Civil and Environmental Engineering


Date of this Version

Summer 8-2013


Kekilova, A. A. (2013). “Business motivations for implementing sustainability focused projects: P3 Program – lessons learned.” M.S. thesis, University of Nebraska-Lincoln, Lincoln, NE.


A THESIS Presented to the Faculty of The Graduate College at the University of Nebraska In Partial Fulfillment of Requirements For the Degree of Master of Science, Major: Environmental Engineering, Under the Supervision of Professor Bruce I. Dvorak. Lincoln, Nebraska: August, 2013

Copyright (c) 2013 Ayna Kekilova


The Partners in Pollution Prevention (P3) Program is an outreach assistance program, in which student interns provide clients with a business assessment reports and suggestions for waste minimization and resource conservation.

The goal of this study is to examine the motivations of business managers toward the implementation of P2 suggestions. This can influence education of the students and providers of the pollution prevention technical assistance. Methods used in this study included analysis of the reassessments and survey results. A group of 60 clients representing various sectors and reassessed in 2005-2011 was contacted, 43% returned the survey.

It was found that:

  • A statistically significant relationship between a client’s decision-makers for P2/Sustainability project and financial expectations was observed. When “other” than top and environmental managers were included in the decision making process, 80% of the respondents considered additional factors for P2/sustainability projects.
  • Overall clients are focused and engaged in tangible and measurable benefits (e.g., cost saving, waste and toxins reduction, energy efficiency). GHG reductions currently are not highly valued even though they are realized from energy efficiency and waste reduction projects.
  • The financial and risk-based factors are the most important for clients. Respondents from the manufacturing sector were more likely to give both risk-based and financial justifications, whereas the public institutions and “other” businesses were more likely to use social factors to justify P2/sustainability implementation.
  • Preventative maintenance recommendations had the highest implementation rate (61%) and a high reoccurrence of benefits (77%); representing “low-hanging fruit” that often can be identified by student interns at the assessment of business operations. Preventative maintenance suggestions often can be easily implemented with limited cost; has safety, regulatory compliance and cost benefits.

Off-site recycling suggestions had a relatively low reoccurrence rate (45%). This may be because most of the large quantity and common waste streams are already being recycled, thus recommendations are for smaller volume and harder to recycle materials. Only public institutions implemented off-site recycling longer than one year.

Adviser: Bruce I. Dvorak