Eco-service Development: Reinventing Supply and Demand in the European Union

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Greenleaf, 2003 - Business & Economics - 215 pages
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Sustainable development will not be possible without fundamental improvements in resource productivity and energy efficiency, the adaptation of material flows into natural cycles as well as a radical change in production and consumption patterns. In essence, what is required is not only an ecological approach to product design but also new marketing and consumption patterns for products that can satisfy our needs in a more environmentally sound way.

In recent years there has been growing interest in the possibilities of eco-services to achieve some of these aims. Ecologically oriented leasing, renting, pooling and sharing, where the emphasis is placed on the sale of a product's use rather than on the product itself, offer great possibilities for innovation and environmental impact reduction. At the same time, there are opportunities to create new commercial enterprises, produce added value to production and distribution functions, and therefore create jobs.

Up until now, however, there has been little research about the state of the art in eco-services, how new services can be developed, what the attitudes of consumers are to services rather than products and what the consequences of such a structural adjustment would be for firms. Eco-service Development addresses this lack of research, first by providing a comprehensive inventory and analysis of current eco-services in four European countries: Germany, Austria, the Netherlands and Spain. It then systematically explores the options open to market participants, the potential for environmental impact reduction, potential barriers to eco-services (such as consumer and producer resistance) and, finally, with what political and legal instruments ecologically oriented services can best be promoted. The book analyses eight consumer sectors – washing, cleaning, cooking, entertainment, gardening, do-it-yourself, mobility and leisure time – from the point of view of both supply and demand and highlights the optimisation potential and development perspectives for commercial new use eco-service concepts.

This book is the most comprehensive analysis yet published of how eco-services are being implemented and how they could best be encouraged and contains valuable lessons for policy-makers, interested businesses and all those in the academic community searching for ways to dematerialise the economy.

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About the author (2003)

Siegfried Behrendt is co-ordinator of the "Ecologic Economic Research" programme at the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT), Berlin. The main focus of his work is on future studies and the analysis of sustainable products and services in the economy and society.

Christine Jasch is founder and director of the Vienna Institute for Environmental Management and Economics (I W). She studied political economy, business administration and agriculture and works as an independent tax advisor and certified public accountant in Vienna.

Jaap Kortman is a member of the management team of IVAM, University of Amsterdam. IVAM supports clients with research and consultancy aimed at the implementation of sustainable solutions in business and society. He is manager of two departments: sustainable building and chain management.

Gabriele Hrauda has from 1987 worked as a freelance biologist, since 1990 in close contact with the Vienna Institute for Environmental Management and Economics (I W). Her work covers research studies and expert reports in the field of eco-balances and life-cycle assessment.

Ralf Pfitzner was from 1995 to 1999 project manager at the Institute for Futures Studies and Technology Assessment (IZT), Berlin, and conducted various projects in the field of eco-design, eco-services and life-cycle assessment. He is currently working as senior consultant at KPMG in Cologne.

Daniela Velte is partner and senior researcher at Prospektiker European Institute for Futures Studies and Strategic Planning in the Basque Country. Her current working areas include energy and environmental research, especially related to futures studies.

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