Purpose and Scope
Industrial production has grown tremendously in the past century and supplies consumers with a plethora of products and services, many previously unknown. It also presents one of the largest sustainability challenges in terms of the use of finite and renewable resources, the emissions of greenhouse gases and hazardous agents, including toxic chemicals and particulates. Industry has made substantial progress in addressing pollution problems through end-of-pipe measures and increases in efficiency, but progress has been uneven and existing strategies offer only limited further gains. Hence, more systemic approaches are needed.
Green design is the design of products, production processes, and systems that do not utilize hazardous chemicals and systematically reduces impacts across different sustainability domains. Industrial ecology is an integrated approach to analyze the sustainability of different systems, from a product to a city. Crucial to this pursuit is a rigorous understanding of how resources are used in society and the impact of our technological society on the biophysical environment. Industrial ecology and green design are relevant both for corporate decision-making and to support policy-making at different levels, from municipalities to national governments.
Students gain an understanding of systems analysis applied to environmental problems in production-consumption systems, acquire methods to quantify the use of energy, materials, water, and land for industrial production, and the comparative evaluation of different pollution types. They learn about how organizations use these approaches in environmental management. The specialization will prepare students for employment in corporate sustainability and environment, health and safety positions, in environmental consultancies and think-tanks, nongovernmental organizations, and governmental and multi-lateral agencies.
: Edgar Hertwich
, Paul Anastas