Tighter Feedback Loops

The responsiveness of a system to changing conditions is determined by feedback loops, which translate incoming data and influence the system's response. If a signal, or the system's response to it, is delayed, damage can occur in the interim. In regards to the environment, technology sometimes exacerbates these delays by producing substitutes for non-renewable resources, thereby giving the impression that scarcity is not an issue. But ultimately, substitutability does not replace sustainability [13,44]. Spath [29] notes that local action tightens the feedback loops considerably, lending some credibility to the trend toward decentralized prevention and regulation of pollution, such as that found in EMSs.

14.3.3 Research Data

While there is considerable interest in the EMS approach, both in the U.S. and abroad, formal research is still in its infancy, particularly within the broader context of contemporary organizational development theory.

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