Industrial Ecology: Business Management in a Material World
Industrial ecology (IE) is an ensemble concept that specifies ways in which firms can and are currently starting to deal with their environmental impact. Life-cycle assessments (LCAs) have become familiar elements of public discourse and environmental management. Self-organization, self-governance, governments setting conditions, external control can be instrumental in providing the coordination necessary for industrial ecology. IE intersects with operations management and research primarily in three ways: through its focus on resource efficiency, through efforts to accomplish loop-closing, and through insights that emerge from the ecological analogy. It can inform, shape, and even constrain corporate marketing activities. It has a less distinctive connection to finance. The anchoring of IE in a physical conception of environment that challenges the monopoly of conventional approaches to management is a key source of a central dilemma for the field.