Asee peer logo

Teaching Strategic Security Using A Case Study Of Environmentally Sustainable Design

Download Paper |


2002 Annual Conference


Montreal, Canada

Publication Date

June 16, 2002

Start Date

June 16, 2002

End Date

June 19, 2002



Conference Session

Rethinking Culture and Engineering

Page Count


Page Numbers

7.1095.1 - 7.1095.7



Permanent URL

Download Count


Request a correction

Paper Authors

author page

Matthew Mehalik

Download Paper |

NOTE: The first page of text has been automatically extracted and included below in lieu of an abstract

Main Menu Session 3561

Teaching Strategic Security Using A Case Study of Environmentally Sustainable Design

Matthew M. Mehalik University of Virginia

I. Abstract

I present a case of a practitioner network that invented a secure environmentally sustainable textile product and production system. Once the practitioners created such a network, they struggled with how it would be possible to ensure that others external to the network, such as customers, were not able to dilute the very specific and documented accomplishments of their environmental analysis through their unintended introduction of less environmentally sound chemicals and processes. In this instance, the network practitioners struggled to protect an ethic of sustainable design from attempts at confusing its articulation and implementation. The practitioners also struggled with constructing a security system to ensure that undesired chemicals would not accidentally enter the manufacturing and logistical supply chain. The paper raises the question of how a sociotechnical network can be strategic in constructing what it deems as necessary security measures and why such issues should be taught to engineering students.

II. Case1

In August 1998, Albin Kälin, Managing Director of a Rohner Textil AG, a Swiss textile dye and weaving manufacturing facility, received an alarming phone call from one of his customers. This customer reported that he detected traces of permethrin, a moderately toxic pesticide, in tests he had run on samples of Climatex Lifecycle, Rohner Textil’s flagship contract interior textile product that had won numerous environmental and interior design awards since 1995. Climatex Lifecycle had been certified by the independent consulting company, Environmental Protection Encouragement Agency (EPEA), based in Hamburg, Germany to be free from all pesticides, herbicides, carcinogens, endocrine disruptors, heavy metals, and biologically persistent toxic chemicals. The EPEA founders and scientists consisted largely of staff members formerly associated with Greenpeace Germany’s Chemistry Division. They used this expertise to ensure that Rohner Textil’s products and manufacturing operations were a model to the world in how it was possible to be economically successful and environmentally responsible (stories of the development of Climatex Lifecycle, the history of Rohner Textil AG, and the EPEA have been documented elsewhere). 2,3,4

Kälin was stunned by this report. He had spent the previous five years assembling an international network 5 of experts and checking systems, such as quality and environmental management, continuous improvement, and outside review systems under the ISO 9001 and ISO Proceedings of the 2002 American Society for Engineering Education Annual Conference & Exposition Copyright ã 2002, American Society for Engineering Education

Main Menu

Mehalik, M. (2002, June), Teaching Strategic Security Using A Case Study Of Environmentally Sustainable Design Paper presented at 2002 Annual Conference, Montreal, Canada. 10.18260/1-2--10708

ASEE holds the copyright on this document. It may be read by the public free of charge. Authors may archive their work on personal websites or in institutional repositories with the following citation: © 2002 American Society for Engineering Education. Other scholars may excerpt or quote from these materials with the same citation. When excerpting or quoting from Conference Proceedings, authors should, in addition to noting the ASEE copyright, list all the original authors and their institutions and name the host city of the conference. - Last updated April 1, 2015