Evaluating environmental performance using statistical process control techniques

Charles J. Corbett, Jeh-Nan Pan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

78 Citations (Scopus)


This paper builds on recent work on measuring and evaluating environmental performance of a process using statistical process control (SPC) techniques. We propose the CUSUM chart as a tool to monitor emissions data so that abnormal changes can be detected in a timely manner, and we propose using process capability indices to evaluate environmental performance in terms of the risk of non-compliance situations arising. In doing so, the paper fills an important gap in the ISO 14000 and TQEM literatures, which have focused more on environmental management systems and qualitative aspects rather than on quantitative tools. We explore how process capability indices have the potential to be useful as a risk management tool for practitioners and to help regulators execute and prioritize their enforcement efforts. Together, this should help in setting up useful guidelines for evaluating actual environmental performance against the firm's environmental objectives and targets and regulatory requirements, as well as encouraging further development and application of SPC techniques to the field of environmental quality management and data analysis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)68-83
Number of pages16
JournalEuropean Journal of Operational Research
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2002 May 16

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Modelling and Simulation
  • Management Science and Operations Research
  • Information Systems and Management


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