Sustainable Advantage: Accelerating from Regulatory Complianc ...

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  • Title: Sustainable Advantage: Accelerating from Regulatory Compliance to Environmental Sustainability
  • Author(s): Charles CC Lee
  • Publisher: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Collection: Common Ground Research Networks
  • Series: On Sustainability
  • Journal Title: The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability
  • Keywords: Industrial Ecology, Zero Emissions, Compliance, Circular Economy
  • Volume: 13
  • Issue: 2
  • Year: 2017
  • ISSN: 2325-1077 (Print)
  • ISSN: 2325-1085 (Online)
  • DOI: https://doi.org/10.18848/2325-1077/CGP/v13i02/37-44
  • Citation: Lee, Charles CC . 2017. "Sustainable Advantage: Accelerating from Regulatory Compliance to Environmental Sustainability." The International Journal of Environmental Sustainability 13 (2): 37-44. doi:10.18848/2325-1077/CGP/v13i02/37-44.
  • Extent: 8 pages

Abstract

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.