Sustainable development

Thus cleaner production claims to include industrial ecology within its remit, and has on one occasion devoted a special issue of the journal to industrial ecology (Ashford and Coté 1997). At the same time, the Journal of Industrial Ecology (published by The MIT Press) 'focuses on the potential role of industry in reducing environmental burdens throughout the product life cycle from the extraction of raw materials, to the production of goods, to the use of those goods, to the management of the resulting wastes'. Without explicitly using the term, the journal's list of topics includes much of the ground covered by cleaner production.

In spite of these similarities and overlaps, the two concepts emerged in slightly different ways from slightly different places, and there are, at least on some interpretations, discernible differences in approach which flow from these historical idiosyncrasies. This chapter sketches briefly the history of the concept of cleaner production and its integration into a network of activities coordinated by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP). It next sets out some of the underlying principles of cleaner production and describes how these are translated into operational strategies. Finally, it discusses key similarities and differences between cleaner production and industrial ecology.

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