Managing environmental Quality

Quality Environmental Management refers to business management practices that reduce or prevent environmental pollution achieved through Total Quality Management techniques.(Albero A, 1999). Most literature on this topic abates with the increasing adoption of ISO 14001 in around 1995.

Socio-Industrial Facets of Total Quality Environmental Management

Abatement of environmental pollution cannot succeed with the dedicated efforts of an individual; it takes a village to raise environmental standards. Consequently, businesses can collectively attain environmental improvements through industry teamwork and in collaboration with regulators, thereby creating an alternative to stringent regulatory control. Total Quality Environmental Management has been proposed as an Alliance Framework (Odea & Pratt, 1995)

With respect to implementation, most businesses find it impossible to superimpose another company’s quality organization on their own firm similarly to the way that pouring beer into a soda pop can will not change the beer’s taste into cola. (Woods, 1993) Thus, Total Quality Environmental Management implementations must address the unique aspects of each operating facility.

In 1992, performance indicators for Total Quality Environmental Management were “in the early stages of development” (Johansson, 1992) though little work in the area occurred since.

Total Quality Environmental Management Measures

An initial conceptual framework based on Juran’s COQ approach to identifying the costs of environmental projects has been introduced. However, an empirical examination of the proposed framework remains untested. (Curkovic et al, 2005). Total Quality Management frameworks and frameworks for capturing environmental costs do not yet cover the use of Total Quality Environmental Management.

Del Brío et al. (2000) presented and test two TQEM measures with good χ², but the measurements hold limited practical usefulness. Del Brio et al. found some correspondence between the attitude of the Spanish industrial companies’ managers towards the environment based on their perception of the advantages and difficulties of environmental actions. Del Brio et al. also found a correspondence between the importance that managers attach to the adoption of a series of tools and the formal consideration they give to the environmental area; the managers were more concerned about the environmental advantages, difficulties and tools working in companies that attach more formal importance to the environmental area. They also found some correspondence between obtaining an environmental management certificate and the formal consideration given to the environmental area by managers. Those companies with an environmental management certificate attach more formal importance to the environmental area.

Green supply chain practices were defined in terms of four factors based on literature: internal environment management, external GSCM practices, inventory recovery, and eco-design. QM was defined as two main activities: TQM and ISO9000 certification. (Zhu & Sarkis, 2004)

Recent Total Quality Environmental Management Assessment

Jayathirtha (2001) provided a recent examination of Total Quality Environmental Management after the successful introduction of ISO 14001.

Both ISO 9000 and ISO 14000 series standards make some common requirements:

  • Doing business as usual is “unacceptable.”
  • Doing business without a systematic management approach is economic doom.
  • Providing quality is key.
  • Protecting and nurturing the environment is the key.
  • Doing it right the first time is crucial.
  • Getting your act together is essential.
  • Listening to customers and other stakeholders is absolutely necessary.
  • Respecting society is mandatory.

The objectives of Total Quality Environmental Management are to:

  • reduce waste and improve continuously,
  • reduce resource depletion,
  • reduce or eliminate environmental pollution,
  • design products for minimal environmental impact in production, use and disposal,
  • control environmental impact of raw material sourcing,
  • control environmental impact of new developments,
  • promote environmental awareness among employees and
  • promote environmental awareness within the community.

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