The environment industry, which includes a wide range of products and services relating to the monitoring, treatment, control and management of industrial and domestic pollution, has grown rapidly during the 1980s and 1990s in response to environmental regulations. Due to the relatively early application of these regulations in the United States, Europe and Japan, these areas have become competitive producers and exporters of environmental products and services. As the industrial sector has developed, environmental awareness has been raised and competition and international trade in the environment industry has expanded. There is now a clear North/South dimension to international patterns of development of the industry and its trade. Whilst environment industries were originally established to deal with waste reduction and disposal strategies, there has also been a drive towards cleaner production. The European environment and cleaner technology industries are reviewed in order to establish their competitiveness and the shift between the two different approaches to environmental management: amelioration by environment industries and prevention by cleaner process and production technologies. Latin American provides the counterexample in terms of the experience of the environment industry and cleaner production in the South. The nature of the expansion of the industrial environmental management sector is questioned, particularly as regards the composition of the sector and the way it is interpreted in different countries. The paper suggests that the environment industry and cleaner technologies should be understood as industries rather than as unquestionably "environmentally positive" sets of products and services. It also addresses the extent to which these industries reveal an information and technology gap in environmental management. This gap may, on the one hand, assist environmental managers in the South, but on the other hand it may lead to a condition of environmental management dependence.