Corporate environmental strategy, 1st ed , voicu d dragomir, 2020 3625

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SPRINGER BRIEFS IN APPLIED SCIENCES AND TECHNOLOGY Voicu D Dragomir Corporate Environmental Strategy Theoretical, Practical, and Ethical Aspects SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology SpringerBriefs present concise summaries of cutting-edge research and practical applications across a wide spectrum of fields Featuring compact volumes of 50– 125 pages, the series covers a range of content from professional to academic Typical publications can be: • A timely report of state-of-the art methods • An introduction to or a manual for the application of mathematical or computer techniques • A bridge between new research results, as published in journal articles • A snapshot of a hot or emerging topic • An in-depth case study • A presentation of core concepts that students must understand in order to make independent contributions SpringerBriefs are characterized by fast, global electronic dissemination, standard publishing contracts, standardized manuscript preparation and formatting guidelines, and expedited production schedules On the one hand, SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology are devoted to the publication of fundamentals and applications within the different classical engineering disciplines as well as in interdisciplinary fields that recently emerged between these areas On the other hand, as the boundary separating fundamental research and applied technology is more and more dissolving, this series is particularly open to trans-disciplinary topics between fundamental science and engineering Indexed by EI-Compendex, SCOPUS and Springerlink More information about this series at Voicu D Dragomir Corporate Environmental Strategy Theoretical, Practical, and Ethical Aspects 123 Voicu D Dragomir Department of Accounting and Auditing The Bucharest University of Economic Studies Bucharest, Romania ISSN 2191-530X ISSN 2191-5318 (electronic) SpringerBriefs in Applied Sciences and Technology ISBN 978-3-030-29547-9 ISBN 978-3-030-29548-6 (eBook) © The Author(s), under exclusive license to Springer Nature Switzerland AG 2020 This work is subject to copyright All rights are solely and exclusively licensed by the Publisher, whether the whole or part of the material is concerned, specifically the rights of translation, reprinting, reuse of illustrations, recitation, broadcasting, reproduction on microfilms or in any other physical way, and transmission or information storage and retrieval, electronic adaptation, computer software, or by similar or dissimilar methodology now known or hereafter developed The use of general descriptive names, registered names, trademarks, service marks, etc in this publication does not imply, even in the absence of a specific statement, that such names are exempt from the relevant protective laws and regulations and therefore free for general use The publisher, the authors and the editors are safe to assume that the advice and information in this book are believed to be true and accurate at the date of publication Neither the publisher nor the authors or the editors give a warranty, expressed or implied, with respect to the material contained herein or for any errors or omissions that may have been made The publisher remains neutral with regard to jurisdictional claims in published maps and institutional affiliations This Springer imprint is published by the registered company Springer Nature Switzerland AG The registered company address is: Gewerbestrasse 11, 6330 Cham, Switzerland Preface The topic of corporate environmental strategy is complex and multi-layered The classical approach aims to connect environmental protection to business competitiveness, offering a purely pragmatic argument for the implementation of an environmental strategy The contemporary approach focuses on the ethical duty of every organisation to protect the natural environment by integrating ecological values into business operations Environmental management can offer a multitude of reasons for adopting green practices, and the process of implementing a green strategy can be rewarding for managers, shareholders, employees, and business partners Although legislation is often an efficient instrument for addressing these issues, stakeholder pressure is a powerful motivator for companies to proactively manage their environmental impacts and to strengthen their environmental values Corporate environmental strategy refers to a cycle with three stages: planning, implementation, and feedback Numerous forces, pressures, and demands might shape this process, but it is ultimately the responsibility of the managers and the duty of the employees to carry out the tasks that are necessary for greening the organisations The installation of end-of-pipe equipment is an environmental protection measure, but it is not a strategic measure; waste collection, separation, and recycling are other facets of environmental protection but still not a coherent strategy The crucial components of a proactive environmental strategy are environmental management, green innovation, product stewardship, supply chain management, green alliances, and environmental reporting These dimensions need to be integrated into a viable plan for reducing environmental impact on the long term and for embedding green values into business strategy Corporate environmental strategies can bring numerous benefits to the company: • Environmental orientation triggers a greater awareness of regulatory requirements and assists managers in budgeting green investments • The implementation of an environmental management system provides greater control of business processes, thereby identifying potential cost savings and market opportunities v vi Preface • A proactive environmental strategy improves the company’s image through detailed reporting and better relations with the local community • The EMS enables green