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Re: Measuring pollution prevention performance: metrics

There's a big difference between measuring environmental performance and
measuring environmental progress.

I've compared the environmental performance of chemical plants that have
similar product slates by looking at potency-weighted releases on a per unit
of production basis.  What we saw was that there are vast differences from
one facility to the next not only in how much waste was generated on a
per-unit-of-production basis but in how the wastes were managed.  Some
facilities were clearly ahead of others on the pollution prevention curve.
This is very useful and interesting information, and comparing a facility to
other like facilities in this manner is an excellent way to evaluate
environmental *performance*.  As time goes on, it's becoming clear that
environmental performance is linked to shareholder value and I expect more
of these types of studies to be done.  However, this is a really complicated
and expensive type of analysis, requiring a knowledge of what compounds are
emitted during the production of each product, what production quantities
are, etc.

Even within the chemical industry, it would be misleading to adopt any one
indicator of production (sales, man-hours, cost-of-production,
pounds-of-production, etc.) across the board and measure environmental
performance using that single metric.  Using a single metric across many
industries would be even less meaningful.

Evaluating environmental *progress* for a facility is simpler.  For example,
potency-weighted releases, summed by facility over time and adjusted for
production, give a quantitative measure of environmental progress and are
fairly easy to develop.  However, a facility can make a tremendous amount of
environmental progress and still not have good environmental performance,
and that distinction must be made.

Kirsten Sinclair Rosselot, P.E.
Process Profiles
P.O. Box 8264
Calabasas, CA 91372-8264


(818) 878-0454

----- Original Message -----
From: Jenna Latt <LATTJ@state.mi.us>
To: <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Wednesday, March 15, 2000 8:35 AM
Subject: Measuring pollution prevention performance: metrics

> I was wondering whether anyone have information on corporate or state
programs that are measuring pollution prevention progress or performance.
Usually this is referred to as environmental performance indicators or
metrics and goes beyond the traditional SARA TRI data reporting, "pounds
released" or emissions reporting. For example, measurements used can be
"amount of constituent reduced per amount of product produced," or some
other similar metrics. I am particularly interested in what state programs
are doing in this area.
> Are there any websites or reports (specifically report names) I can be
referred to? I have already checked www.epa.gov and the EPA P2 site but I
may have missed a particular report.
> Thanks,
> Jenna Latt
> Pollution Prevention Section
> Environmental Assistance Division
> Michigan Dept. of Environmental Quality