Improving environmental performance assesssment: A comparative analysis of weighting methods used to evaluate chemical release inventories

Michael W. Toffel, Julian D. Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

73 Scopus citations

Abstract

Managers, management scholars, regulators, nonprofit organizations, and the media are increasingly using emissions inventory data to measure organizations' environmental performance. Whereas some analysts use total mass emitted, others have applied one or more of the growing number of toxicity-weighting databases aimed at predicting the environmental and health impacts of emissions. Little research is available to guide analysts in selecting among these databases. This article compares 13 methods in terms of their sophistication, complexity, and comprehensiveness. Seven of these methods are then evaluated as to their usefulness in weighting emissions data from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency's (U.S. EPA's) toxic release inventory, and three pair-wise comparisons are conducted. We recommend the U.S. EPA's Risk Screening Environmental Indicators for estimating impacts to human health. We recommend the Tool for the Reduction and Assessment of Chemical Impacts for estimating impacts to human health and the environment.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)143-172
Number of pages30
JournalJournal of Industrial Ecology
Volume8
Issue number1-2
DOIs
StatePublished - Dec 2004

Keywords

  • Emissions
  • Environmental health
  • Environmental management
  • Indicators
  • Metrics
  • Toxic release inventory (TRI)

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