Self-initiated corporate environmental programs, most of which started only recently, need time to accumulate experience and specific data. More baseline data are needed regarding chemical use, waste generation, energy consumption, environmental releases, and transfers of waste to other facilities. Such information will help to identify new opportunities for government and industry for environmental improvement. Additional information is needed on the environmental fate of manufactured products.
Until sufficient data are obtained, a pertinent and practical question to ask is whether available information indicates that these programs are at least heading in the right direction in their efforts to improve environmental quality.
To make the programs more widely acceptable and to verify effectiveness, government agencies and other organizations should direct substantial effort toward establishing commonly accepted metrics, data-gathering, and publically-accessible reporting systems that will provide all the stakeholders with information sufficient to allow conclusions to be drawn on the overall effectiveness of an activity or program.