An evaluative framework for conceptual and analytical approaches used in environmental management
Journal article, 1999
In the last 30 years, a number of new approaches for use in environmental management have been developed for use by decision-makers. This paper presents a framework for comparing these approaches based on various methodological features. These include: nature of the approach, type of decision-maker, overall purpose and object analysed, perspective, investigated dimensions, character of the approach, basis for comparison, system boundaries, type of data, and evaluation of results. Use of the framework is illustrated for four approaches: industrial ecology; design for environment; environmental impact assessment; and environmental accounting. The approaches can be used consecutively, or be complementary, competing, encompassing or overlapping in their applications. The research suggests that there is considerable scope for exploring these relationships between and within approaches. Rather than developing new tools for environmental management, it may now be appropriate to focus on practical integration of existing approaches for different applications.