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The Industrial Green Game: Implications for Environmental Design and Management
alone spends one-third of its $845 million annual research budget on cleaner processes, and Volkswagen leads with its 3V policy (Vermeiden, Verringen, und Verworten, or prevention, reduction, and recycling). Volkswagen has set its sights on a 100-percent recycling rate despite the complexity of car materials. On the basis of its experience at a pilot dismantling plant, Volkswagen announced that it would take back its Golf model free of charge, a factor that helped Golf win the 1992 European Car of the Year award (Schmidheiny, 1992).
In addition, Germany hopes to bring the world's first magnetic levitation (maglev) train into operation by 2005. The German government has invested over $1 billion in the project. In late 1994, parliament approved a 180-kilometer track between Hamburg and Berlin (Wright, 1994a).
The total budget for the German environmental sector (private and public) is estimated at around $5 billion. This is more than double what France spends in this area (Wright, 1994b).
France itself sends mixed signals. Although a Eurobarometer 1992 survey showed that 80 percent of the population considered environmental protection "an immediate and urgent problem for Europeans" (compared with only 59 percent who did so in 1988), the two green parties (Les Verts and Generation Ecologie) only won 7 percent of the vote in the last legislative elections. Government policy is equally ambiguous. The new Barnier Law (named after the environment minister) identifying education and renewable energy as key priorities has been criticized as "a cosmetic touch-up of existing laws," and the ministry announced in August 1994 the reactivation of the controversial $4 billion Superphenix nuclear breeder reactor. France still gets 75 percent of its electricity from nuclear reactors. However, the 1994 environmental budget was increased by 9 percent over the previous year, and French business is stepping up its involvement in environmental activities. Even in the traditionally resistant automobile sector, companies such as Peugeot and Citroen are moving ahead with plans for ecovehicles (Wright, 1994a).
Public attitudes in the United Kingdom show patterns similar to those in France: General political correctness contradicted by an unwillingness to back it through votes or "green premiums." The government's imposition of a value added tax on domestic fuels, seen as a tentative gesture toward an energy tax,drew sharp opposition, and there is no indication that the United Kingdom will adopt the German and U.S. policies of mandatory recycling. With a few exceptions such as the Body Shop group, British business is strongly opposed to more regulations and is adopting a self-policing stance. Green audits are now becoming the norm for major companies, and the Confederation of British Industry is calling for more open corporate reporting on environmental activities. Leading companies in this area range from Shell and British Petroleum to the National Westminster Bank (Wright, 1994a).
Spain is typical of Southern Europe in that public concern remains low and legal protection remains weak in the absence of an environment ministry. Spanish