innovation for products and processes, as part of a movement called environmental entrepreneurship • A corporate environmental strategy improves the quality of the workplace, reduces accidents and safety risks, boosts employee morale, and creates incentives for team building Environmental responsibility is the cornerstone of corporate environmental strategy, especially when the firm is confronted with complex issues such as climate change, resource depletion, plastic pollution, natural disasters, and habitat destruction Businesses often bear direct responsibility regarding a wide range of impacts on the natural environment Summing up, corporate environmental strategies are a mix of plans, capabilities, motivations, resources, procedures, investments, and collaborations addressing environmental challenges and opportunities (see Fig 1) Fig Benefits of adopting a corporate environmental strategy Preface vii Managers, policymakers, students, researchers, and activists need to rely on a common vocabulary pertaining to this fascinating field of strategic management This book was written to break down the theoretical and practical complexity of corporate environmental strategy Firstly, the components, variations, and factors of environmental strategy are described in three chapters: theoretical, practical, and ethical aspects Each chapter is further divided into multiple sections discussing environmental strategy from different perspectives The book also seeks to reintegrate all these elements into a coherent framework; for this purpose, 27 original diagrams serve as visual summaries for the discussion in each chapter The concepts presented in each figure are highlighted in the text with italics, to create a connection between the visual model and the detailed explanations Although based on the latest research in the field, notions such as “variables”, “hypotheses”, and “methodology” have been consistently avoided in order to adopt a managerial and professional orientation Undergraduate and master’s students can benefit from the synthetic and visual presentation of complex notions and classifications Even though the relationships between some concepts are still controversial or not yet determined, the book does not insist on these details The science of environmental strategy is a dynamic field, and methodological aspects are still evolving For this reason, the tone of the book strikes a balance between presenting the fundamentals of environmental strategy and attempting to explain the interplay of factors, measures, and effects associated with green policy implementation The reader should be aware that future scientific contributions may invalidate some of the assertions in this book; also, the definitions and operationalisations of some concepts can be further improved by researchers The conciseness of this book and the brevity of each chapter are intended to help the reader understand and absorb the points of discussion without delving into unnecessary controversies In the end, this book should offer the reader a starting point for exploring and applying some of the principles of environmental strategy Bucharest, Romania Voicu D Dragomir Acknowledgements I am grateful to Anthony Doyle, executive engineering editor at Springer, for offering me this opportunity to write a book on a topic I enjoy The icons used in the diagrams are designed by Freepik from Flaticon, https://www.flaticon com/authors/freepik Contents Theoretical Aspects of Environmental Strategy 1.1 Environmental Orientations 1.2 Proactive Environmental Strategies 1.3 Strategic Environmental Options 1.4 Environmental Strategy Implementation 1.5 Corporate Environmental Performance 1.6 Competitiveness and Strategic Options 1.7 The Strategic Feedback Process 1.8 Environmental Strategy Profiles 1.9 Environmental Entrepreneurship References 1 11 14 17 21 24 26 28 Practical Aspects of Environmental Strategy 2.1 The Implementation of Environmental Management Systems 2.2 The Assimilation of Environmental Management Systems 2.3 Environmental Management Accounting 2.4 Green Innovation 2.5 Lean and Green Practices 2.6 Environmental Training 2.7 Green Collaborations with Suppliers 2.8 Corporate Legitimacy and Environmental Disclosure 2.9 Environmental Strategies for Small Firms References 33 33 38 42 46 49 52 55 59 64 69 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy 3.1 Environmental Motivations and Managerial Commitment 3.2 Stakeholder Pressures 3.3 Green Organisational Cultures 3.4 Environmental Reputation and Greenwashing 75 75 78 82 88 ix x Contents 3.5 Cross-Sector Environmental Alliances 3.6 Green Products and Green Marketing 3.7 Green Consumption 3.8 Barriers to Proactive Environmental Strategies 3.9 A Roadmap for Environmental Strategy References 92 94 99 101 106 110 3.7 Green Consumption 99 3.7 Green Consumption From the perspective of the buyer, green consumption is a process with three stages (see Fig 3.7): (1) the customer’s search for information related to the environmental qualities of a product or service; (2) the actual decision to purchase that product; and (3) the responsible product use and disposal [57] Gathering information is resource-intensive because the prospective customer needs to consider the business model through which the products have been created Informal research focuses on the environmental qualities of the production systems and the life cycle of the physical product The reputation of the organisation is often relevant for the individual consumer This type of information is new, complex, not entirely transparent, and possibly contradictory For example, the product label may disclose one aspect of the production process (e.g humane treatment of animals in the case of beef cattle), but environmentalists could stress the negative impact in other areas (e.g significant greenhouse gas emissions, or large quantities of waste) Fig 3.7 Phases and factors of green consumption 100 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy