8.2 Ecological economics and industrial ecology

Integrated Product Policy

Ecological economics and industrial ecology are complementary and sometimes what is not claimed explicitly within the premises of one of them might be claimed within the premises of the other. Similar issues are raised within both of them, similar tools are employed and so new insights might be gleaned into some long-discussed issues, if more explicit integration of these two areas took place. Together they form a consistent body of knowledge.

Industrial ecology shares all three types of considerations of ecological eco¬≠nomics (biophysical, economic and strategic) but refers to them in a narrower way, so that they principally apply to industry and products. From the analysis presented in Chapter 4, it seems that industrial ecologists would subscribe to all of the considerations ( or underlying principles) of ecological economics as laid out in Chapter 3. Ecological economists would also agree with the more specific principles of industrial ecology, and the elements of the industrial ecology metaphor, but they might have some other ideas on how to achieve the strategic goals, common to both areas.

The analysis of the theoretical (underlying principles) and practical issues (history, cross-referencing, normative character and the focus of industrial ecology on industry and products), performed in section 4.5, confirms that both areas are closely related and, moreover, that it is ecological economics that is relatively broader and thus encompasses industrial ecology.