Cleaner production among multinational corporations in Southeast Asia

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Title: Cleaner production among multinational corporations in Southeast Asia
Author: Nguyen, Nguyen Phan Duy
Abstract: Cleaner Production (CP) represents the change from a conventional end-of-pipe treatment attitude to a proactive approach to pollution prevention and increased production efficiency. CP has been successfully implemented in developing countries, including the countries of the Association of Southeast Asia Nations (ASEAN). ASEAN is becoming an economic development center in Asia, attracting a large amount of foreign direct investments from multinational corporations during the last two decades. However, success in economic development has been accompanied by environmental problems. Understanding the level of CP practices among ASEAN's multinational corporations (MNCs) and National Cleaner Production Centers/Cleaner Production (NCPCs/CP) organizations is important to their development and for the environmental protection strategy of the region. This graduate thesis is developed with the aim of determining (1) MNCs' effectiveness in adopting and implementing CP practices within the ASEAN region, (2) the interaction of regional CP centers with MNCs, and (3) knowledge gained through MNCs' CP practices and information dissemination among local industries. Four surveys were developed to collect information from: MNCs operating within the ASEAN region; NCPCs/CP organizations; United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) /United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO); and Stakeholders (in the U.S. and Southeast Asia). Findings of the thesis include: 1. With its worldwide influence on CP practices, UNEP and UNIDO obtain success in promoting CP practices in ASEAN and other developing countries through the NCPC and CP programs. Nevertheless, limited funding and obstacles associated with the host political, economic, and cultural characteristics present major challenges of the initiative. 2. The NCPCs/CP organizations' priorities are more focused on local industries than MNCs. They face funding obstacles, are obligated to improve and expand their activities to gain more credibility among industries, strive for legislative support from the governments in order to ensure an effective operation, and seek to be financially independent as consulting firms without external funding. 3. The interaction between MNCs and NCPCs/CP organizations in the region is limited even though NCPCs/CP organizations play a key role in promoting and developing CP in their countries as well as the region. 4. The lack of communication among MNCs and their stakeholders results in skeptical attitudes about whether MNCs carry out effective CP practices. However, some of the MNCs are implementing CP practices as part of their corporations' environmental policy. 5. Governments play a key role in successful CP adoption and implementation in the region. Incentives based on governments' development strategy and market needs could drive public awareness and the institutionalization of CP not only in MNCs but also in local industries and other sectors of the society. The thesis results address the initial goals of understanding MNCs' effectiveness in adopting and implementing CP practices within the ASEAN region and MNC interactions with regional CP centers. However, the responses were not sufficient to provide knowledge about MNCs' CP practices and information dissemination with local industries.
Record URI: http://hdl.handle.net/1850/14367
Date: 2001

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