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Theoretical perspectives on strategic environmental management

  • Don Goldstein


    (Department of Economics, Allegheny College, Meadville, PA 16335, USA)

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    Strategic Environmental Management (SEM) incorporates into firms' core strategies the transformation of products and processes that they believe an environmentally concerned society will increasingly demand. Significant threads have to do with the discovery of cost savings and market opportunities from reducing environmental impacts. SEM, like the environmental regulation hypothesis associated with Michael Porter, implies that society's efforts to reduce external environmental costs often lead to identification of hitherto-ignored or undeveloped profit possibilities. This would be surprising from the standpoint of neoclassical economic theory, to the extent that SEM utilizes available information about the potential costs and benefits of projects. Within the framework of evolutionary, capabilities-based theories of the firm, however, this discovery and its exploitation in SEM make perfect sense. Capabilities theory would imply that firms' intrinsic path dependence may previously have obscured such opportunities. This paper examines the theory of SEM, its implications for neoclassical and capabilities theories of the firm, and survey results drawn from the author's work with member companies in a regional pollution prevention roundtable.

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    Article provided by Springer in its journal Journal of Evolutionary Economics.

    Volume (Year): 12 (2002)
    Issue (Month): 5 ()
    Pages: 495-524

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    Handle: RePEc:spr:joevec:v:12:y:2002:i:5:p:495-524
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