The adoption of life-cycle approaches by industry: patterns and impacts.

Howes, Rupert and Berkhout, Frans (1997) The adoption of life-cycle approaches by industry: patterns and impacts. Resources Conservation and Recycling, 20. pp. 71-94. ISSN 0921-3449

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Abstract

Firms are the primary organisers and drivers of resources flows through and emissions from developed economies. Sustainable industrial development is a process in which these flows are modified. This includes both a reduction of materials and energy intensity, increasing cyclicity of materials fluxes, and a reduction of dissipative uses of toxic materials. The role of firms in achieving these changes is discussed in this paper. Life cycle assessment activities in large European firms in six industrial sectors are assessed. Market and regulatory pressures on firms to adopt life cycle approaches differ markedly between industrial sectors and across national markets. Producers of final products are most likely to find opportunities for improvements in the life cycle environmental performance of products while making gains in dynamic competitiveness at the same time. Upstream producers of commodity products have tended to use life cycle approaches defensively against negative environmental claims and in seeking to influence the policy process. Despite widespread adoption of life cycle approaches, changes in product system ecoprofiles are likely to be slow given technological trajectories, infrastructural and resource endowments, and the fragmentation of environmental responsibility across the product chain.

Item Type: Article
Schools and Departments: School of Business, Management and Economics > SPRU - Science Policy Research Unit
Depositing User: EPrints Services
Date Deposited: 06 Feb 2012 21:02
Last Modified: 12 Jun 2013 13:39
URI: http://sro.sussex.ac.uk/id/eprint/29266
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