In the preceding chapters the term ‘integration’ was used many times, but what is in fact meant by integration, or integrated, as in ‘integrated policy instruments’ or ‘integrated environmental management’? According to the dictionary, to integrate means ‘to combine parts into a whole’, ‘to complete by the addition of parts’, or ‘to bring into equal participation in or membership of society’, as for instance in ‘Can these immigrants be integrated into our society?’ Applied to policy, ‘integrated’ often tends to correspond with ‘integral’ and statements on environmental issues often suggest that the word ‘integrated’ means ‘covering all aspects’ — although this is in fact usually a hollow pretence. In practice, it is rarely possible to integrate all relevant aspects in a project or method, if only because time or manpower restrictions make choices inevitable. On closer inspection, then,‘integrated’ approaches usually turn out not to be ‘fully integrated’ in the absolute sense of the phrase, but ‘more integrated’, usually signifying that the analysis includes a few more factors than earlier approaches. This process may repeat itself, leading to greater and greater ‘integra-tive’ scope, but the concept may well lose some of its meaning along the way, reminding one of the detergents that claim to make your wash ‘ever whiter’. There would thus seem to be a need for a more precise defi nition of the concept of integration.
KeywordsLife Cycle Assessment Ecological Footprint Environmental Impact Assessment Great Common Divisor Threshold Limit Value
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