With every new piece of information, the consumer becomes more knowledgeable about environmental protection, so that her/his expectations will increase, and the confidence she/he invests in green producers may likely be affected The future customer also wants to know that the solutions given to these issues are appropriate and scientifically sound and that each purchase can make a difference when it comes to reducing the negative environmental impact [58] The environmental performance of a product or service is not the only aspect taken into consideration by consumers They are likely to be concerned about the perceived compromise in terms of price and personal satisfaction when comparing green purchases with traditional products For example, the first models of post-1990 mass-produced electric cars had minimal autonomy and speed, while their price was significantly higher than that of traditional diesel cars [59] Since many green products start by creating a niche market, consumers need to be sufficiently motivated to either pay a price premium for reduced environmental impact or to renounce certain qualities found in traditional products Reducing the level of compromise is possible through openness on the part of the manufacturer and the provision of unbiased information on labels and in product brochures The price premium usually incorporates the cost of cleaner solutions and internalises the future cost of restoring the quality of air, water, land, and habitats affected by industrial activity A green purchase—which maximises the degree of confidence in a particular product and minimises the compromise perceived by the consumer— is called a win–win purchase [57] When green services or products are comparable in performance or price with traditional products, and when the customer chooses to buy the former despite not having enough product information, the company is in a favourable situation which could reinforce future purchases In the worst scenario, the consumer would find no advantage in purchasing a green product or service for which she/he foresees a low satisfaction in using it The goals of green purchasing are not accomplished simply by paying for an eco-friendly product or service Green behaviour can belong to any of the following situations: (a) domestic energy and water use (e.g installing insulation products and microgeneration equipment, as well as better energy management and responsible water use); (b) microscale waste management, involving segregation, recycling, and composting; (c) responsible personal transportation, with bicycles and energy-efficient vehicles such as electric cars and public transport; (d) shopping choices, like buying only the necessary clothing or house items, wasting less food, buying ecological foods, eating locally, and adopting a diet that has a lower environmental impact; and (e) reusing, repairing, or donating household items instead of discarding them [60] Each of these behaviours can require a certain amount of effort, which should also be approved, appreciated, and echoed by family members, friends, and colleagues For many people, green consumption is not only a personal ethical choice but also 3.7 Green Consumption 101 a public statement, in line with a pro-environmental self-identity The perceived importance of environmental issues is the most significant factor in eco-friendly initiatives Striving for a green lifestyle comprises a set of “green beliefs” related to personal comfort, self-control, social status, and external pressures towards proenvironmental behaviours [61] For example, a desire for “a simple life” involves less consumption and can be the starting point for profound economic, social, and psychological changes for the person, her family, and close friends [60, 62] Some people may have difficulties admitting the necessity and urgency of environmental action, while others may become cynical towards any green marketing strategy Scepticism appears because, sometimes, green products and services cannot be reliably distinguished from traditional, more polluting goods [58] Although the lack of information which accompanies some environmental choices can be a source of confusion for the consumer, the prospect of having a role in the mission to protect the ecosystem is a powerful motivator Therefore, this process demands a certain degree of personal involvement on the part of the consumer because ethical dilemmas can be found at the core of human activities Supporting the destruction of natural habitats for business or recreational activities, maintaining a luxurious and prodigious lifestyle, and the indifference to the impact of the product life cycles are unethical behaviours that people often adopt without being aware of the consequences Companies should strike a balance between normalising green behaviours (i.e when perceived as accessible, attainable, and non-exclusive), while also stressing the full palette of benefits Positive effects are apparent on a personal level (e.g reduced health risks for the consumer and her family), but they also reach the community level (e.g cleaner air and water for the neighbourhood), and the national or planetary level, especially for complex problems like global warming and plastics use The green consumer may feel grateful to a company that offers opportunities for adopting a greener lifestyle [63] Managers can capitalise on the consumers’ feelings of gratitude, by enhancing corporate reputation, building goodwill, and promoting green projects on social media In summary, companies can transform green consumption into a meaningful and well-informed social practice, aiming to shape personal and collective lifestyles 3.8 Barriers to Proactive Environmental Strategies When managers perceive environmental issues as threats to profitability, the company leans towards reactive environmental strategies A reduction in competitiveness provides only marginal, short-term advantages from limited compliance The failure to