In its scientific sense, industrial ecology represents an emerging transdisciplinary field of studying industrial systems and their fundamental linkage with natural ecosystems. As a short form, industrial ecology is called the "science of sustainability". At the bottom of industrial ecology there is a refreshingly different perspective of understanding nature as model in comparison with other scientific disciplines and concepts of understanding nature e.g. in terms of "sack of resources", "biophysical limit", "something outside", "surrounding", or just "environment" as opposed to industrial systems. The keynote of industrial ecology's specific perspective of understanding nature is to balance the development of industrial systems with the constraints of natural eco-systems, analogous to an "industrial symbiosis". The goal is to contribute for laying a fundamental underpinning for industrial ecology in its scientific sense, in this case especially for its use of nature as model. Therefore an impressive battery of philosophical arguments is provided bringing to bear against the sort of probably raised fallacies and facile or hasty proclaimed critics by sceptics, hard-liners, and mainstream-scientists who often overlook industrial ecology's stimulating role towards sustainability.
Corporate environmental reporting makes good business and environmental sense. A big challenge for companies is to utilize the technical benefit of state of the art IT, especially of Internet-technologies and Internet-services. In this paper an approach of internet-based environmental reports by companies is presented. Three different levels are discussed: The first level deals with the basics of corporate environmental reports (CER) by companies. Illustrating the order within the emerging field of CERs a morphological box is suggested (section 1). Building on this, general requirements for corporate environmental reports are outlined (section 2). On the second level, the general reporting requirements are specified by IT-relevant challenges, seen as starting points for internet-based environmental reports (section 3). The immense technical benefit of using the Internet towards efficient, integrated, interactive, hypermedia-featured, dialog-oriented, and customised environmental reporting is analysed (section 4). On the basis of the technical benefit analysis, the state of the art of internet-based CERs is presented (section 5). The third level refers to the IT-application turning from the basics, IT-challenges and technical benefit to consequences for environmental reporting companies in practice. Thereby a fundamental framework for internet-based CERs is sketched (section 6). Grounded on this framework a basic architecture of an IT-implementation is explained (section 7).