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DOE, and other agencies to stimulate, facilitate, and reward such efforts.
The committee gathered information on a variety of programs to elucidate their common elements and some of the factors apparently influencing industry involvement in them. The committee was not charged to evaluate, nor did it have the resources to examine rigorously, the quality of individual programs. Thus, this report does not recommend one type of strategy over another.
The growing number and variety of environmental programs initiated by industry in the United States includes environmental-management programs across entire industry or corporate entities, programs implemented on a project-by-project basis, and programs that seek to improve product- or process-design practices. In general, such programs are not related directly to technical compliance with regulations. Industry's motivations for initiating environmental programs are undoubtedly varied, not well understood, and typically multifaceted. Possible cost savings appear to be an important motivator. Companies tend to believe that programs they design to be compatible with their business culture and production processes are much more efficient and cost effective than traditional regulatory compliance programs.
It is not easy and often not possible to quantify the effectiveness of most industry-initiated programs. Uniform metrics generally are not available to measure progress objectively, baseline data usually are inadequate, and goals (targets) for the programs often are not adequately described so that success can be measured. However, the potential benefits of such programs should not be dismissed merely because they cannot be measured rigorously. It is important to note that most regulatory programs also lack rigorous ways to measure environmental effectiveness or benefits.