|Publisher||Society of Petroleum Engineers||Language||English|
|Content Type||Conference Paper|
|Title||Integrating Decision Support Tools for a More Sustainable Industry|
|Authors||Beth Beloff, Jeanette Schwarz, Earl Beaver, BRIDGES to Sustainability|
SPE International Conference on Health, Safety and Environment in Oil and Gas Exploration and Production, 20-22 March 2002, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia
|Copyright||Copyright 2002, Society of Petroleum Engineers Inc.|
In business and government, there is much agreement that sustainable development should be pursued; yet there is little understanding of how to operationalize sustainability. Further, there is a lack of accepted methods to assess an organization's progress toward this important goal. If the goal of sustainability is to be incorporated into management decision-making, indicators of progress are needed which take into consideration the environmental, economic and social impacts that an organization's processes, products and services generate.
This paper will present an integrated set of decision support tools for evaluating products and processes in terms of sustainability, setting goals for improvement and tracking progress toward sustainable practices. The tools have been refined through piloting in companies, principally in the petrochemical industry. They include the Sustainability Screen, Sustainability Metrics, Limited Life Cycle Inventory, Total Cost Assessment, Facility Design Optimization and Practical Minimum Energy Requirements. The greatest power in use of these tools comes in their combination. Examples of this will be highlighted, such as the integration of sustainability metrics with life cycle analysis and total cost assessment.
Sustainability is a concept that has many definitions. However, the underlying principle is that our decisions must always take factors into account from three different perspectives: economic, environmental and societal.
A few things are clear: individual products, actions or companies really cannot be sustainable in their own right. Sustainability applies to a system and within that context a product, an action, or a company can make the system more sustainable or less sustainable. Therefore, how a company's total actions and products interact within a society determines whether or not they are improving the sustainability of the system.
Why should a company be interested in viewing their products, services and actions from a sustainability perspective? First, it helps identify issues before they become major problems or costs. Investment of time and resources increases over time as an issue progresses from fringe group interest to significant public event to crisis to ultimate resolution.
Second, trends in many industries drive them toward a more aggressive approach to sustainability. These include: social trends such as aging population, increased consumption and “green” consumers; market trends such as information available to consumers and health care costs; ever increasing environmental regulations; environmental concerns such as PVC in packaging, drug potency, and global warming.
Third, sustainability in terms of social responsibility and environmental stewardship can and does impact the economic bottom line for the corporation.
How sustainability fits into a corporation depends upon the vision, industry sector and strategic plan for the enterprise. Technology that is inherently safe to workers and the environment and is environmentally and economically sustainable can yield many positive outcomes. It reduces or eliminates process hazards through changes that are permanent and inseparable from the basic process technology. It results in fewer Environmental, Safety and Health (ESH) issues in pilot scale and commercial scale manufacturing; reduces capital for special safety features; reduces waste disposal costs; is flexible and can be relocated to other facilities; and reduces risk to employees and the community. In short, it improves the odds of meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs.
|File Size||193 KB||10|