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Eco-efficiency guiding micro-level actions towards sustainability: Ten basic steps for analysis

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  • Huppes, Gjalt
  • Ishikawa, Masanobu
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    Abstract

    This paper looks at the compatibility between technological improvements at the micro-level and sustainability at the macro-level. The two main approaches to prevent environmental degradation are technological improvement and economic degrowth. How do we establish the sustainability of technological options? LCA-type analysis of the technology system, combined with economic cost analysis, offers a first integrated eco-efficiency score. However, such a technology analysis focuses on micro-level technology relations only, is usually too optimistic and ignores other constraints implied in a choice. Fitting more comprehensive knowledge into the sustainability evaluation of options requires a unifying systematic framework, which is worked out in the present paper as a ten-step procedure. The integrative framework for empirical analysis is ultimately a comparative-static systems analysis at macro-level, not in a deterministic dynamic mode, which is impossible, but as a knowledge-fed scenario analysis. The analysis shows the change in society's overall eco-efficiency, combining total value creation with total environmental impacts. Possible domains of application include not only technology choices like those in eco-innovation, including changed consumption styles and volumes, but also changes in policies regarding technologies and markets, whether direct policy shifts or indirect changes through institutional adaptations. Ultimately, such a framework also allows culturally framed questions about the type of society we would like to live in, to be analysed in terms of their economic and environmental consequences.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Ecological Economics.

    Volume (Year): 68 (2009)
    Issue (Month): 6 (April)
    Pages: 1687-1700

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    Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:68:y:2009:i:6:p:1687-1700

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    Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/ecolecon

    Related research

    Keywords: Technology assessment Scale effects LCA Integrated assessment Scenarios;

    References

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    Please report citation or reference errors to , or , if you are the registered author of the cited work, log in to your RePEc Author Service profile, click on "citations" and make appropriate adjustments.:
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    1. Simon Dietz & Eric Neumayer, 2007. "Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: concepts and measurement," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 3058, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    2. Searchinger, Timothy & Heimlich, Ralph & Houghton, R. A. & Dong, Fengxia & Elobeid, Amani & Fabiosa, Jacinto F. & Tokgoz, Simla & Hayes, Dermot J. & Yu, Hun-Hsiang, 2008. "Use of U.S. Croplands for Biofuels Increases Greenhouse Gases Through Emissions from Land-Use Change," Staff General Research Papers 12881, Iowa State University, Department of Economics.
    3. Livio D. DeSimone & Frank Popoff, 2000. "Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262541092, December.
    4. Huppes, G. & Davidson, M.D. & Kuyper, J. & van Oers, L. & Udo de Haes, H.A. & Warringa, G., 2007. "Eco-efficient environmental policy in oil and gas production in The Netherlands," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(1), pages 43-51, February.
    5. York, Richard & Rosa, Eugene A. & Dietz, Thomas, 2003. "STIRPAT, IPAT and ImPACT: analytic tools for unpacking the driving forces of environmental impacts," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 351-365, October.
    6. Faye Duchin, 2005. "A world trade model based on comparative advantage with m regions, n goods, and k factors," Economic Systems Research, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(2), pages 141-162.
    7. Huppes, Gjalt & Ishikawa, Masanobu, 2007. "Sustainability evaluation: Diverging routes recombined?," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 62(1), pages 199-200, April.
    8. Douglass C. North, 2005. "Introduction to Understanding the Process of Economic Change
      [Understanding the Process of Economic Change]
      ," Introductory Chapters, Princeton University Press.
    9. Dietz, Simon & Neumayer, Eric, 2007. "Weak and strong sustainability in the SEEA: Concepts and measurement," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 61(4), pages 617-626, March.
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    Citations

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    Cited by:
    1. Azevedo, Susana & Cudney, Elizabeth A. & Grilo, António & Carvalho, Helena & Cruz-Machado, V., 2012. "The influence of eco-innovation supply chain practices on business eco-efficiency," MPRA Paper 42704, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Hideki Kobayashi & Masahiro Kato & Yukishige Maezawa & Kenji Sano, 2011. "An R&D Management Framework for Eco-Technology," Sustainability, MDPI, Open Access Journal, vol. 3(8), pages 1282-1301, August.
    3. Picazo-Tadeo, Andrés J. & Castillo-Giménez, Juana & Beltrán-Esteve, Mercedes, 2014. "An intertemporal approach to measuring environmental performance with directional distance functions: Greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 100(C), pages 173-182.
    4. Wursthorn, Sibylle & Poganietz, Witold-Roger & Schebek, Liselotte, 2011. "Economic-environmental monitoring indicators for European countries: A disaggregated sector-based approach for monitoring eco-efficiency," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 70(3), pages 487-496, January.
    5. Klára Szita Tóthné & Eszter Siposné Nándori, 2010. "A Regional Evaluation of Sustainability with Special Regard to Social Aspects," Theory Methodology Practice (TMP), Faculty of Economics, University of Miskolc, vol. 5(01), pages 75-80.
    6. Andrés J. Picazo-Tadeo & Juana Castillo & Mercedes Beltrán-Esteve, 2013. "A dynamic approach to measuring ecological-economic performance with directional distance functions: greenhouse gas emissions in the European Union," Working Papers 1304, Department of Applied Economics II, Universidad de Valencia.

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