The following HTML text is provided to enhance online
readability. Many aspects of typography translate only awkwardly to HTML.
Please use the page image
as the authoritative form to ensure accuracy.
The Industrial Green Game: Implications for Environmental Design and Management
that extends the life of products. United Postal Service, for example, extends the life of its truck fleet by practicing predictive maintenance—replacing parts based on their predicted life times—using sophisticated information systems that keep track of every part in every piece of equipment (Nielsen, 1995).
In discussing electricity as an energy source, England and Cope (this volume) focus on the values, or services, that electricity consumers derive from the product. The focus on end-use draws attention to the aim of the entire system to provide heat, light, temperature control, and so on. The ultimate goal is energy efficiency. In contrast, the motivations of actors upstream from end-use is to generate the maximum number of kilowatt-hours, to mine the maximum amount of coal or uranium, or to extract the maximum amount of fuel. The functionality-based approach leads to thinking about the linkages in the system and is quite different than a systems view of electricity generation. Energy efficiency becomes a critical aspect of managing the system. Moving upstream, toward generation of electricity, this approach points to other strategies for using waste heat and material produced during electricity generation.
USING INFORMATION IN THE GREEN GAME
Information and its use are critical to the industrial green game, whether one talks about using waste as useful material, handling environmental considerations in the design stage, or designing systems on the basis of functionality. The discussion above covered a wide range of information uses, from simple inventorying to establishing a baseline of material and energy inputs, product outputs, and waste emissions; helping to select materials and evaluate the use of chemicals; providing details for managing the supplier chains; improving logistics and inventory controls; and facilitating maintenance in leasing operations for a functionality economy. There are three other areas where information aids the green game: accounting for environmental costs, measuring environmental performance, and gauging consumer attitudes about the environment.
Accounting for Environmental Costs
Traditional accounting has often relegated environmental costs to overhead and hidden them from managers. A modified accounting scheme that gets at environmental costs is presented in Box 2. In this system, overhead is relegated to individual activities and responsibility is assigned to those with decision making responsibilities. Macve (this volume) addresses the challenge of getting a better feel for overhead costs in multiactivity and multiproduct firms. He points out that activity-based accounting attempts to identify the causal relationships in an operation, regardless of how remote the links may be. He argues that from an economic and decision making perspective, such allocations are basically arbitrary and irrelevant, since costs do not create value. What matters is how costs