GreenYes Digest V98 #121

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GreenYes Digest Sat, 16 May 98 Volume 98 : Issue 121

Today's Topics:
When Is P2 'Win-Win'?

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Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 05:01:44 -0400
From: "Bill Sheehan" <>
Subject: When Is P2 'Win-Win'?


U.S. Newswire via NewsEdge Corporation : WASHINGTON, May 12 /U.S.
Newswire/ -- Is American industry passing up opportunities to profit by
operating " clean and green?" A new report released this week by Resources
for the Future (RFF) addresses this question through three case studies of
pollution prevention-related decisionmaking at three multinational chemical
manufacturers headquartered in the United States.

RFF's James Boyd, author of the report, finds that the answer is much more
complex than a simple "yes" or "no." But, he concludes that corporate
pollution prevention efforts are more likely to flourish if environmental
regulations allow businesses the flexibility to experiment with
environmentally-friendly innovations.

In his report, "Searching for the Profit in Pollution Prevention: Case
Studies in the Corporate Evaluation of Environmental Opportunities," Boyd
outlines the strategic and financial factors that affect the profitability
of pollution prevention (P2) investments. In analyzing decisions that
rejected or delayed P2 investments, he finds that such investments were
financially unattractive because of a combination of regulatory barriers and
insufficient environmental enforcement.

"The concept of pollution prevention, coined 'P2,' is emblematic of a new
environmental mindset that promises more sustainable industrial management,
" Boyd says. "By targeting the causes, rather than the consequences, of
polluting activity, P2 seeks to eliminate pollutants at their source --
where and when they occur in manufacturing processes -- thereby eliminating
the need to treat or dispose of those pollutants later."

The case studies examined in the report include: Dow Chemical's
contemplation of in-process recycling of a key input to its production of
polyurethane foam and thermoplastic products; Montsanto's consideration of
an improved production process that would drastically reduce wastes and
eliminate several process steps; and, Dupont's marketing of a product that
would allow for the recycling of wastes created by photochemicals in the
printing and publishing industries.

"This P2 concept has given rise to notions of 'win-win' opportunities in
which innovation and new ways of thinking will lead to waste reduction while
at the same time making firms money by reducing costs or stimulating new
products," Boyd says. "Unfortunately, P2's vision as a set of 'win-win'
opportunities is somewhat at odds with actual corporate experience. While
anecdotal evidence suggests that such opportunities exist and that many
firms have pursued them, proponents say the pace of P2 is too slow and that
the private sector is somehow failing to seize opportunities."

Boyd concludes his report by outlining a number of recommended policy
changes to enhance pollution prevention's profitability. These include:

REGULATORY FLEXIBILITY. Allow regulatory flexibility by moving even faster
toward "performance-based" regulations. Rigid media- and technology-specific
regulations often thwart corporate experiments with pollution prevention. P2
often involves the complex redesign of products and processes.
Technology-forcing regulations often limit the output of individual
pollutants in a way that constrains redesign. Performance-based regulations
take a more aggregate, holistic view of a facility's emissions. Under such a
system, limits on emissions of certain substances may be relaxed -- thus
providing design flexibility -- in exchange for more stringent aggregate
emission limits.

CONSISTENT ENFORCEMENT. Make small firms comply with emissions regulations.
Small firms represent a large market for pollution prevention products and
services. This market will fail to develop, however, unless small firms face
more meaningful regulatory pressure.

DON'T "PICK WINNERS." Regulators and environmental advocates should avoid
the temptation to "pick winners" when advocating pollution prevention (i.e.
when it comes to P2, one size does not fit all). The case studies show how
such restrictions can significantly influence the profitability of a given
P2 initiative.

"These case studies open a window into business decisionmaking generally,
and environmental decisionmaking specifically," Boyd adds. "It's important
to point out that these three non-randomly selected cases should not be used
to draw broad policy or empirical conclusions. Instead, they should be
viewed as a lesson on the practical challenges facing managers in the
private sector."

------ The RFF report, "Searching for the Profit in Pollution Prevention:
Case Studies in the Corporate Evaluation of Environmental Opportunities,"
can be downloaded as a PDF file on the internet at

To order the report in hard-copy (paper), call 202-328-5000.


Date: Fri, 15 May 1998 08:41:35 -0400 (EDT)
From: Steven Venditnoli <>

Thanks for the info, but I'm leaving for the summer so you can take me
off the mailing list and I'll contact you at a future date to
re-subscribe. Thank you and keep up the good work. Peace.


End of GreenYes Digest V98 #121