CIRP Encyclopedia of Production Engineering

2014 Edition
| Editors: The International Academy for Production Engineering, Luc Laperrière, Gunther Reinhart


  • Andreas Jørgensen
  • Michael Hauschild
Reference work entry



The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), who has been instrumental in increasing the awareness of the eco-efficiency concept, has defined eco-efficiency as:
  • Creating more value with less environmental impact

In terms of a definition of the concept eco-efficiency, two equivalent definitions of eco-efficiency are provided: the ratio of value to environmental impact (WBCSD 2000), as in the definition above, and the inversed ratio of environmental impact to value (UN 2003).

Theory and Application

Depending on the application that is studied, the value and impact terms in the eco-efficiency definition can be different entities. The created value can be, e.g., a provided supply, a fulfilled function, a satisfied demand, or an added value. The environmental impact can be some measure of a specific type of impact...

This is a preview of subscription content, log in to check access.


  1. Duflou JR, Sutherland JW, Dornfeld D, Herrmann C, Jeswiet J, Kara S, Hauschild M, Kellens K (2012) Towards energy and resource efficient manufacturing: a processes and systems approach. CIRP Ann Manuf Technol 61(2):587–609CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Gutowski T (2011) Manufacturing and the science of sustainability. In: Hesselbach J, Herrmann C (eds) Glocalized solutions for sustainability in manufacturing. Proceedings of the 18th CIRP international conference on life cycle engineering, 2–4 May 2011. Technische Universität Braunschweig, Braunschweig, pp 32–39Google Scholar
  3. Huppes G, Ishikawa M (2005) Eco-efficiency and its terminology. J Ind Ecol 9(4):43–46CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Rees WE (1995) Achieving sustainability: reform or transformation? J Plan Lit 9(4):343–361ACrossRefGoogle Scholar
  5. Tsao JY, Saunders HD, Creighton JR, Coltrin ME, Simmons JA, Tsao JY, Saunders HD, Creighton JR, Coltrin ME, Simmons JA (2010) Solid-state lighting: an energy-economics perspective. J Phys D Appl Phys 43(35):354001CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. UNEP (2011) Decoupling natural resource use and environmental impacts from economic growth. In: Fischer-Kowalski M, Swilling M, von Weizsäcker EU, Ren Y, Moriguchi Y, Crane W, Krausmann F, Eisenmenger N, Giljum S, Hennicke P, Romero Lankao P, Siriban Manalang A, Sewerin S (eds) A report of the working group on decoupling to the international resource panel. United Nations Environment Programme, GenevaGoogle Scholar
  7. United Nations (UN) (2003) A manual for the preparers and users of eco-efficiency indicators. United Nations Publication UNCTAD/ITE/IPC/2003/7 (Sales No. E.04.II.D.13)Google Scholar
  8. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) (2000) Ecoefficiency – creating more value with less impact. WBCSD, SwitzerlandGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© CIRP 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Management EngineeringTechnical University of DenmarkLyngbyDenmark