Pollution Control and Sustainable Industry

Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 12, p. 101, Fall 1997

6 Pages Posted: 10 Mar 2008 Last revised: 23 Jul 2015

See all articles by John C. Dernbach

John C. Dernbach

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School


This article outlines what sustainable development means when applied to industry, the necessity for sustainable industry, and how sustainable industry can change and is already beginning to change the debate about pollution control. While it is possible for industry to have a positive impact, achieving that positive impact will require a dramatic reduction in three things: pollution, materials consumption, and energy consumption. A growing global economy and population provide the underlying reason. To foster a significantly more sustainable industrial sector, United States laws will need to address at least four types of activities in a new and different way: (1) resource extraction, (2) the use of resources in manufacturing products, (3) the use and disposition of products, and (4) consumption. Goals for reductions in pollution as well as energy and materials consumption should be a major feature of these new laws. The article illustrates, on an activity-by-activity basis, some of the changes that may be required. These four activities extraction, production, products, and consumption and the goals they entail, indicate that current environmental laws, for all their volume and detail, are relatively superficial; they only scratch the surface of what sustainable industry means.

Keywords: sustainable industry, industry, Agenda 21, sustainable development, environmental law, pollution prevention, pollution control, consumption

JEL Classification: K32, O13, Q23, Q28, Q32, Q38, Q01

Suggested Citation

Dernbach, John C., Pollution Control and Sustainable Industry. Natural Resources & Environment, Vol. 12, p. 101, Fall 1997. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1103178

John C. Dernbach (Contact Author)

Widener University - Commonwealth Law School ( email )

3800 Vartan Way
Harrisburg, PA 17110-9380
United States

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