Skip to main content

Industry & Market Research: Environmental Scan

Definition Of Environmental Scan

Environmental Scan, an examination of the external and internal environments:

  • External environment: political/legal/regulatory, economic, social/demographic, technology (P.E.S.T. Analysis).
  • Industry environment: new entrants, suppliers, buyers, product substitutes, intensity of rivalry, position of the firm in the industry (Porter's Five Forces Analysis). 
  • Firm-level: strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, threats (SWOT Analysis). 

There isn't an article or report called "environmental scan." This is something that you must write yourself by synthesizing information from multiple sources.

Consider broader forces: overall economy, social media, mobile technology, consumer health, globalization, population change (e.g., immigration, aging), etc..

Also consider industry-specific forces: e.g., for the automobile industry, factors like economy and disposable income, gas price, new technologies, environmental concerns, changes in consumer preferences, industry/government incentives, global/foreign competitions, etc..

Recommended sources: most databases featuring company profiles or industry profiles (e.g., IBISWorld, Business Source Premier, Business Insights, Passport) will have some information on environmental factors and their impact on the company or industry. In addition, follow current events in the news and search for current articles related to the company or industry.

Current Issues

Corporate Social Responsibility

Sustainability report or corporate social responsibility report, if issued, can be found on the company website. Other resources include:


Current Awareness

Search for the name of the company in the article headline. Limit your search to the last twelve months (or shorter if you get too many results).


CRS Reports

The Congressional Research Service (CRS) produces analytical reports on topics of interest to Congress, but does not maintain a public website with these reports.  

For more information, see the Dudley Knox Library of the Naval Postgraduate School's guide on Congressional Research Service (CRS) Reports

Corporate Accountability Watch