Preparing this book required reviewing a significant amount of literature related to a wide array of subjects, from the conceptual foundations of ecological economics and industrial ecology, to practicalities related to performing life-cycle assessment (LCA) and to policy making.
Having discussed the IPP and its theoretical background, I evaluate this policy and suggest how to improve it. I have generally neglected the challenges to the IPP represented by the common unwillingness of policy and decision makers to deal with environmental problems in a decisive and rigorous way. Similarly, although I have indicated some other types of challenges in relevant places, I have not elaborated on such issues. Instead, unrestricted by considerations about what cannot be achieved, I have preferred to discuss what could be done from the theoretical point of view. The main challenges to the realization of the recommendations appearing throughout this book are only briefly reported in the concluding chapter.
Converting such a vast scope of theoretical analysis into one volume cannot escape some degree of selectiveness and thus some important issues have been omitted. I decided to follow only those issues discussed within ecological economics and industrial ecology that I perceived as having direct linkage to products and product-oriented environmental policy, instead of supplying full descriptions of these areas, each of which would alone necessitate a book much bigger than this one. Also, some abbreviations have had to be made and, perhaps, for this book to be fully comprehensive, in places some further clarifications or more detailed descriptions would have been helpful. For example, only one modelling approach is presented in detail (input-output analysis, practiced extensively within both ecological economics and industrial ecology), while other frameworks might also be very useful for analyses related to the IPP. However, throughout this book, numerous references identify sources where interested readers can find more comprehensive information on the relevant subjects.