Shared responsibility at the regional level: the building of sustainable industrial estates

Ellis Brand, Theo de Bruijn

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)
18 Downloads (Pure)


The long felt contrast between economic growth and environmental protection is dissipating in environmental and industrial policy in Europe. Sustainable development has become the leading motive in environmental policy in this regard. In trying to give meaning to this abstract concept, current environmental policies build on the ideas of ecological modernization. Although often advocated, relatively little experience exists of putting the theories of ecological modernization into practice. This paper makes an attempt to develop a regional perspective. Alongside the notion of ecological modernization the necessity of collaboration has emerged. Throughout Europe one can witness a movement that blurs the lines between governments and private actors. Shared responsibility is one of the key principles of the Fifth Environmental Action Programme. The leading question of the paper is which model can be used to support the implementation of notions of shared responsibility and ecological modernization. The paper explores the potential value added of the industrial ecology approach in stimulating industry towards sustainability and the opportunities it offers for (local and regional) authorities to deal with the environmental issues. Different options for improvements are identified in the paper. Apart from these concrete options, the management of the process of implementing industrial ecology proves to be the crucial success factor. The paper makes a case for building a regional consortium as a first step. By bringing possible partners together at least the options for cooperation can be assessed, planned and managed. Shaped this way, industrial ecology holds many opportunities and can be of value in implementing the notions of shared responsibility and ecological modernization.
Original languageUndefined
Pages (from-to)221-231
Number of pages11
JournalEuropean Environment
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • METIS-100217
  • IR-1679

Cite this