Environmentally sound technologies are a key element for the protection of the environment, as they are less polluting, use resources in a more sustainable manner and recycle more of their by-products, residues and waste than the technologies they replace. The integration of environmental protection into the industrial production cycle aims at preventing pollution and innovating clean technical production processes which open up strategic opportunities to industry.
Manufacturers need to know more about choice of materials for "environment-friendly" products that use less energy to manufacture and/or can be disposed of or recycled in profitable ways. Systems are needed to make optimum use of the stream of materials balanced between composites and efficient material recycling, and resorces consumed in production methods.
Many companies are pioneering cleaner production systems under the rubric of 'industrial ecology', which aim to close substance loops and thereby reduce or eliminate toxic pollution and waste generation. Cleaner production has proved popular in industry, at least partly because the costs of this approach tend to diminish over time, while the costs of controlling pollution and cleaning up after the event become increasingly high as new regulations are introduced.
Over the last twenty-five years, there has been a gradual conceptual shift in the way the private sector approaches society's environmental concerns. From the reactive, end-of-pipe compliance approach of the 1970s, to a more public relations approach of the eighties, the private sector is increasingly orientated toward the preventive, cleaner production, eco-efficiency approach of the 1990s. A number of regulatory measures have been enacted to promote this shift to a "cradle-to cradle" or "life-cycle" economy. Additional economic instruments and institutional approaches have been adopted - and are still needed - to re-orient markets towards this economy and sustainability. Development of comprehensive liability and compensation regimes could be a key strategy to achieve environmental and sustainable development goals.