Yale's Center for Industrial Ecology
was established in September 1998 to provide an organizational focus for research in industrial ecology. The Center brings together Yale staff, students, visiting scholars, and practitioners to develop new knowledge at the forefront of the field. Research is carried out in collaboration with other segments of the Yale community, other academic institutions, and international partners.
Industrial ecology is a field with a short history, ambitious aspirations, diverse components, notable accomplishments and a promising future. A variety of definitions of industrial ecology have been advanced including that of Robert White, president of the US National Academy of Engineering (White 1994): Industrial ecology is the study of the flows of materials and energy in industrial and consumer activities, of the effects of these flows on the environment, and of the influences of economic, political, regulatory, and social factors on the flow, use, and transformation of resources.
The appointment of Thomas Graedel at Yale in 1997 established, as best as can be ascertained, the first professor of industrial ecology. The Journal of Industrial Ecology was founded in the same year and the first Gordon Research Conference on Industrial Ecology was held the following year. In 2001 the International Society for Industrial Ecology was established and the first international conference was held at Leiden University in the Netherlands.