Ecoefficiency (measures to minimize environmental impact through the reduction or elimination of waste from production processes) has become a goal for companies worldwide, with many realizing significant cost savings from such innovations. Peter Senge and Goran Carstedt see this development as laudable but suggest that simply adopting ecoefficiency innovations could actually worsen environmental stresses in the future. Such innovations reduce production waste but do not alter the number of products manufactured nor the waste generated from their use and discard; indeed, most companies invest in ecoefficiency improvements in order to increase profits and growth. Moreover, there is no guarantee that increased economic growth from ecoefficiency will come in similarly ecoefficient ways, since in today's global markets, greater profits may be turned into investment capital that could easily be reinvested in old-style eco-inefficient industries. Even a vastly more ecoefficient industrial system could, were it to grow much larger, generate more total waste and destroy more habitat and species than would a smaller, less ecoefficient economy. Senge and Carstedt argue that to preserve the global environment and sustain economic growth, businesses must develop a new systemic approach that reduces total material use and total accumulated waste. Focusing exclusively on ecoefficiency, which offers a compelling business case according to established thinking, may distract companies from pursuing radically different products and business models.


According to the passage, an exclusive pursuit of ecoefficiency may cause companies to


neglect the development of alternative business models and products

keep the number of products that they manufacture unchanged

invest capital from increased profits primarily in inefficient and outmoded industries that may prove unprofitable

overemphasize the production process as the key to increasing profits and growth

focus more on reducing costs than on reducing the environmental impact of production processes

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