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Exploring the linkage between investment in manufacturing and environmental technologies

Robert D. Klassen (University of Western Ontario, London, Ontario, Canada.)

International Journal of Operations & Production Management

ISSN: 0144-3577

Article publication date: 1 February 2000


The popular business press, government regulators, environmentalists and the public are calling on operations managers to shift away from their traditional emphasis on pollution control toward pollution prevention when improving environmental performance. Yet, any managerial decision about the level and form of investment in these environmental technologies cannot be made in isolation, but instead must be implemented within the context of other manufacturing investments in process technologies and organizational systems. A survey of two Canadian industries – small machine tools and non‐fashion textiles – revealed evidence that environmental technologies have been regarded as ancillary investments; as investment in manufacturing increased, so did the proportion of that investment directed toward environmental technologies. Further, increased investment in advanced process technologies actually shifted investment away from pollution prevention. In contrast, increased investment in quality‐related organizational systems favored concurrent investment in recycling programs, along with pollution prevention and management systems. Thus, increased investment in quality management offered an important route to expand the implementation of pollution prevention.



Klassen, R.D. (2000), "Exploring the linkage between investment in manufacturing and environmental technologies", International Journal of Operations & Production Management, Vol. 20 No. 2, pp. 127-147.




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