Better – But is it Good Enough? On the Need to Consider Both Eco-efficiency and Eco-effectiveness to Gauge Industrial Sustainability

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    Sustainability is gaining prominence among the priorities of large companies, and engineers have taken on the eco-efficiency challenge, optimizing the functionality and minimizing the negative environmental impacts of our products and technologies. Although impressive improvements in efficiency can be demonstrated in many local cases, increases in population, affluence and consumption create an opposite trend that we need to factor in when we address sustainability of our technological developments in an absolute sense. The paper discusses absolute boundaries for environmental sustainability, metrics for gauging our solutions against these boundaries and the need and possibilities of expanding our focus from efficiency to effectiveness.
    Original languageEnglish
    JournalProcedia CIRP
    Pages (from-to)1-7
    Number of pages7
    Publication statusPublished - 2015
    Event22nd C I R P Conference on Life Cycle Engineering - Sydney, Australia
    Duration: 7 Apr 20159 Apr 2015
    Conference number: 22


    Conference22nd C I R P Conference on Life Cycle Engineering

    Bibliographical note

    © 2015 The Authors. Published by Elsevier B.V. This is an open access article under the CC BY-NC-ND license


    • 5-10 keywords Absolute sustainability
    • IPAT equation
    • Eco-efficiency
    • Midpoint LCA
    • Eco-effectiveness
    • Cradle to cradle
    • Planetary boundaries
    • Carrying capacity
    • Normalization
    • Person equivalent

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