Renewable Eco-industrial Development

A New Frontier for Industrial Ecology?


  • Peter Wells,

  • Clóvis Zapata

Peter Wells, Cardiff Business School, Aberconway Building, Colum Drive, Cardiff University, Cardiff, CF10 3EU, Wales.


This article reviews the scope of the discipline of industrial ecology and, in the context of an urgent requirement for substantial and rapid change in the face of global sustainability challenges, argues that the discipline could embrace a more proactive, interventionist stance in the form of renewable eco-industrial development. Existing eco-industrialism is presented as flawed, with many cases premised on the use of nonrenewable resources. Renewable eco-industrial development, while still nascent, has the potential both to resolve some sustainability challenges and to offer a new area of endeavor for industrial ecology, albeit one with its own unique difficulties, such as conflict with food production. Renewable eco-industrial development is further argued to bring industrial ecology into a more socially critical stance as it concerns the future allocation of scarce resources.