Sustainable Advantage: Accelerating from Regulatory Compliance to Environmental Sustainability

By Charles CC Lee.

Published by The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability

Format Price
Article: Print $US10.00
Published online: March 2, 2017 $US5.00

According to the 2014 WWF Living Planet Report, “We are using 50% more resources than the Earth can provide. By 2030, even two planets will not be sufficient.” Rapid industrial development in the last century has not only severely depleted our finite natural resources but also heavily polluted fragile ecosystems on land and water. This paper is focused on a new environmental sustainable framework for industries. In the framework, there are four stages: industries need to quickly move away from a compliance-based mindset (Stage 1) to an environmental management system that incorporates continuous improvement throughout the life of the facility (Stage 2). In Stage 3, industrial ecology principles are aggressively embraced such that we accelerate to the ultimate goal of zero emissions (final Stage 4). The circular economy, which embraces these sustainability principles (industrial ecology and zero emissions), is gaining increasing acceptance with large global industries such as Google, Unilever, and Renault. While zero emissions may seem like a hypothetical goal, it is ultimately our best choice.

Keywords: Industrial Ecology, Zero Emissions, Compliance, Circular Economy

The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability, Volume 13, Issue 2, pp.37-44. Article: Print (Spiral Bound). Published online: March 2, 2017 (Article: Electronic (PDF File; 1.002MB)).

Dr. Charles CC Lee

Deputy Program Convenor, School of Environmental and Life Sciences, University of Newcastle, Callaghan, Australia