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Why is the first case to reducing and the second one to reduce? Is it correct?

During this time, she studied an environmental management system with an innovative approach to reducing pollution in an industrial company. This strategy was successful and allowed the company to reduce considerably the level of heavy metals in the wastewater produced.

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    Does this answer your question? "approach to address" or "approach to addressing"? It would be valid to use to reduce instead of to reducing in the first case of your example, but the second one has to be kept the way it is. Nov 2 '20 at 15:49
  • @FumbleFingersReinstateMonica I was thinking like this: During this time, she studied an environmental management system with an innovative approach for reducing pollution in an industrial company. This strategy was successful and allowed the company to reduce considerably the level of heavy metals in the wastewater produced. Is it correct? Nov 2 '20 at 15:54
  • Idiomatically it's more common to say an innovative approach to reducing pollution, but for is at least "acceptable". That's a separate issue from the choice between "preposition + gerund" (an approach to reducing pollution) and the infinitive verb version (she studied... [in order] to reduce pollution). