Lean and Green
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Professor Peter Hines writes on the topical subject of how our efforts to become more lean can and should be integrated to our efforts to become more green. He argues that progress in our understanding of ‘lean and green’ has been slow. Professor Hines pays homage to the former Norwegian Prime Minister, Dr. Gro Harlem Bruntland, for conceptualising sustainable development in terms of three critical areas: economic, social and environmental. Peter translates these into lean language as: respect for profit (economic); respect for people (social) and respect for the environment (environmental).
Peter states that while lean may be regarded as understanding customer value and reviewing the value streams that serve them with minimal waste, green may be regarded as understanding societal value and reviewing the systems that deliver these with minimal environmental waste. He adds to the traditional lean wastes with a set of complementary green wastes. He identifies a set of green improvement tools to add to our existing suite of lean techniques. Finally, he argues that just as traditional mapping tools often improve an organisations’ environmental footprint, so green mapping tools will generate financial benefits.