Introduction to Environmental Management

CEU credits: 
ECTS credits: 
Academic year: 
Co-hosting Unit(s) [if applicable]: 
CEU Instructor(s): 
Aleh Cherp
CEU Instructor(s): 
Zoltán Illés
External instructor(s): 
Don Huisingh
Katharine Farrell
Full description: 


Don Huisingh (Introduction to Preventive Environmental Strategies, 2)
Aleh Cherp (Introduction to Environmental Assessment and Management, 2)
Katharine Farrell (Introduction to Environmental Economics, 2)
Zoltan Illes (Introduction to Solid Waste Management, 1)

The aim of this module is to introduce the students to existing approaches of incorporating environmental considerations into planning, decision-making and management of public authorities and private organizations with a specific focus on identifying and managing trade-offs between environmental and other goals.
At the end of this module a successful student should be able to:
1. Understand the need for and key concepts of industrial transformation necessary for achieving sustainability;  
2. Understand the meaning of  preventive environmental strategies and how they are different from the ‘command and control’ approaches to environmental regulation; understand the concepts of cleaner production, eco-efficiency, the waste management hierarchy, other key concepts, approaches, and tools used in preventive environmental strategies;
3. Explore ways of making environmental improvements in technologies, processes and products in companies; develop simple corporate (or regional) policies aimed at promoting preventive environmental strategies;
4. Reflect on their personal responsibilities at the individual, community, national and global levels to actively work to effect the transition to preventive approaches to achieving SD.
5. Understand and critically analyze the historic origin, the key concepts and strategies of sustainable development, and the limitations of the sustainable development discourse;
6. Know the purpose and key elements of environmental and sustainability assessment (EIA, SEA), as well as key quality and performance criteria for EIA and SEA systems, processes and reports;
7. Understand the basic principles of environmental management systems
8. Understand the key concepts of environmental economics, their application to environmental policy and its limitations;
9. Utilize basic methods of economic valuation of environmental goods and conduct simple cost-benefit
10. Understand the key impacts associated with waste management as well as key principles of integrated waste management.

Organization of the course

The Introduction to Environmental Assessment  and Management units contain both mandatory lectures covering core materials and 2 discussion-type seminars. One of these seminars is for deeper exploration of the basic concepts (‘the beginners’ seminar) and the other – for discussion of advanced topics (‘the advanced’ seminar). The students may attend either (or both) of these. The discussions of the seminar will be guided by students’ interests and not form the basis of formal course assessment (examination).

Key topics

Introduction to Preventive Environmental Strategies
The course will explore the basic “Preventive Environmental Management” strategies, concepts, systems, tools, methods and technologies. It will also address the effectiveness and efficiency of the preventive approaches in comparison with the more typical, ‘command and control’, pollution control approaches.  Illustrative advances in environmentally improved substances, products, processes and technologies will be explored to obtain insight into the potential for the triple bottom line of environmental, economic and social benefits of such approaches. The students will be engaged in exploratory investigations of the types and magnitude of the technological, social and economic changes that will be needed to help ensure that societies can and do make the successful transition to sustainable development.  

The lectures and seminars will cover:

a. Changes in attitudes, strategies and approaches that are occurring as our environmental protection
approaches change from merely treating the symptoms of problems at the ‘end-of-the-pipe,’ to addressing the causes of them at their sources through integrated, preventive approaches.  

b. Frameworks under which preventive approaches are being implemented include developments, such as, “Cleaner Production,” “Pollution Prevention,” “Environmental Technology,” “Clean Technology,” “Eco-
Efficiency,” “Waste Minimization,” “Toxics Use Reduction,” “Green Productivity,” “Extended Producer
Responsibility” “Environmental Reporting,” “The Triple Bottom Line,” “Stakeholder Dialogue,”
“Environmental Reporting,” and “Corporate Social Responsibility Reporting.’ The similarities, differences
and lessons to be learned from these different approaches.

