allow for reuse and for disassembly, industry can save money on production and disposal costs, waste site cleanups, and tort liability.
In addition, pollution prevention has provided industry with a new environmental consciousness. Good corporate citizenship provides valuable marketing and recruitment tools. For a more permissive philosophy to succeed, industry needs a greater measure of trust between itself and the constituencies traditionally seen in opposition—environmentalists, government, and the public. Environmentalists, regulators, and representatives of industry have already been working together on specific environmental projects such as ozone protection. Corporate leaders now seek advice on environmental issues directly from environmentalists. Representatives of environmental groups are invited to participate in industry conferences on environmental issues—a detente that would have been inconceivable a few years ago.
Government and the public benefit from business's enthusiasm for pollution prevention. Pollution prevention tends to reduce the cross-media pollution that old-style regulation sometimes produced. To the extent that industry undertakes most pollution prevention measures voluntarily, the costs of regulation can be reduced. If pollution prevention is cost-effective to industry, it means lower prices for the public as consumers.
Not surprisingly, environmentalists have also embraced the pollution prevention philosophy. To many, pollution prevention offers an opportunity to incorporate environmental Values into the world economy. Greenpeace, for example, has been enthusiastically promoting its hope for a universal goal of zero discharge to the environment. The concept of sustainable development, basic to the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development, depends in part on the pollution prevention philosophy.
Pollution prevention reinforces another recent major development in environmental policy. For several years, the ranking of risks in order of priority has received major attention from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) leadership and the scientific community. Beginning in William Ruckelshaus's second term as EPA administrator from 1983 to 1985, the EPA leadership and EPA's influential Science Advisory Board began urging that the agency direct its energies toward the most serious environmental risks. Environmental problems are to be ranked based their relative risks and addressed in rank order by the most cost-effective means. In an interesting display of the difference between the scientific and regulatory mentalities, the EPA Science Advisory Board has urged EPA to take the initiative and address the most serious risks first, "whether or not the Agency action is required specifically by law." The board emphasized that EPA should consider pollution prevention its "preferred option" in reducing risk as "a far cheaper, more effective way to reduce environmental risk, especially over the long term" (Blomquist, 1991). Because pollution prevention strategies emphasize voluntary measures—measures generally not required under existing law—they have became the linchpin of the approach to ranking risk priorities.