Resource Database: Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences

Title Pollution Prevention in Business and Industry: a Context case study
Originator Dr Pauline E. Kneale
Department School of Geography, University of Leeds, Leeds, LS2 9JT, UK
Tel. +44 (0)113 2333340
Fax +44 (0)113 2333308

Case Author for Context: Dick Glover
Case Advisor and trialled by Pauline E. Kneale

The UK Environment Agency (EA) is responsible for monitoring, managing and policing pollution impacts on the environment. However, the EA prefer to work with industry to minimise waste production, thereby limiting the times when it is necessary to police leaks and clean up after an emission. They developed a methodology to assist any business to identify and prevent pollution (HMIP 1997). The 3E's methodology asks a business or industry to look at every part of the process and consider how changing procedures will benefit or harm the Emissions, Efficiency and Economics.

This case study was written around the experience of one of the companies, Seatons a medium-sized chemical company at Hull, who applied the 3E's methodology. The case seeks to raise students' awareness of a range of waste issues and management decisions and options by looking in detail at seven separate projects that could be implemented at the plant. Elements within each project must be evaluated against the 3E's criteria and decisions made to plan site work over the next three years. In the process groups discuss, evaluate, negotiate and then present and argue the case for their decisions.

The development of the resource materials was a collaborative venture involving academics, the case author, the Environment Agency and the company. In this instance the aim was to raise students' awareness of the Environment Agency's role in pollution management and as an employer of graduates. It also raised issues about team work and skills.

The case could be used by students in geography, management, environmental science, economics, engineering and psychology. The material is suitable for undergraduate and masters level work. It was used with three difference groups in the first two months:

In geography at Leeds, it will be used in future as part of a level 2 Urban Hydrology module. It could fit comfortably into resource management, environmental management, pollution and economic geography style modules amongst others. In its first year the case was used in 3 universities and by 9 groups ranging in size from 15 to 50, although it could be used with larger groups. It takes 3 hours to run. All details, tutors notes, OHT pro-formas and participants material are available from the web site (Glover 1998). The tutors notes include the 'answers' given by students from the first three runs together with the authors comments. Downloading is free, help yourselves.


The case was written as part of the Context project which promotes the use of case studies in Higher Education. The Context project is core-funded by the Partnership Trust and is co-ordinated at Leeds University in partnership with CRAC (Careers Research and Advisory Centre). Funding for the development of the case was provided by the Environment Agency.

If you would like to know more about the case please contact Dr Pauline Kneale, If you would like to talk about the Context project please contact Maggie Boyle, Context Project Manager,


Glover, D. (1998) Seatons, University of Leeds, Leeds, [on-line] Accessed 18 November 1998

HMIP /Business in the Environment (1997) Profiting from pollution prevention the 3E's methodology, Her Majesties Inspectorate of Pollution, London


Dick Glover is Visiting Fellow at the University of Leeds. He is the author of a number of Context materials. He works with academic staff and businesses to develop effective teaching materials for higher education.

Maggie Boyle is the Context Project Manager. She works in the Teaching and Learning Support Unit at The University of Leeds. Her role is to promote the use of case materials in higher Education, to bring together academic staff and members of business and industry.


Decision making
Environment agency
Group work
Pollution prevention

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Page created 16 December 1998
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