We are on the verge of a paradigm shift in the regulatory community in the United States. The EPA is slowly moving away from command and control to a more collaborative structure, and Lean process improvement is one of the primary catalysts of change. A significant percentage of American enterprises have some experience with Lean methods, and the EPA and others believe that Lean can be leveraged to promote environmental benefits while still delivering valuable business benefits, such as increased productivity and reduced costs. This research explores both the opportunities available for businesses today, and the current obstacles encountered when implementing Lean methods for activities that have environmental aspects. Drawing on published case studies and surveys of business professionals, a set of influencing factors was compiled, each categorized as an internal or external factor and as either a positive (opportunity) or negative (obstacle) influence. Although the case studies and survey results differed somewhat, both indicated that factors relating to costs and cost savings were perceived as the major influencing factors, while compliance and regulatory assistance were considered minor influences.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Industrial management--Environmental aspects; Waste minimization; Reengineering (Management); Industrial efficiency; Environmental policy--United States; Sustainable development
Department, Program, or Center
Civil Engineering Technology Environmental Management and Safety (CAST)
Doman, Jennifer, "Leveraging lean process improvement methodology to promote economic and environmental sustainability: Obstacles and opportunities" (2007). Thesis. Rochester Institute of Technology. Accessed from
RIT – Main Campus