Small New York State Firms Can Boost State's Economy While Solving Environmental Problems Western New York Leads State In 'process-Enhancement' Firms New Music Festival A Multicultural Air

Release Date: December 13, 1994 This content is archived.


BUFFALO, N.Y. -- A report issued today by graduate students in an urban-planning class in the University at Buffalo School of Architecture and Planning urges New York State to place more emphasis on developing its profitable environmental-business sector as a way to boost economic development, while promoting environmental protection.

According to the report, one part of the environmental-business sector, the production-process-enhancement industry, is especially well-positioned to help the state achieve these goals.

• Adopting a more market-based approach to environmental legislation to unite economic and environmental interests.

• Expanding export capabilities for this sector.

• Developing a business-assistance program to help companies select pollution-prevention technologies that best suit their businesses and improve their competitiveness.

• Establishing a Pollution Prevention and Production-Process Enhancement Institute to conduct research and act as an extension service to businesses.

The students outlined their findings on "Production-Process Enhancement: A New Strategy for Economic Development and Environmental Protection in New York State" in a presentation today in Baird Research Park in Amherst.

The project, conducted for UB's New York State Center for Hazardous Waste Management, was done for a class taught by former state senator John Sheffer, now UB senior fellow in policy studies, and Ernest Sternberg, Ph.D., associate professor of urban planning at UB.

According to the report, New York State, and in particular, Western New York, are home to a comparatively large number of small, high-tech businesses engaged in environmental protection.

The report notes that there are two types of firms involved in environmental protection: those in the environmental-business sector that develop technologies and products designed to reduce or remediate waste and those in the manufacturing-processes sector that develop equipment and systems for manufacturing processes.

The report also identifies a subset of these two, the production-process-enhancement industry, which focuses on manufacturing systems designed to reduce or eliminate waste.

• 76 firms in the environmental-business sector, with approximately 10,000 employees, accounting for 6.1 percent of all such U.S. firms and 10.2 percent of all employment in this sector in this country.

• 314 firms in the manufacturing-processes sector, with 41,250 employees, accounting for 10.9 percent of all such U.S. firms and 17.2 percent of all U.S. employment in this sector.

The report states that the greatest potential for growth in the environmental- and manufacturing-process sectors in New York State is in the production-process-enhancement industry.

"The findings show that there is an exceptional opportunity for New York State to achieve both economic development and environmental conservation," said Sternberg.

While environmental-business firms are expected to experience healthy, annual growth rates of 5.5 percent through the year 2000, the production-process-enhancement sector is expected to grow even faster, at an annual rate of 7 percent.

"Instead of using end-of-pipe methods to reduce pollution, these firms are involved in processes that have the best chance of eliminating or drastically reducing pollution at its source," explained David Holness, a UB graduate student and one of the study's authors.

The data also show that Erie County leads the state in terms of the percentage of production-process-enhancement businesses, with 17 percent of those in New York located in the county. Suffolk County follows with 11 percent. Nassau County is third with 10 percent.

"The growth of this sector demonstrates that the kinds of technologies that create more efficient companies also create less pollution," said Sternberg.

The students conducted the study for UB's New York State Center for Hazardous Waste Management, which works with companies, agencies and educational institutions to develop solutions to environmental problems.

The presentation is being hosted by the Western New York Technology Development Center.

Media Contact Information

Ellen Goldbaum
News Content Manager
Tel: 716-645-4605