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close this bookIndustrial Metabolism: Restructuring for Sustainable Development (UNU; 1994; 376 pages)
View the documentNote to the reader from the UNU
View the documentAcknowledgements
View the documentIntroduction
Open this folder and view contentsPart 1: General implications
Open this folder and view contentsPart 2: Case-studies
close this folderPart 3: Further implications
Open this folder and view contents12. The precaution principle in environmental management
close this folder13. Transfer of clean(er) technologies to developing countries
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentSustainable development
View the documentEnvironmentally sound technology, clean(er) technology
View the documentIndustrial metabolism
View the documentKnowledge and technology transfer
View the documentEndogenous capacity
View the documentCrucial elements of endogenous capacity-building
View the documentInternational cooperation for clean(er) technologies
View the documentConclusions
View the documentTwo case-studies
View the documentReferences
View the documentBibliography
Open this folder and view contents14. A plethora of paradigms: Outlining an information system on physical exchanges between the economy and nature
View the documentBibliography
View the documentContributors
 

Environmentally sound technology, clean(er) technology

"Environmentally sound, and clean(er) technology" are relative concepts in time and space. The time dimension relates to the availability of knowledge. For instance, asbestos was implicitly considered environmentally sound until its negative consequences on human health became known.

The space dimension has a societal (economic, political, cultural) connotation. For example, information about the role of CFCs in destroying the stratospheric ozone layer is widely available, but the readiness to take action varies considerably, irrespective of the fact that many countries ratified the Montreal protocol.

This is why, although technology - a form of knowledge - is crucial, it does not constitute a sufficient condition for achieving sustainable development.

"Clean(er) technology" can be understood as equivalent to environmentally sound technology, with special reference to industrial processes in which the management of wastes constitutes a major issue. According to De Larderel (1991), the clean(er) technology concept involves a new global approach to production:

All phases of the life cycle of a product or of a process should be addressed with the objective of prevention or minimization of short and longterm risks to humans and the environment. This includes a "cradle-to-grave" approach, minimizing wastes and emissions into air, water and soil, pollution prevention as well as minimizing energy consumption and the use of raw materials. It means not only developing new technologies but also good operating practices.

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