Cover Image
close this bookSteering Business Toward Sustainability (UNU, 1995, 191 pages)
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentExecutive summary
View the documentPreface
close this folderIntroduction
View the document1. The challenge
View the document2. NGOs as a driving force
close this folderPart one: Education
View the document3. Educating the executive and students
close this folder4. The learning process within corporations
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentDialogues with forward-thinking customers
View the documentAdequate information
View the documentBenchmarking
View the documentSystemic planning
View the documentIndividual and collective learning
View the documentConclusions
close this folder5. Assessing corporate environmental performance
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction
View the documentEnvironmental awards
View the documentAssessing environmental performance
View the documentDiffusing environmental information
View the documentSocial monitors: The case of CEP
View the documentMonitoring networks
View the documentConsumers of environmental information
View the documentImpacting business practices
View the documentFuture improvements
View the documentImproving data availability
View the documentImproving data dissemination
View the document6. Media, community, and business
close this folderPart two: Incentives
close this folder7. The role of government
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentDevelopment of new and future-capable product
View the documentClosed-cycle economy and ecological enterprises
View the documentFrom nuclear to solar industry
View the documentEcological pioneering
close this folder8. Ecological tax reform
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentIntroduction: Tax labor and income less, and tax resource throughput more
View the documentAllocation, distribution, and scale
View the documentConsumption and value added
View the documentPolicy implications
View the documentConclusions
View the documentReferences
close this folder9. New concepts of fiduciary responsibility
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentThe prudent man
View the documentThe question of scale
View the documentAsset management and the behavior of business
View the documentSocial investing
View the documentEconomically targeted investing
View the documentThe Jessie Smith Noyes Foundation
View the documentIntel, SWOP, and the process of engagement
View the documentCorporate culture and sustainability
close this folderPart three: Implementation
close this folder10. Industrial clusters of the twenty-first century
View the document(introduction...)
View the documentZero defects, zero inventory, zero emissions
View the documentFront-end solutions versus end-of-the-pipe solutions
View the documentEconomies of scale
View the documentWill Japan embrace the zero concept?
View the documentThe new clusters
View the documentRecycling of ink and paper
View the documentForestry, perfumes, and preservatives
View the documentSugar, cleansing materials, water softeners and compostable plastics
View the documentBeer, salmon, and cattle
View the documentMore to come
View the documentRethinking industrial policies
View the documentCuffing government costs
View the documentRevitalizing the inner cities
View the documentThe case of China
View the documentThe role of the United Nations University
View the documentConclusion
View the document11. Living machines
close this folderAfterword
View the document1. The next hundred years
View the documentAppendix

Zero defects, zero inventory, zero emissions

Over the next decade, industry will have to re-engineer manufacturing and convert itself into a zero-emissions production system. After the quest for zero defects and zero inventory, zero emissions will become a standard objective for production engineers. This process of eliminating all forms of waste is nothing more than a persistent drive to cut costs. It will also give rise to an industrial integration quite distinct from the vertical integration traditionally sought after by industrial groupings. Sectors which seem to have little in common will become closely linked. Industrial policy makers will have to plan for a new form of industrial cooperation when targeting new investments.

Today, zero emissions production is considered impossible, or at least too expensive to be feasible under market conditions. But, though industry twenty years ago did not accept that it had to manufacture with perfect quality, i.e., zero defects, today it is clear to all actors in the market that unless one produces perfect quality, one cannot compete. Quality was first considered an extra cost, then it became profitable through lowered servicing costs, and gradually perfect quality became a competitive tool. Today, perfect quality is considered a precondition to market entry. Similarly, today few believe that zero emissions is feasible, but in twenty years it will be the standard.

Companies that wish to maintain their position in the market, build up their competitive edge, and maintain a solid image with their stake holders (clients, shareholders, local community) have embarked on programs to reduce waste. The drive towards energy efficiency certainly was the first necessary step, but environmental problems, widely highlighted in the international media, have motivated companies to go beyond a mere look at energy efficiency, sewage, and air pollution.