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Environment covering sources, controls, movement in the environment, toxicology and
regulation and policy.
The introduction of new introduction of small environmental modules and examples
into basic professional subjects. We want to send the message that every professional has,
among his/her responsibilities, concern for the environment.
New professional and research degrees for other science and technology majors.
We have developed a new Masters degree in industrial ecology which features an internship
in industry and integrating knowledge about life cycle analysis. We have developed new
research and educational programs in environmentally-sound technologies, in green design,
in recycling, business and the environment, and in energy and the environment.
Both these programs are increasingly interacting with industry and government to
put students into intern situations in industry, to bring practitioners back to the university
and to bring professional tools and approaches (like TQM) into education.
Through this mechanism we have been able to make these opportunities available to all our
students. (Please recall that even the poets at MIT take a year-long core of calculus,
physics, chemistry, biology and other science- and technology-intensive subjects freshman year.) Thus our students bring strong reprequisite knowledge and problem solving skills
to these difficult problems.
2) How many other colleges and universities also have well developed.
programs to integrate environmental sustainability into traditional science and engineering education?
We see other schools attempting to do similar things, although most have focused
on research first and education second. (Tufts and Michigan are notable exceptions.) All have to fight the battle of how to bring faculty from different disciplines to cooperate. Our
experience tells us it is better to let this grow in a "bottoms up" voluntary manner than to force it from the "top down" with permanent artificial structures such as Departments or
Schools of the Environment. Programs based on this legislation should attempt to grow
and demonstrate voluntary cooperation instead.
There is still missing knowledge to keep the process growing - which this
legislation should attempt to address through research for education. Life Cycle Analysis has many unresolved information and philosophical issues. Industrial organization may impede technologic process. Firms are also interested in goals of lower cost, higher quality, better worker safety, reduced liability, and global competitiveness as well as sustainable development. How does one design for all these goals? The bill should
encourage the building of this new knowledge and the free interchange of new materials
and concepts between universities as well as between government, industry and public
3) How could the federal government best catalyze this type of educational
A) Encourage at participating universities the building of "voluntary infrastructure" to bring together the many disciplines needed to make this process work. Provide these
organizations with incentives for new activities based on cooperative action.
B) This education is important for all students, not just those who want to be
environmental professionals. For those who are on other tracks, influence them through literacy subjects, modules in existing subjects, and environmentally-oriented design
exercises. Make sure that students learn the social, economic and political context of their
technologies as sustainable development is about making difficult choices among
alternatives in multi-cultural settings with different values.
C) Build strong links within academia and between academia, industry, government and public groups. Mechanisms are incentives for bringing students and faculty into
contact with "real problems", and for bringing professionals back to campus.
D) Help provide the basic knowledge needed to expand life cycle analysis,
industrial metabolism and industrial ecology concepts from rough sketches to fully
understood methodologic tools with the data and case studies needed to use them.
I would like to thank the Subcommittee for this opportunity to give my views on
this important piece of legislation, and I will be pleased to respond to your questions.
Mr. LEWIS. Are they biodegradable with the atmosphere?
Mr. LEWIS. Okay. I was wondering why you selected Kirstin instead of Dr. Jim Green. [Laughter).
Mr. VALENTINE. Oh, Tom, if you don't understand that, son, we're going to have to get another ranking man or something. I know you do. .
That's a—would you, I would like to touch that wool jacket.
Mr. IMHOFF. We've got a number of different fabrics that we've developed in items over on the table on the right, and anybody who is willing can look at those. I've brought some presents for you guys—your wives, anyway.
Mr. VALENTINE. When you speak of recycled wool, does that mean that if I had an old woolen blanket that has holes in it maybe or was soiled or something, I just turn it in and you would take it and recycle it? Or does it have to do with wool that fell through the cracks of the barn when the sheep were sheared?
