Green Laws Boost Clean-up Iindustry

Engelskaflevering d. 01.09.95


Have companies around the globe really become "house-proud", or is
planet earth just in for a spring cleaning? It is hard to say - but one thing is
for sure; the environmental sector is en-joying a boom. The market for pollution
control technology is on a steep exponential growth curve, which seems to be
interminable. Especially the European companies put down their names for an
immense part of the expansion. But what is the precise nature of this sudden
environmental con-cern? After all the deteriorating state of the environment is
hardly a novel phenomenon, to say the least.
Just how vigorous this potential goldmine is going to be for the clean-
up industry ac-tually depends on law and order, so to speak. That is to say that
one of the main reasons for the turn up is new legislation. Recent EU-directives
as to pollution may cause heavy demands on the purse of one company and
consequently pour that money down the pockets of the clean technology indu-stry.
Moreover the deadlines for plants to meet EU-directives are getting close, and
everything se-ems to show that the laws will be enforced.
Yet far from all companies have to meet with the
raised finger of the law to start investing in their environmental
responsibilities. Investments on a volunta-ry basis are often due to the fact
that it makes good ecnomic sense or because it gives the corporate image a face-
Seen from a geoprahical point of view Germany and primarily eastern
Europe form tremendously good breeding ground for the sale of clean-up equipment.
As a result of opencast mi-ning of lignite coal in Poland, for example, a huge
clean-up is left, which will amount to billions of dollars. However accidents
also occur at sea, where a spate of oil tanker disasters are likely to fill out
the order book at oil cleaning industries.
Nevertheless a stroke of bad luck is far from necessary in order to make
firms under-stand their green obligations. The power of the consumers has been
on the increase over the last few years, and the public environmental image
means more to a firm than ever before. The average con-sumer going down to the
grocer's for a few necessaries is starting to attach importance to something
else than just the product itself. How is the detergent wrapped - is the paper
bleached? Is this bottle reusable? Are these outdoor tomatoes? - and so on.
Personally I don't think that you notice it, as
you're walking alongside the shelves in the local supermarket - but you do pay
more attention to ecological messages on the products than you did just 5-10
years ago. After all this is a topic very much in the public mind, so I guess
it's quite natural to get involved one way or the other.
I know from my own experiences that we have started to
put down se-veral ecological products on the shopping list at home, when going
to the grocer's. Products like: carrots, rye bread, milk, and cheese appear
regularly on our shopping list and always in ecological form. But just recently
another common purchase was substituted; red wine, French red wine to be exact,
had to give way to a Spanish bottle instead. The day by day "revolution" on the
dinner table was my mother's contribution to the prevention of the French
nuclear tests. French products in gene-ral was banned on our shopping list - and
still are. How far her exertions have got appreciable effect with monsieur
Chirac is dubious - but many a little makes a mickle, as they say!
On a more global scale this environmental consciousness of the consumers
was to be witnessed just a couple of months ago. The sinking of the drilling rig
"Brent Spar" at open sea cau-sed an outcry all over Europe, and customers
"rippled their muscles". Shell, the mastermind behind the sinking, was boycott
by a vast number of both bulk buying companies and ordinary consumers which
resulted in a more environmentally friendly solution at last.
To my mind this way of carrying one's point is
absolutely excellent. Henceforward I feel that the consumers should utilize "the
power of their shopping list" far more frequently. As to "Brent Spar", we kept
that one afloat and got it sent to the breakers pre-venting the environment from
further molestation. Let's only hope that this will go for the French nuclear
weapons as well - before it's too late! "Consumers, unite!"


COWIconsult Parallelvej 15 2800 Lyngby Denmark

The European Att.: Michael Bond Orbit