This report of the Eco-Efficiency Task Force is a plan to realize the
ideal of sustainable development in U.S. business and industry.
Adoption of the proposed goals and policies should result in the
production, delivery, and use of competitively priced goods and services
in a manner that protects the natural environment and increases social
The Task Force included members of the President's Cabinet, Chief
Executive Officers and Senior Executives of some of the nation's largest
companies, and important voices from the environmental
community. Their workstyle was hands-on and reflected the business
penchant for strategic thinking: goal setting should precede action, and
action should be evaluated against verifiable performance
measures. Their work also reflected the values of multistakeholder
participation and consensus decision-making espoused by the President's
The Task Force envisioned a sustainable U.S. economy distinguished by
six characteristics: a sense of Responsibility shared throughout society
for eco-efficiency; continued Economic Growth; Sustainable
Resource Utilization; protection of Environmental Quality; flexible,
cost-effective Government Regulatory Policy; and increased Social
Well-Being. These were the goals toward which the Task Force
directed its recommendations.
Task Force investigators studied demonstration projects in automobile
and chemical manufacturing, the lithographic printing industry, and other
real-world settings including eco-industrial parks. In addition,
papers were solicited from a variety of thinkers in four relevant policy
clusters: information, economics, regulatory, and money and management.
The Task Force distilled its recommendations from this base
of practical experience and informed conceptualization.
The policy recommendations may be considered in three subgroups: new
societal approaches to achieve the goal of sustainable development,
policies to implement these approaches, and realignments
of the existing system.
Environmental Management System
Establish a new environmental management system that uses participatory
decisionmaking to set verifiable and enforceable performance goals and
allows regulated entities operational flexibility to meet those goals.
Extended Product Responsibffitv
Encourage the practice of shared responsibility for the environmental
impact of products among the designers, suppliers, manufacturers,
distributors, users, and disposers of those products.
Market incentives, such as tradeable pennits and environmental fees,
should be used to achieve environmental goals and stimulate
Information Collection and Dissemination
Efficiently collect and disseminate high quality informafion to allow
verification of progress toward sustainable development goals and to
improve the capacity for decisiomnaking required for successful
extended product responsibility.
Augment accounting of the gross national product by implementing a satellite
system of national accounts that measures sustainable development
through integrated tracking of the environment, economy, and the natural
Sustainable Development Indicators
Develop a full set of national sustainable development indicators to
highlight and enable monitoring of the nation's economic, environmental,
and social trends.
Access to Capital
Develop innovative financing program to improve and facilitate
access to capital for small businesses and commmunities so they may more
easily invest in eco-efficient practices.
Realignments of the Existing System
Redesign or eliminate federal subsidies that fail to incorporate the
economic value of natural, environmental, and social resources into the
marketplace and into governmental policies.
Revenue-Neutral Tax Shift
Shift taxes away from activities that promote economic progress--such
as work, savings, and investment--toward activities that lead to
excessive environmental damage.
The Task Force is convinced that adoption of these nine policy
recommendations can help the United States transform into an eco-efficient
society with an improved ability to provide economic and environmental
security for all its members.