Mr. IMHOFF. No. It's post-consumer and post-industrial. Postconsumer would be your old blanket with the holes in it, and those people who collect the wool, if they found that it was still of a good quality, they could scour it and clean it and then shred it, sort it by color, and then that's the same thing that they do with post-industrial factory scraps which might otherwise go to landfills. They shred them, sort them by color, respin them into yarns, and then they would weave it into a fabric like that.
Mr. LENTINE. Well, is it fair for us to assume that what you do, the end product after all of this is more expensive, and so you have to well, that's true isn't it?
Mr. IMHOFF. It's true, but it depends if you talk about the value or the cost.
Mr. VALENTINE. Well, I am talking about the cost.
Mr. IMHOFF. The cost is—it could be anywhere from 15 to 100 percent more expensive.
Mr. VALENTINE. So, at present we are really talking about a market that is restricted only to those people who have a sensitivity about this area, about the environment and want to make a contribution and are willing and can afford to pay
for it? Mr. IMHOFF. Yes. The philosophy behind the department is that it's sort of the engine that drives our design train. We try to make everything the best we possibly can with Ecollection and then take specific technologies and materials that we can incorporate on a cost effective level throughout our lines.
For example, we could use, now that we have enzyme washing, up to a certain level we have achieved economies of scale, we can now wash all of our jeans with enzymes rather than stone washing or acid washing and that eliminates chlorine or hydrogen peroxide from the process.
Mr. VALENTINE. I want to be sure that we understand each other. I don't have any problem with what you are doing. As a matter of fact, I receive those catalogs and have the long-lasting light bulbs and the shower nozzles and all that stuff.
But what I want to talk about is to what extent does the government have a responsibility to help finance what you do, either directly or indirectly, and when can we say that the situation will change or might change so that we can—you can do what you do and it would be cheaper? Or is that fantasy?
Mr. IMHOFF. Are you talking to me? Well, I think there are numerous ways that you can help.
In particular, I find that most people don't make the connection between textiles and agriculture, and that most of our fabrics and most of our textiles start with some sort of agriculture. At Esprit, we can purchase cotton. We can educate customers about the importance of purchasing organic cotton and why it cost more.
But we can't really help the farmer—we need the cotton to be cheaper all the time, so there have to be other people out there which are making it much easier to grow cotton organically, or there have to be incentives for cotton farmers to make this important shift.
But it goes all the way throughout our manufacturing processes. Esprit doesn't own factories that do particular processes. They always go to one factory or another in order to assemble a garment. And so, working with those respective industries that are involved in textile production would essentially help us achieve our goal as well.
Mr. VALENTINE. Can you direct our attention to any government agency or entity which was particularly helpful in the process which led to where you are today in your company?
Mr. IMHOFF. I am sorry but I can't. We pretty much had to do this on our own.
Mr. VALENTINE. Dr. Nair, let me ask you, what if any curriculum development assistance or incentives are needed, in your opinion, to help universities integrate life-cycle methodologies and other environmental elements into required design casework, or course work, so that it reaches across all engineering and technical disciplines?
Ms. NAIR. I guess we could be directing an initiative, say, as part of National Science Foundation, one of the programs in undergraduate science, engineering, math education, that is actually calling for an RFP calling for this kind of—this type of course development.
But maybe an even more desirable instrument might be to encourage in the asking for proposals that environment be a concern. Not necessarily uniformly, but environment be a concern that reflects itself throughout the curriculum. Because I think if you look at not only technical courses but in all courses one can incorporate environment, and I think it's as important that we incorporate environmental concerns into the technical curriculum as into the business curriculum, for example.
There is only one course I know of that teaches sustainable development in a business school and it's at New York University, NYÜ-S. I suddenly forget the name of the faculty, but he has developed a course on sustainable development for the business school in the MBA program.
So the government, I think through its—because a lot of it would depend heavily, the research universities especially, for course development funding as well, and a big initiative at the National Science Foundation is course development. And I think by explic