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The need for combining IEA and IE tools: The potential effects of a global ban on PVC on climate change


  • Kleijn, René
  • van der Voet, Ester
  • Udo de Haes, Helias A.


Over the last decades the concepts of Integrated Environmental Assessment (IEA) and Industrial Ecology (IE), both claiming to provide analyses and solutions for sustainability issues, have been developed separately as they emerged in response to questions from different policy-fields. In both fields, specific tools are used to support national and international environmental policy. The focus of IEA and IE tools, however, is different. IEA tools focus on one or a limited number of specific environmental issues. They often model the chain environmental processes with high spatial (and temporal) resolution, but have a low resolution for the material structure of the economy and only partly take into account indirect effects that occur via physical and socio-economic linkages. IE tools take into account all environmental issues related to a specific substance or product. They have a high resolution for the material structure of the economy and take into account indirect effects that occur via physical linkages, however, their environmental modelling is very limited. Both IE and IEA tools have proven to be very useful and neither is superior to the other. However, a combination of both can provide additional information that can be used for more effective policy making. We use the case of a hypothetical world-wide ban on PVC to show that a measure that is not directly related to climate change could still have significant climate effects. This indirect effect is a result of the linkages of material flows in society. We show that IEA tools are not well suited to include these types of effects and that IE tools can fill this gap partially. What is really needed is a broader systems perspective that takes into account the full range of possible side-effects of environmental policy measures.

Suggested Citation

  • Kleijn, René & van der Voet, Ester & Udo de Haes, Helias A., 2008. "The need for combining IEA and IE tools: The potential effects of a global ban on PVC on climate change," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 65(2), pages 266-281, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:ecolec:v:65:y:2008:i:2:p:266-281

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Kleijn, Rene & Huele, Ruben & van der Voet, Ester, 2000. "Dynamic substance flow analysis: the delaying mechanism of stocks, with the case of PVC in Sweden," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 32(2), pages 241-254, February.
    2. Elshkaki, Ayman & van der Voet, Ester & Timmermans, Veerle & Van Holderbeke, Mirja, 2005. "Dynamic stock modelling: A method for the identification and estimation of future waste streams and emissions based on past production and product stock characteristics," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 30(8), pages 1353-1363.
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    Cited by:

    1. Kleijn, Rene & van der Voet, Ester, 2010. "Resource constraints in a hydrogen economy based on renewable energy sources: An exploration," Renewable and Sustainable Energy Reviews, Elsevier, vol. 14(9), pages 2784-2795, December.
    2. Zhang, Hui & Dong, Liang & Li, Huiquan & Fujita, Tsuyoshi & Ohnishi, Satoshi & Tang, Qing, 2013. "Analysis of low-carbon industrial symbiosis technology for carbon mitigation in a Chinese iron/steel industrial park: A case study with carbon flow analysis," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 61(C), pages 1400-1411.
    3. Lauwers, Ludwig, 2009. "Justifying the incorporation of the materials balance principle into frontier-based eco-efficiency models," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 68(6), pages 1605-1614, April.
    4. Silva Lora, Electo E. & Escobar Palacio, José C. & Rocha, Mateus H. & Grillo Renó, Maria L. & Venturini, Osvaldo J. & Almazán del Olmo, Oscar, 2011. "Issues to consider, existing tools and constraints in biofuels sustainability assessments," Energy, Elsevier, vol. 36(4), pages 2097-2110.

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