adopt a proactive environmental strategy can be attributed to multiple causes, which are often interlinked (see Fig 3.8) Some of these causes constitute “hard” barriers, which obstruct the anticipation of environmental issues; other challenges require a higher amount of resources (either financial, technological, or relational) that managers should develop, purchase, or deploy over a more extended period The 102 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy Fig 3.8 Barriers and challenges to implementing proactive environmental strategies primary “hard” or “no-go” barrier is the lack of managerial and staff motivation to pursue environmental goals [64] The rejection of innovation is a risk-averse attitude towards technological changes, but mostly towards investments in R&D In this case, capital budgeting tends to favour reactive and traditional practices such as end-of-pipe pollution control At lower hierarchical levels, this implies a disincentive for workers to implement environmental measures, or to adopt environmental goals for the products and services they create The lack of training is a challenge, but the lack of motivation is a “hard” barrier Deficient motivation comes from insufficient environmental awareness, which is another symptom of personal and organisational inertia [65] The disengaged, cynical attitudes of employees, doubled by the uncaring and business-as-usual decisions of the top management, are probably the most potent barriers against the creation and implementation of proactive environmental strategies [66] The limited financial capacity for investments in technology can be coupled with high costs of consulting and specialised hardware This impediment affects primarily smaller companies, which not have the financial potency to buy state-of-the-art assets to manage their environmental risks For such companies, the cost of innovative technologies will immediately be embedded into the price of products and services, which may cause them a competitive disadvantage Smaller firms have dif- 3.8 Barriers to Proactive Environmental Strategies 103 ficulties in accessing financial capital and may even incur very high costs associated with cleaner production [67] Conversely, bigger corporations can invest in modern equipment without immediately converting the cost of innovation into a price premium Thus, the adoption of environmental measures has a less significant economic impact for more profitable firms, which can reserve generous budgets for environmental innovation, consultancy, or marketing However, even these companies may have a poor understanding of their cost structure if they not identify and allocate environmental costs to processes and products [68] The unpredictability and volatility of the general business context can reduce the motivation to implement environmental change [69, 70] The gradual development of environmental capabilities would be hindered in a very fast-paced industrial context, which is likely to ask for more than what a company can deliver In very dynamic industries, cleaner technologies may quickly become obsolete while the competitors develop the capabilities and resources to adopt cutting-edge environmental standards Consequently, the premium attached to innovative products could rapidly disappear, forcing managers to abandon their environmental objectives and to focus exclusively on profits, despite a good track record of environmental protection A very dynamic business context might turn environmental capabilities into rigidities [70] The capital expenditure of environmental technology may be externalised if the company chooses to business with environmentally responsible suppliers by negotiating deals that would not increase the final price of its products or services However, in less sophisticated markets, there may be a scarcity of innovative resources, even for companies that have the financial power to purchase them The lack of services and technologies for environmental adaptation, as well as the insufficient supply of consultancy solutions, can be a significant challenge for companies pursuing a proactive environmental strategy One option in these cases is the reorientation towards international markets, which can provide the desired technologies and services (such as environmental certification), but at significantly higher prices Considering that national and international patents protect industrial innovation, a company’s access to knowledge and innovation is costly Available options include the purchase of environmental technology, in-house R&D, or partnerships with specialised institutions which could deliver the desired technology at a lower cost In each of these cases, the price paid will compensate for the risks involved Creating an R&D department is a risky solution which could ensure the largest competitive advantage of all three options Innovation can protect against future regulatory pressures, but only larger corporations can afford to make this type of investment Organisations with fewer financial resources will have to make a trade-off between what is purchased, what is developed internally, and what is assimilated through partnerships with other stakeholders Limited cross-functional cooperation between environmental managers, engineers, and production managers is an organisational obstacle which hinders innovative solutions [68] Finally, budgetary constraints are burdensome, but not impossible to overcome; the manager’s entrepreneurial vision should address such challenges if there is a strong motivation for environmental protection and organisational change 104 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy Individual responsibility creates an awareness of regulatory requirements However, most employees talk about “current legislation” without knowing which rules are relevant for their line of work (e.g government regulations, international standards, codes of practice, licences) Vulnerable compliance is a consequence of