The popular business press, government regulators, environmentalists and the public are calling on operations managers to shift away from their traditional emphasis on pollution control toward pollution prevention when improving environmental performance. Yet, any managerial decision about the level and form of investment in these environmental technologies cannot be made in isolation, but instead must be implemented within the context of other manufacturing investments in process technologies and organizational systems. A survey of two Canadian industries – small machine tools and non‐fashion textiles – revealed evidence that environmental technologies have been regarded as ancillary investments; as investment in manufacturing increased, so did the proportion of that investment directed toward environmental technologies. Further, increased investment in advanced process technologies actually shifted investment away from pollution prevention. In contrast, increased investment in quality‐related organizational systems favored concurrent investment in recycling programs, along with pollution prevention and management systems. Thus, increased investment in quality management offered an important route to expand the implementation of pollution prevention.
International Journal of Operations & Production Management – Emerald Publishing
Published: Feb 1, 2000
Keywords: Environment; Operations management; Quality management; Pollution; Process management
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