A mission to accomplish

In november 1993, the World Council for Sustainable Development defined eco-efficiency as:
“the delivery of competitively priced goods and services that satisfy human needs and bring quality of life,
while progressively reducing ecological impacts and resource intensity, throughout the life cycle,
to a level at least in line with the earth’s estimated carrying capacity.” (Eco-efficient Leadership, WBCSD, 1996).

This business oriented definition links two aspects of good governance (Fig. 1.1):
– modern management practice (“the delivery of competitively priced goods and services ……quality of life”)
– the need of a sustainable society (“while progressively reducing …… to …… earth’s carrying capacity”).

Figure 1.1. The “new economy” of the Brundtland report and the mission of the WBCSD is the circular economy

The first part of the sentence asks for a maximum value/costs ratio of the business chain, the second part of the sentence requires that this is achieved at a minimum level of ecological impact.

But what does this rather philosophical definition mean to business managers, designers and engineers in terms of the practical decisions they take?
There is a need to resolve simple questions like: what is the best product design in terms of ecological impact?, what is the best product portfolio in terms of sustainability?, what is the best sustainable strategy?