Inderscience Publishers

Commentary: regional environmental management systems: lessons and challenges for industrial ecology research

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Industrial ecology has made a major contribution to the tools of corporate environmental management over the last ten years. However, it is argued that most of that contribution has been at the level of products and individual firms. It is argued that if the concept of industrial ecology is to be developed in a way that attracts public policy attention then it will have to demonstrate greater benefits at the sectoral and regional levels. One of the seeds of industrial ecology, the regional environmental management system (REMS), is advocated as a way to push industrial ecology approaches more broadly. Just as REMS likes to adopt a business-related tool to manage a region, so Industrial Ecology is, in part, a metaphor for businesses acting in a more interlinked regional way. There is therefore a great deal of synergy between these two concepts. Indeed, a REMS approach to industrial development can be much enhanced if businesses are able to take on an industrial ecology perspective. This paper therefore examines the synergies between the two approaches in the context of ecological modernisation theory and suggests a framework for the further development of them in parallel. This in turn raises issues that require further research that will hopefully be reflected in future pages of this new journal.

Keywords: environmental management systems, regional development, ecological modernisation, research agenda, industrial ecology

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