Introduction

According to the definition of Brundtland, sustainable development is the development that fulfils the needs of the present generation without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs [1]. This means that long-term thinking and acting is needed. As the advantages of a long-

WIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, Vol 154, © 2011 WIT Press

www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)

doi:10.2495/CHEM110011

term approach are not always directly recognized as profitable on the short-term, it is essential that a constant overview of the value chain is installed in a company and that the opportunities that can be found in such a long-term approach are recognized. Value chain opportunities such as chemical leasing, organized supply chains and transport, waste exchange, cradle-to-cradle actions, integrated SHESQ management systems or strategic collaboration may be elaborated within organizations to anchor sustainability as a vision.

Managers are discovering that the indicators that gauge sustainability can also be indicators of efficacy - that is, how well a company is run. From the management of corporate liabilities to new market ventures, a sustainable business strategy can improve all segments of corporate activity. It can be argued that management with focus on sustainability is a good proxy for gauging overall management capabilities at strategic, tactic and operational levels.

Traditionally, sustainability issues such as environmental efforts and social welfare expenditures have been viewed as costs that correlate negative with returns. However, studies suggest that there are several opportunities for competitive advantage and increased profits to be gained by strategic sustainability initiatives [2].

This reasoning reflects a shift from viewing business expenditures in a static world, to viewing them in a dynamic one based on innovation. Porter and Van der Linde [3] argue that in static model, firms and clusters of firms have already made their cost-minimizing choices and therefore any imperative to spend 'in the name of sustainability' inevitably raises costs. Such a static world falsely assumes that profit-seeking in se leads automatically to the pursuit of all profitable innovations. However, a dynamic world, which is actually the real world that companies operate in, is shaped by the stimulation and development of innovations. In other words, managing with focus on sustainability, that is, enhancing sustainability in a non-technological way, have helped spark (non-technological as well as technological) innovations that have eventually improved chemical process efficiencies, tapped new markets, streamlined productions and materials use, reduced pollution, and led to many other benefits.

Nonetheless, public and private researchers still need to bestow much greater effort in studying essential non-technological domains for improving sustainability in the chemical industry and achieving sustainable chemical products and processes. This paper deals with the different fields of non-technological research deserving more attention by academia and industry.

If supply chain management is aimed at installing beneficial partnerships and seamless linkages between multiple parties operating at different levels of the supply chain to avoid unnecessary logistics costs, it is referred to as vertical logistics collaboration. Apart from the well-established concept of vertical collaboration, horizontal collaboration can be distinguished. Horizontal collaboration is used to refer to concerted practices to "share private information, facilities or resources to reduce costs or improve service between companies (competing or unrelated) operating at the same level(s) in the market" [4].

It is obvious that a chemical enterprise has several possible ways of installing organizational improvements for its aim to optimize chemical process or product sustainability. Figure 1 displays the different perspectives.

Figure 1: Different perspectives for achieving sustainable chemistry in a non-technological way.

As a first (horizontal) perspective, cross-plant management between corporations situated on the same level of the supply chain can be mentioned. This innovative perspective for enhancing sustainability in a non-technological way is called multi-plant management or cluster management.

As a second (vertical) perspective, supply chain management is envisioned. A supply chain policy trying to optimize sustainability within a chemical industrial area is aimed at realizing a more efficient chemical logistics chain.

The third (plant-internal) perspective is concerned with a company's safety, health, environment, security and quality management systems. By integrating these aforementioned management systems, chemical processes and products may be efficiently approached from a holistic people, planet and profit viewpoint.

The transition from a 'traditional' chemical plant towards a truly 'sustainable' corporation may only be achieved through the use of adequate business models directed at cooperation and multi-plant management. The three (non-technological) perspectives for elaborating these business models and leading

ÉWIT Transactions on Ecology and the Environment, Vol 154, © 2011 WIT Press www.witpress.com, ISSN 1743-3541 (on-line)

towards the 'sustainable company' vision are discussed more in depth in the following Sections.

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