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Promoting Pollution Prevention in Small Businesses: Costs and Benefits of the “Enviroclub” Initiative

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  • Paul Lanoie

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  • Alexandra Rochon-Fabien
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    Abstract

    The Enviroclub initiative was developed by three federal government agencies—Canada Economic Development for Quebec Regions, Environment Canada and the National Research Council Canada—and launched in 2001 to assist small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) in improving their profitability and competitiveness through enhanced environmental performance. An Enviroclub consists of a group of 10 15 SMEs involved in training sessions on environmental management and carrying out at least one profitable in-plant pollution prevention project. The objective of this article is to provide a cost benefit analysis (CBA) of this original initiative in order to inform policy makers as to the social desirability of such programs. One of the main social benefits of this initiative is to reduce emissions of various pollutants, so that one of our largest challenges is to place a value on these environmental improvements. To do so, we use the “environmental value transfer” method to obtain values from previous relevant studies. We conduct our CBA at three different levels: we consider the costs and benefits first for the whole of society, then from the participating firms’ point of view and, finally, from the governments’ perspective. We conclude that, whichever perspective we choose, the Enviroclub initiative has been highly profitable. L’initiative des Enviroclubs a été développée par trois agences fédérales – Développement économique Canada pour les régions du Québec, Environnement Canada et le Conseil national de recherche du Canada – et lancée en 2001 pour aider les petites et moyennes entreprises (PMEs) à améliorer leur profitabilité et compétitivité via une meilleure performance environnementale. Un Enviroclub consiste en un groupe de 10 à 15 PMEs impliquées dans des séances de formation en gestion de l’environnement et engagées à mettre en œuvre au moins un projet rentable de prévention de la pollution. L’objectif de cet article est de fournir une analyse coûts-bénéfices de cette initiative originale de façon à éclairer les décideurs publics quant au bien-fondé de tels programmes. Un des plus importants bénéfices sociaux de cette initiative est de réduire les émissions de plusieurs types de polluants, ce qui fait que l’un des défis principaux de cette recherche est de trouver la valeur monétaire de ces améliorations environnementales. Pour ce faire, nous ferons du “transfert de valeurs environnementales” pour obtenir des valeurs qui viennent d’études existantes pertinentes. Nous menons notre analyse à trois niveaux. Premièrement, nous considérons les coûts et les bénéfices pour l’ensemble de la société, ensuite pour les firmes qui participent aux programmes et enfin, pour les instances gouvernementales concernées. Nous concluons que, peu importe la perspective choisie, l’initiative des Enviroclubs s’avère rentable.

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    Bibliographic Info

    Paper provided by CIRANO in its series CIRANO Working Papers with number 2011s-28.

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    Date of creation: 01 Feb 2011
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    Handle: RePEc:cir:cirwor:2011s-28

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    Keywords: cost-benefit analysis; SMEs; environment training; environmental performance; analyse coûts-bénéfices; PMEs; formation environnementale; performance environnementale;

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    Cited by:
    1. Ambec, Stefan & Cohen, Mark & Elgie, Stewart & Lanoie, Paul, 2010. "The Porter Hypothesis at 20: Can Environmental Regulation Enhance Innovation and Competitiveness?," LERNA Working Papers 10.14.320, LERNA, University of Toulouse.

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