Over the last several years, cleaner production has been continually evolving. This is because of shifting regulatory requirements and a focus on utilizing chemicals which are considered to be environmentally friendly / safer. To fully understand what is occurring requires focusing on how these shifts are occurring. This will be accomplished by conducting a literature review. Together, these elements will illustrate the scope of the changes and the impact they are having on various products sold inside the marketplace.
Cleaner production has continually shifted over the last 30 years. This is because of changes in environmental practices and a focus on delivering more effective solutions to consumers. According to Klemes (2012), this is from regulators requiring firms to utilize materials which are safer and reduce the negative impact on the ecology. As a result, manufacturers are taking a much different focus.
Evidence of this can be seen with Klemes saying, "There is a growing understanding that environmental challenges, which mankind is facing cannot be solved by technological or societal sciences alone. An integrated, multi-disciplinary approach is needed, which combines the strengths of new advances in cleaner production technologies and political implementation of the policies and programs that are designed to help to ensure sustainable societal development based upon healthy eco-systems. Key conclusions and future trends include: cleaner production is a more and more important part of the planning, design, operation and management in all industrial sectors. To assess and evaluate progress towards more sustainable systems, it is essential that proper monitoring of the environmental and social impacts is done on a regular basis and that the results are used to help focusing societal attention on ways to make further improvements towards sustainable societal lifestyles. Key CO2-related aspects are avoidance, reuse, mitigation and minimization. The preferred option of cleaner production is prevention or minimization by better product design, process optimization, monitoring, training and management combined with improved governmental policies that are uniformly enforced for all industrial and business facilities." (Klemes 2012)
This is illustrating how cleaner production is continually changing. Part of the reason for this, is because these shifts are in response to increased amounts of government regulations related to dealing with the negative environmental impacts. At the same time, there are improvements in technology. This is having a positive effect on stakeholders by changing how they look at the situation and the way these products are produced / marketed to customers. The combination of these factors has led to a change in industry practices. (Klemes 2012)
However, there are various challenges, in which different firm are facing when it comes to implementing cleaner production standards. The most notable are from: failing to identify detailed information, techniques and tools that can be utilized by a variety of organizations. This makes it difficult for them to create universal protocols for everyone to follow. (Silva 2013)
10 Tools and the 9 Step Program
A study that was conducted by Silva (2013), determined that a new approach needs to be taken. This can be achieved by utilizing 10 different tools in conjunction with a 9 step program with him saying, "The use of these tools can enhance nearly all steps of a CP methodology, namely the planning stage, crucial for the success a CP program. We found that the fact the standard methodology was developed based on the complementary of nine other methodologies, while addressing some of their scope issues pointed out earlier makes up for a greater comprehensiveness and ease of implementation." These insights are illustrating how new approaches must be created to ensure that there are greater amounts of cleaner production. When this takes place, there is a shift in how these techniques are applied and the long-term effects they will have on firms. (Silva 2013)
Implementing International Guidelines
Lin (2014) determined that improved practices are the result of a concentrated effort to deal with key challenges impacting various industries and sectors. One of most significant ways to ensure compliance is through implementing international guidelines. In a study they conducted, it was determined that those organizations who are multinational entities are abiding by these standards vs. domestic producers. This is based upon the information collected from various industries inside China. It is determining if they are following international standards. The results show that those organizations with operations in other countries have better practices and take much different approach. (Lin 2014)
Evidence of this can be seen with Lin saying, "Using firm-level data from Shanghai, we find that international linkages, in the form of foreign direct investment or international trade, affect firms' environmental compliance and performance. Those organizations with international linkage via ownership exhibit better compliance with environmental regulation and emit less pollution than firms with no international linkage. We also determined that firms with international linkage via market exposure are more likely to exhibit better compliance with environmental regulation than firms with no international linkage and find no evidence that they emit less pollution t. This provides a piece of empirical evidence for the Trade-Up Hypothesis." These insights are showing how international entities are more willing to follow these guidelines. This is because these organizations have much higher standards they must follow in the process. Once this occurs, is the point they are more willing to abide by these guidelines. (Lin 2014)
Theory of Inventive Problem Solving
To add to these insights, another approach could be utilized which is focusing on Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. This is when universal principles can placed into a logical coded format. In this case, innovations can be made. That is more predictable, utilizing the outcomes of the formula to solve critical problems. (Kubota 2013)
According to Kubota (2013), this theory has been tested among the various milk producers inside Brazil. What he determined is that it is effective in cleaning up their production standards and the ideas they are embracing in the process. A good example of this can be seen with him saying, "The search for innovative solutions to support the growing need for cleaner industrial operations is an example of a problem solving process. Because Brazil is one of the largest milk producers, of which Rio Grande do Sul is one of the three largest producers inside Brazil, we emphasize that the dairy industry is important for the regional, national and global economy. This study used the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving to solve cleaner production problems, identify and develop opportunities within the dairy industry and serve as an innovative tool to search for ways to improve environmental efficiency. This research involved three companies with different sizes and characteristics and was based on the fundamental concepts and tools from the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving. The aim of this study was to detect the critical processes in the industries of interest and to detail the features that influence the quality of the studied processes. The results show that this method can be considered as an alternative for resolving related cleaner production problems, especially when the availability of company data is scarce. Furthermore, we highlight the necessity for a feasibility analysis stage because Theory of Inventive Problem Solving does not include this phase within its methodology. These proposals are technically, environmentally and economically attractive and meet the needs of the studied companies. Hence, we conclude that the integration of Theory of Inventive Problem Solving and cleaner production is effective for generating inventive and sustainable solutions." This is illustrating how the Theory of Inventive Problem Solving is effective in encouraging firms to change their practices. These shifts are taking place by offering them with viable solutions which can be customized into their production process. When this happens, they are more capable of adjusting and evolving with the various challenges they are facing. (Kubota 2013)
Increasing Water Prices
In contrast with pollution transfer, cleaner production has been shown to reduce the total amounts of emissions in many developing countries (most notably steel). Yet, there are challenges in developing strategies for implementing them across a wide variety of sectors. To deal with the issues, requires taking an approach requires increasing water prices. This is because it is an essential part in helping firms to produce a wide variety of goods. (Dong 2012)
A recent study that was conducted by Dong (2012) concluded that these techniques were effective at encouraging firms to deal with the various challenges they are facing. Evidence of this can be seen with him saying, "We analyzed the effects of CP policies on investment decisions of firms using a dynamic systems model and by simulating a typical electroplating enterprise in Shenzhen, China. Results show that water price could be effective only when it is increased by a sufficient amount. For instance, only when it is increased directly from 2 to 8 CNY/m3 (0.3 -- 1.2 USD/m3), or from 8 to 16 CNY/m3 (1.2 -- 2.5 USD/m3), will an enterprise gradually increase CP investment from process modification to recovery technology. Increasing the metal utilization rate of CP standard-plating and surface…