a regulatory system that is too complex, or that is not perceived as directly relevant or beneficial to the business Scepticism is an ingredient of vulnerable compliance, reflecting the inefficacy of legislation to solve environmental issues If the managers are not confident that their companies are fully compliant, the firms are said to be vulnerably compliant [71] In these cases, the internalisation of regulation is often insufficient, and the importance of compliance is only acknowledged for immediate dangers or potential harm to the environment and humans For reactive companies, the legislation does not provide a baseline for the development of internally driven change, mostly because managers are blocked by the lack of internal resources and by the scarcity of organisational capabilities Conversely, proactive companies usually discover ways to break the vicious circle of vulnerable compliance by identifying green champions—employees that would take a positive attitude and would highlight the potential benefits of communication and environmental training Several reasons can be invoked for the lack of investment in environmental training [72, 73] Firstly, managers can perceive the training costs as excessive if they are not convinced that environmental practices could lead to company profitability Secondly, the insufficient evaluation of completed training programs may affect the transformation of educational purposes into actual environmental improvements Thirdly, the lack of managerial involvement in environmental issues may create a feeling of indifference for employees and will affect their willingness to participate in future training programs These barriers can be surpassed through a better communication strategy, which includes internal and public websites, dedicated booklets, EMS documentation, department meetings, discussion panels, and other engagement instruments such as exhibitions, competitions, awards, guided tours, and open consultations on environmental matters [74] The quality of EMS implementation (using ISO 14001) is a factor for achieving the desired level of environmental performance Certifying low-quality implementations of EMSs could mislead external stakeholders in that there may be no significant differences in environmental performance between certified low-quality implementers and other non-certified implementers [75] Without proper assimilation, the certification of a corporate EMS is just an exercise in impression management The quality of EMS implementation is not observable to external stakeholders because the certification per se does not allow them to differentiate between high-quality and low-quality implementations ISO 14001 can be a tool for self-regulation only if it maintains its signalling attribute; this means that EMS certification should go beyond the technical aspects of recognition, measurement, and reporting of environmental data, and should focus instead on lowering environmental impacts Although the ISO 14001 standard was not designed for this purpose, EMS certification is an additional dimension which supports and anticipates real improvements in environmental performance The credibility and legitimacy of the EMS system depend on the efforts of each enterprise that upgrades its management systems In the end, if an EMS does 3.8 Barriers to Proactive Environmental Strategies 105 not lead to superior environmental performance, the implementation efforts can be considered futile The link between organisational culture and environmental strategy is a salient topic, given the fact that there may be discrepancies between the publicly displayed ecological idealism of top management, and the cynicism of front-line staff [76] In the absence of environmental values, training, and routines, employees could be demoralised by the bureaucratic aspect of EMS implementation, which may further decrease the efforts allocated to environmental improvement [77] In some cases, organisational barriers emerge from a deep resistance to change at multiple levels, as well as from a cultural fragmentation inside the organisation In other cases, the people who aspire to a greener organisational culture not have the power to improve corporate environmental performance For example, a design manager with limited control and restricted resources would have difficulties implementing the corporate environmental strategy, without the support of other functional managers [68] There may also be substantial communication barriers between environmental managers and the top management regarding the benefits of pollution prevention One cause might be the negative attitudes of business leaders towards environmental regulations and environmental NGOs These aspects contribute to the inefficient implementation of environmental management systems and to organisational inertia related to environmental investments Companies that are reluctant to work with internal change agents will also avoid entering into cross-sector environmental alliances, invoking a lack of resources to build networks with external stakeholders [78] Reactive firms tend to use verbal remedial tactics in situations that have undesirable consequences for company reputation [79] Excuses, justifications, denials, and greenwashing are forms of defensive impression management with the purpose of hiding or downplaying the evidence of poor environmental performance The aim is to salvage the company’s legitimacy in the face of threatening events arising from the inefficient implementation of environmental strategy Press releases, issued mostly through social media, are the primary legitimation device in times of environmental crisis or controversy The main barrier for environmental protection appears when the managers are using public relations methods without implementing substantive changes to structures, programs, or procedures The goal of remedial communication tactics is to mitigate short-term legitimacy threats, mostly as a reactive response