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The Industrial Green Game: Implications for Environmental Design and Management
as solvents to clean electronic circuit boards, the alternative water-based systems were developed primarily by the major manufacturers and shared with their suppliers (International Cooperative for Environmental Leadership, 1996). Plastics manufacturers, who are often part of several supplier chains, recognize that their competitiveness may well depend on their ability to create materials that can be recycled conveniently and cost-effectively. These manufacturers have developed and continue to engineer plastic resins to meet new requirements, eliminating ingredients that inhibit cost-effective recycling and establishing business relationships that will lead to the cost-effective recovery of resins in order to meet recycled-content requirements.
The importance of evaluating the environmental quality of supplier chains is critical to playing the industrial green game well, partly because of transnational differences in standards and practices. Suppliers must comply with environmental regulations in the countries in which manufacturers' products are eventually sold. Suppliers practices also must conform with any voluntary labeling a company uses to designate its product as "green." Manufacturers, therefore, have to understand their suppliers' practices and, more generally, assure environmental quality from the supplier chain by using surveys, questionnaires, audits, and third-party certifications.
Grann (this volume) shows how similar concepts are used in the building of a pipeline through a sensitive ecological area. His paper describes the use of British Standard BS 7750—Specification for Environmental Management Systems—and a forerunner of the international environmental standards ISO 140017 to manage environmental aspects of the project. A detailed environmental protection plan for the pipeline project was prepared to ensure a high level of environmental performance and strict adherence to all regulations, permits, and requirements. The plan included a set of environmental documents that were used by contractors to state their commitment to environmental protection by identifying environmentally critical operations, prescribing appropriate environmental measures, and giving detailed work instructions for proper job execution, control, and verification.
The way in which orders are fulfilled to complete sales and deliveries can have major green game implications, particularly in packaging, inventory management, and distribution logistics. The strategy for dealing with packaging is similar to that associated with the product: Use less material, use biodegradable material, and design packaging for reuse and recycle. The less tangible aspects of fulfilling orders and of inventory management and distribution require the use of logistical information. Just-in-time manufacturing practices—matching production to market demand to eliminate storage or surplus of product—reflect how forecasting systems and inventory management can minimize the manufacture