Environmental Implications of the Service Sector
Source: Resources for the Future
The service sector has a major influence on the nation's environmental quality, according to a study completed in 2000 by Resources for the Future. As the U.S. continues to evolve into a post-industrial economy, businesses and regulators should explore ways to improve the environmental practices of firms in the service sector, which can influence the behavior of upstream suppliers and downstream consumers. The study includes reports on the environmental impact of the health care, food service, and tourism industries. Minimizing many of the environmental impacts of the service sector will take a different regulatory approach than that applied to manufacturing, mining, or agriculture, says RFF. Rather than seek new regulations, government officials should focus on devising incentives for service businesses to adopt eco-friendly behaviors, ranging from reducing energy use in fast-food chains to educating tourists about protecting sensitive habitats.
All three reports -- Environmental Implications of the Tourism Industry, Environmental Implications of the Health Care Service Sector, and Environmental Implications of the Foodservice and Food Retail Industries -- can be downloaded online.