In today's world, producing a good, reliable, environmentally safe product is crucial. To accomplish this task, government and industry must take into account environmental regulations, socioeconomic costs, and global competitive pressure. In the past, American industry focused mainly on compliance, cost avoidance, and remediation. We cannot continue to take this approach, and must become more proactive in balancing efficiency and cost with evolving environmental factors. By consciously designing for the environment, manufacturers promote pollution prevention; waste minimization; and product reuse and recycling. These practices not only improve the design and efficiency of new products, but also contribute to saving the renewable and non-renewable resources in our ecosystem.
The impact of environmental regulations is causing wholesale change in the Department of Defense and its contractor corps. Environmental issues are a critical part of the acquisition system process for the Department of Defense and U. S. companies that want to remain globally competitive. As one burdensome environmental law is stacked atop another, the challenge becomes even more arduous. Despite size, companies must keep current with the latest developments in environmental areas. In today's marketplace, everything sold aspires to be environmentally friendly - from missiles to paper cups - and it isn't easy being green. In the complicated environmental realm, going on instinct alone can cause more harm than good.
Recently the regulated community, and the regulators themselves, have recognized that programs designed to protect the environment can result in greater operational efficiencies and increase an organization's competitive advantage. By focusing on strategic environmental management, leaders can measure and optimize their return on investment. By treating environmental initiatives as a business investment, leaders can identify baseline costs and liabilities, and calculate the rate of return based on cost and liability reduction or competitive enhancement. Businesses are starting to recognize that environmental, health, and safety issues are not the enemy. The market for environmentally sound products and services is growing.
This document contains many solutions to environmental challenges facing industry, businesses, and programs today. Following are just two of many success stories:
- A company initiated a program to eliminate chemicals from its manufacturing process. They exceeded initial expectations to the extent that more than one million pounds of chemicals, including 600,000 pounds of CFCs, were eliminated years before regulatory deadlines.
- Another company estimated cost savings from its wipe solvent implementation program resulting in an $8.2 million savings over a five year period.
By using these guidelines, programs working toward ISO 14000 certification can be impacted; compliance with federal, state, and local environmental regulations can be achieved; and development of engineering curricula at colleges and universities can be realized. The estimated economic value to the U.S. industrial base can be substantial by using information that already exists and helping businesses and programs realize cost benefits through the avoidance of non-compliance related costs.
The environmental area has gained due recognition in recent years. As such, it is still a growing field, and related data and documents require constant evaluation and revisions. Therefore, this is a living document and will undergo change and refinement as technologies advance in the environmental field. The document provides basic information and successful applications of environmental best practices for incorporation by any company, government installation, or academic institution.
As a living document, updates will be conducted
periodically. This is an opportunity to look at your activity, relate
your success stories, and be part of the next guideline document. To
assist in the update process, the Environmental Best Manufacturing Practices
(EBMP) questionnaire is available on the Best Manufacturing Practices Center
of Excellence Home Page at http://www.bmpcoe.org, or by calling 800-789-4267. All information submitted will be reviewed and compiled by the EBMP Executive Steering Committee Members. We encourage your participation.