Toxic Chemicals: Responding to Challenges and Opportunities
University of Virginia - Darden School of Business
This technical note offers an overview of a major corporate issue for the twenty-first century: toxic chemicals and their impact. The risk of cancer and nervous-system disorders from workplace exposure to certain pesticides and solvents is well documented. Even more troubling are recent discoveries suggesting that certain chemicals may damage human endocrine, reproductive, and immune systems and impede normal physical and intellectual development, even at very low exposure levels. Toxic chemicals--ubiquitous in industrial processes and consumer products--represent both challenges and opportunities for business. One approach is simply to reduce a company's use of chemicals identified as problematic for human and ecosystem health. A second approach, called cradle-to-cradle (McDonough and Braungart, 2002), recommends that hazardous materials be designed out of products or recaptured in closed-loop cycles to be used again. Companies that move from a reactive stance to the redesign of their products and operations not only reduce the risk of liability, but also differentiate their products and brands for competitive advantage.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 16
Keywords: environment, entrepreneurship, government regulation, innovation management, sustainabilityworking papers series
Date posted: October 21, 2008
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