to unfavourable news In these cases, the public has very few options to verify corporate claims independently Consumers, investors, and NGOs mostly rely on governmental agencies to ensure that minimum performance targets are met and that the companies are not producing irreversible damage to the environment A point of discussion related to greenwashing is the occurrence of fraud in sustainability departments [80] Sustainability managers may have the incentives and opportunities to commit fraud regarding environmental data by falsely claiming environmental improvements, or by turning a blind eye to toxic materials and polluting industrial processes Environment-related stakeholder pressures have soared in the past decade in areas such as regulatory compliance, ethical considerations, climate change, eco-efficiency, branding, and corporate reputation In some cases, stakeholders can even demand a substantial change to the business model Top management 106 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy may find itself compelled to falsely report environmental data in order to maintain business legitimacy and meet stringent performance targets A weak internal control system creates opportunities for sustainability managers to commit fraud, considering that environmental data are not standardised, are very diverse, and are sometimes vague or fragmentary Also, assurance procedures for environmental reports are still immature, leaving space for a significant margin of error which may be exploited in the firm’s advantage Individuals engaged in the implementation of environmental strategies may be less ethically driven and may find rationalisations supporting their fraudulent behaviour The increasing power of sustainability managers and their close connection to the board of directors may support opportunistic behaviour in the detriment of proactive sustainability policies The short-termism of top managers, the indifference towards environmental problems, conflicting personal interests, and bureaucratic obstacles are determinant factors for the manifestation of sustainability fraud [81] Competitive forces might also undermine the implementation of environmental strategies A very significant example is the unsustainable consumption pattern that generates profits while directly or indirectly damaging the natural environment [65] All industries can enter this vicious circle, from oil and gas to plastics, chemicals, forestry, air travel, or tourism While this may seem like an insoluble dilemma for many companies, a proactive environmental strategy can alleviate the negative environmental impact by setting a limit of maximum allowable environmental damage (like pollution or consumption targets for the near future) These limits are then used to reconfigure the production patterns and supply trends of products and services, in order to minimise the environmental footprint of industrial activity The high manufacturing costs of green products are the major obstacle for environmentally responsible firms that compete against companies that have not invested in green technologies Furthermore, if the customers not perceive the added value of product sustainability, there cannot be a viable market for this kind of products and services [50] Clients have an important word to say on this matter, by changing their consumption habits, renouncing cheap and polluting goods, and choosing eco-friendly products and services instead However, consumers need to be aware that firms may try to deceive them by using green terms such as “biodegradable” or “all-natural” without any scientific evidence to support such claims Greenwashing as a communication strategy is a significant barrier to genuine environmental change [13] For this reason, eco-labels need to be issued by independent organisations in order to ensure trust in the market for green products and services 3.9 A Roadmap for Environmental Strategy The implementation of a corporate environmental strategy is an incremental procedure based on the environmental commitment of the firm’s management (see Fig 3.9) Each step has a contribution to the process so that sophisticated outcomes cannot be 3.9 A Roadmap for Environmental Strategy Fig 3.9 Links between the components of corporate environmental strategy 107 108 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy reached without the completion of primary tasks For example, regulatory compliance is a necessary first step [2] The company must be aware of the continuously evolving regulations that demand the internalisation of environmental impacts by purchasing pollution control equipment and by implementing remediation processes Control, restoration and conservation practices include the installation of emission filters and recycling systems, safe disposal of waste, site restoration, and habitat protection Monetary incentives for remediation and control could come from several sources such as revenues from the sale of carbon allowances, governmental subsidies for filters and other equipment, tax reductions for the implementation of specific environmental measures, and revenues from the sale of recovered scrap materials and parts Also, a company should ensure—to the extent possible—that its suppliers also comply with environmental regulation in the countries where they operate The planning stage of an environmental strategy relies on the negotiation, drafting and publication of environmental policies These should contain clear objectives and long-term environmental plans within a structure of well-defined responsibilities for the top management and other employees The board of directors should be responsive to community concerns, seeking to get a comprehensive picture of the company’s environmental improvement process The environmental manager identifies internal resources for implementing a proactive strategy, while the production department incorporates the improved knowledge about environmental impacts, their causes and potential