Technology and Sustainable Development: Myth or Reality?

By Arnaud Diemer


In the late 1980s, industrial ecology has responded to the issue of sustainable development through technical and organizational solutions. Ecotechnology recommends to the industrialists to rationalize production (waste minimization, bads becoming goods). Moreover, industrial symbiosis (particularly Kalundborg) is the most efficient organization in establishing sustainable relationships between economic agents. For innovation to be a viable solution for present and future generations, myth must be removed from the environmental revolution. Indeed, dematerialization, suggested by the expansion of services, the new technologies of information and communication, can have rebound effects. Energy consumption can increase (not decrease) as a result of improved techniques. Finally, the key to sustainable development resides in technology, organizational innovation, changes in lifestyles. Producers and consumers will have to change their habits if they want to improve their welfare without suffering from environmental degradation. JEL Codes: B20, D22, L86, O33, O44


  • dematerialization
  • ecosystem
  • organizational innovation
  • metabolism
  • technology
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