrial ecologist needs to become broadly familiar with the legal structures and issues which affect development, trade, and economic and technology policy, and comfortable in a global governance system that is both unclear and evolving rapidly.

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