1. Distinguish between environmental impact, environmental quality and environmental effect. How are these related to life-cycle assessment?
2. Products, geographic sites and businesses represent three objects for the
collection, classification and communication of physical environmental information.Are these three objects related in any way? Why is it important for managers
to distinguish between the three objects?
3. Stocks and flows are important in the management of a company’s financial
affairs and in the management of its ecological affairs (or of its impacts).What,
if any, is the interrelationship between these two concepts in financial and
environmental affairs? Why are they both important?
4. Tools of environmental management need to be eco-efficient. What is ecoefficiency? What is an eco-efficient tool? Provide a critical analysis of the view
that conventional life-cycle assessment is not an eco-efficient tool of environmental management.
5. Explain each of the relationships outlined in the quadrants in Figure 10.1 (page
239). Detail the actions that would lead to a favourable change in direction in
each of the four relationships described in the figure.What actions would lead
to unfavourable changes in each of the relationships?
6. List the problems with life-cycle assessment. Explain which level of management
is appropriate for addressing each of these problems.
7. What are the advantages and disadvantages of certified environmental product
declarations? Assuming that you are the environmental manager of Global
Autos, with companies operating in Sweden, Germany, the USA and Australia,
would you provide environmental declarations in Sweden? Would you provide
such declarations in the other countries? Give reasons for your answer.
8. Describe the environmental impact-added life-cycle chain. Select one particular industry and list the environmental interventions for each function in the
chain. Rank the functions in terms of their expected total environmental impact
added. How might a manager use this information to improve eco-efficiency?
Consider the relationship between costs and quality of information in your
9. Background inventory data represent average environmental interventions
related to a particular material used in a particular industry.Who supplies such
information? Why has background inventory data been the subject of considerable criticism? Is there an alternative to background inventory data that
overcomes the criticisms made?
10. For a small eco-tourism company keen to use life-cycle assessment for competitive reasons, is a streamlined life-cycle assessment, life-cycle review, matrix
approach or comprehensive approach the best tool to adopt? Consider the
advantages and disadvantages of each tool before making your choice.
11. Scientific uncertainty about emissions data can be large. The precautionary
principle suggests that decision-makers err on the side of caution when there is
258 contemporary environmental accounting
scientific uncertainty. Examine the data in Table 10.3 (page 251). If only these two
sets of data were available, which set would the precautionary principle suggest
an environmental manager should use in decision-making?
12. What is the ‘free-rider’ problem? Why does it discourage innovation in environmental protection and the adoption of high environmental standards? Can
anything be done to overcome the free-rider problem?
13. Is there a link between product-specific and site-specific life-cycle assessment?
Which of these practical ways of drawing boundaries to the life-cycle assessment
system will best help companies to consider ecological catchments and biodiversity in their eco-efficiency thinking?