c. Illustrative case studies, in several industrial sectors, in so-called “developed and developing” countries, with insights into the kinds of changes in products, processes, technologies, substances, management procedures, and services that some company leaders are utilizing to improve their environmental performance. The economic, environmental and equity benefits and limitations of such measures.

d. The “Fun Factory,” exercise will be utilized to provide the students ‘simulated on-the-job experiences,’
with the multi-stakeholder demands corporate leaders face as they seek to improve their environmental,
economic and ethical performance.

e. The “Corporate Environmental Policy” exercise will be used to provide students the opportunity to begin to ‘think’ like corporate leaders & employees in developing a relevant, transparent and motivating ‘Corporate Environmental Policy.’

f. Other tools & concepts such as Life Cycle Analysis, Waste Minimization Assessment or Cleaner
Production Assessment, Material’s Flow Analysis, Industrial Ecology, Regional Sustainable Development
will be introduced and students will work in teams in experiential exercises to gain insight into their
applicability, benefits and limitations. Practical applications of the Cleaner Production Assessment tool for
implementation of the preventive environmental strategy in product design and in process optimization will be covered.

g. Based upon many clearly UN-ETHICAL practices that have been made public in recent years, a value’s clarification exercise will be utilized to help students clarify their values about corporate, community & individual responsibilities in helping to make the transition from inherently unsafe and unsustainable societies to safe and sustainable ones.

h. Different governmental policies to promote preventative environmental management will be described and their application in different socioeconomic conditions will be discussed. The Integrated Pollution
Prevention and Control Directive of the EU will be discussed as an example of policies that are designed
to promote the implementation of preventive environmental management approaches.

i. New approaches for promotion of preventative environmental strategies will be discussed, highlighting the importance of integration of natural and social sciences and the significance of local sustainable
development initiatives in helping members of all societies to LEARN how to live in harmony with each
other and with the ecosphere upon which we are all inter-dependent.

Introduction to Environmental Assessment (EA) and management

Introduction to the idea of management. Management mindsets: approaches to framing and resolving problems at the interface of the environment and human activities.
The origin, role, and limitations of the sustainable development concept. Learning to frame the problems in terms of sustainability.
The importance of analysis and planning for management. The nature of EA, legal frameworks for EIA and SEA. Stages and elements of the project-level EIA: screening, scoping, impact prediction and evaluation, quality control and decision-making, post-project analysis, consultation and public participation. Integrating environmental assessment with other assessments and sustainability assessment. The basic principles of Environmental Management Systems (EMS)
Dealing with complexities, uncertainties, innovation, and diversity of perceptions and perspectives interests in environmental management.

Introduction to Environmental Economics

Basics of economic analysis. The working of a market system: determination of price and quantity by demand and supply. The rationing and allocative functions of prices. Consumer surplus. The origin of pollution and the tragedy of the commons. External effects; how much should we reduce pollution? Equity in economic analyses.

Cost Benefit Analyses (CBA). Using economic calculations in decisions. Comparing costs to revenues and other benefits. CBAs as a decision-support tool for environment and other issues with no market prices. Economic value of environmental policies. Quantitative tools for evaluating environmental impacts of production and consumption systems and their limitations.

Economic Valuations. Valuing goods which are not market-traded (such as the environment). Most common monetary evaluation methods: Expressed preferences (Contingent valuation) and Revealed preferences (Travel Cost Method and Hedonic Pricing Method). Other methods: Dose-Response (Impact Pathways), Mitigation Behaviour etc.  

Introduction to Solid Waste Management

Major policy choices related to waste management. The concept of integrated waste management, which relies on a combination of approaches, planning, economic instruments and public participation to reduce environmental, social and economic impacts of the growing volume of waste produced in our cities.
• Municipal solid waste (MSW) management dilemma: the downward spiral of environmental, social and
economic problems.
• MSW management approaches: landfilling and incineration.  
• MSW management approaches: recycling, composting, waste minimization
• Planning and implementing an integrated MSW management strategy.