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Re: Measuring pollution prevention performance: metrics



My concern is that all of the discussion has assumed the product.  Real
pollution prevention may involve changing the product mix -- that is,
choosing to make a different product.  Borden did this in the early 1980s --
eliminating heavy metals from their flexographic inks -- providing a
functionally equivalent product that polluted less in their manufacturing of
it and in their customers use of it.

Sometimes, however, changing the product may require more lead time and more
effort in working with the clients to find alternatives.  Most of the
examples of product change have occurred for reasons other than the
pollution prevention value of the change.  Examples include electronic
cameras -- no development chemicals to manage -- most important in the
medical industry, and the disappearance of most of the auto industry
chrome -- for design and weight reasons, rather than to not have to use the
chrome plating process.

As one who has studied measurement as a research methodologist and
epistemologist [earlier career :-)], I cannot conceive of a means of
measuring such changes across different industries.  Yet, that is where the
ultimate in pollution prevention must be achieved -- changing what we buy
and consume so that we cause the creation of less pollution.

Ralph

Ralph E. Cooper, Ph.D., J.D.
14139 Woodstream
San Antonio, TX 78231
210-479-5490
----- Original Message -----
From: "Kirsten Sinclair Rosselot" <rosselot@ix.netcom.com>
To: "Jenna Latt" <LATTJ@state.mi.us>; <p2tech@great-lakes.net>
Sent: Thursday, March 16, 2000 7:33 PM
Subject: 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
>
> rosselot@ix.netcom.com
> http://home.netcom.com/~rosselot
>
> (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
> >
>
>