Executive Summary

Executive Summary

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 well-being.

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 Council.

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.

New Approaches

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.

Policy Toolboxes

Market Incentives

Market incentives, such as tradeable pennits and environmental fees, should be used to achieve environmental goals and stimulate technological innovation.

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.

Integrated Accounting

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 resource base.

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

Subsidy Reform

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.

Introduction | Table of Contents

Eco-Efficiency Task Force Report

Executive Summary


Chapter 1

Chapter 2

Chapter 3

Chapter 4



Appendix A

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