Sustainable Industry Program Offers a New Approach to Environmental Policy Development

Building Knowledge and Cooperation to Define Opportunities . . . Creating Incentives and Removing Barriers to Achieve Results

April 7, 1999

The Environmental Protection Agency's growing Sustainable Industry Program is helping participating industries get better environmental results, often at lower cost and with less regulatory hassle.

This program - one of several sector-based initiatives at EPA -- is based on a simple premise, according to Bob Benson, Director, Industry Sector Policy Division. "By studying an industry in close cooperation with its decision-makers, government regulators gain a better understanding of the many reasons why firms embrace or resist actions to protect the environment. Once we know why companies make business and environmental decisions, we can shape policies that create incentives and tools to help an industry achieve exceptional performance," he said.

"We also can tailor initiatives that overcome barriers to success. The result is a policy roadmap for long-term environmental improvement by businesses acting in their own interest. We test innovative ideas in partnership with stakeholders from industry, government, and citizen organizations," he continued.

The Program Is Getting Results

The Sustainable Industry Program is run by EPA's Office of Policy Development. The program is working with seven different industry sectors, and achieving notable success so far with the metal finishing, batch chemical, and photoprocessing industries.

"We are making great progress in implementing a first-of-its-kind, industry-wide environmental stewardship program with the small business metal finishers," Benson said. "We have some great programs taking root in such places as Chicago, Los Angeles, New York, and Texas.

"Our new approach works because it requires us to listen carefully to the views of the regulated community and others. Both EPA and companies can base our actions on a strong foundation of knowledge and trust."

For More Information

For more information on the Sustainable Industry Program, check the new Industry Sector Policy Division website.

You may also contact Bob Benson, Director, Industry Sector Policy Division, EPA Office of Policy Development, 401 M Street, SW (MC-2128) Washington, D.C. 20460

Phone 202-260-8668
Fax 202-260-8662

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