solutions A proactive environmental policy acknowledges the principles of environmental justice (i.e the fair distribution of environmental burdens and benefits), within a systems approach such as industrial ecology Environmental quality is the outcome of the interactions between units of production (i.e financial resources, technologies, knowledge, skills, designs) and the natural environment The environmental management system (EMS) is a direct translation of environmental policies into the operational cycle of the enterprise It relies on the existence of full-time employees dedicated to environmental improvement, but also on environmental training programs for the entire workforce The purpose of any EMS is to implement reliable systems for measuring environmental performance through the development of a specialised management accounting function Environmental management should not neglect the creation of emergency plans, which are on par with health and safety rules and procedures Environmental managers are concerned with the evaluation of environmental outcomes, as well as with the assessment of environmental and health risks Although EMS standards such as ISO 14001 are not designed to guarantee an improvement in performance, companies and their stakeholders rationally expect that the implementation of an EMS will lead to a long-term reduction of environmental impacts and associated risks Moving further, the real commitment to environmental protection motivates companies to allocate resources to eco-innovation for the development of safer materials, processes, and systems The implementation of an EMS and the development of green innovations are crucial factors of eco-efficiency and pollution prevention Establishing a cost measurement system justifies the necessity to purchase cleaner production technologies and implement environmentally oriented procedures Reducing energy use and materials consumption are the core processes that offer superior environmental quality 3.9 A Roadmap for Environmental Strategy 109 Ecological criteria embedded into production planning lead to improvements in environmental performance in three areas: environmental impacts (emissions and effluents from operations), contributory impacts (from materials, equipment, energy, and fuel), and risk measures (spills and releases of pollutants that may result in severe consequences) Some of the applications of eco-efficiency are the following: • materials management (selection, chemical-use evaluation, and life cycle assessments); • just-in-time manufacturing (minimising the production and storage of unsold products); • the use of renewable energy sources; • the use of energy-efficient production systems; and • improvements in inventory management and logistics (energy/fuel used for transportation) Green partnerships and supply-chain management are essential factors for achieving and maintaining eco-efficiency The purchase of green materials and services, the use of environmental performance criteria in supplier selection processes, cleaner transportation methods, and the choice of reusable or recyclable packaging are the most common practices that result from green partnerships Creating cost-effective relationships with material vendors and recyclers is a significant step for adopting an environmental life cycle approach Technology partnerships (i.e the parent company developing technology for use by its suppliers) and collaborations with NGOs, governmental agencies, universities, and research institutes are fruitful means for companies to acquire knowledge, to gain legitimacy, and to prove their commitment to environmental conservation The company’s ethical posture is enhanced by environmental reporting, which entails the publication of specialised reports and a proactive social media activity [82] Product stewardship [83] focuses on reducing resource consumption and waste generation throughout the product’s life stages It features three types of life cycle assessments: • inventory analysis (accounting for the inputs of energy and raw materials, and the outputs of products, air emissions, and water effluents); • impact analysis (the assessment of the outputs/effects in terms of ecological and health impact); and • improvement analysis (the evaluation of the needs and opportunities to reduce the environmental burden) Several techniques are specific for product stewardship initiatives: the elimination of polluting and hazardous materials; the use of recycled materials for specific products; designing for disassembly, reusability, and recyclability; product recuperation and recycling systems; and the inclusion of environmental impacts in the cost of products and services These elements can become selling points in a green marketing strategy The company can advertise that its products and services are designed to meet environmental requirements The purpose is to occupy the market share of 110 Ethical Aspects of Environmental Strategy those competitors that are less able to respond to environmental requirements Consumer education regarding environmental conservation will strengthen the market positioning of green products and will enhance the company’s reputation Corporate environmental strategy is a framework which ensures that environmental considerations are integrated into the core business functions such as manufacturing, purchasing, research, development, distribution, marketing, and post-sale services [84] The implementation of an environmental strategy is a prerequisite for adopting an environmental management system and for redirecting organisational resources towards eco-innovation Essentially, the corporate environmental strategy is an instrument for a more comprehensive effort towards sustainable development, by encompassing economic, environmental, and social considerations The present and future costs of industrial activity emerge from the utilisation of materials, energy, 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