Identifying Strategic Environmental Opportunities: A Life Cycle Approach
Issue 3, 1991

Leading companies now recognize that commitment to the environment can help them not only avoid costly problems or liabilities, but also identify environmentally based opportunities for competitive advantage. These opportunities take two forms: cost reduction and differentiation of products, processes, or services. For example, Du Pont reports saving $1 million a year in one plant by using less of one raw material, cutting the plant's waste by two-thirds. Similarly 3M's Pollution Prevention Pays (3P) program has saved the company more than $500 million since 1975 through process adjustments to avoid waste. And ICI has recently made a commitment to reducing its waste output by 50 percent by 1995. Meanwhile, manufacturers such as Procter & Gamble and retailers such as Loblaw in Canada and Walmart in the United States have developed product and retailing strategies that build on environmental strengths. Loblaw, for example, has developed a full line of environmentally sound products under the Nature's Choice brand name.