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Optimizing environmental product life cycles: a case study of the European pulp and paper sector

Author: Gabel, H. Landis ; Van Wassenhove, Luk N. ; Weaver, Paul M. ; Bloemhof-Ruwaard, Jacqueline M.INSEAD Area: Economics and Political ScienceIn: Environmental and Resource Economics, vol. 9, no. 2, March 1997 Language: EnglishDescription: p. 199-224.Type of document: INSEAD ArticleNote: Please ask us for this itemAbstract: In the context of the European pulp and paper industry, the authors propose a methodology, based on materials accounting and operational research techniques, to assess different industry configurations according to their life cycle environmental impacts. Their methodology searches for the feasible configuration with the minimum impact. The authors address some basic policy-relevant questions regarding technology choice, investment priorities, industrial structures, and international trade patterns. They show that current environmental policy's focus on maximising recycling is optimal now, but that modest improvements in primary pulping technology may shift the optimal industry configuration away from recycling toward more primary pulping with incineration. This will have significant implications for the amount and type of environmental damage, for the location of different stages in the production chain, and for trade between European member states
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In the context of the European pulp and paper industry, the authors propose a methodology, based on materials accounting and operational research techniques, to assess different industry configurations according to their life cycle environmental impacts. Their methodology searches for the feasible configuration with the minimum impact. The authors address some basic policy-relevant questions regarding technology choice, investment priorities, industrial structures, and international trade patterns. They show that current environmental policy's focus on maximising recycling is optimal now, but that modest improvements in primary pulping technology may shift the optimal industry configuration away from recycling toward more primary pulping with incineration. This will have significant implications for the amount and type of environmental damage, for the location of different stages in the production chain, and for trade between European member states

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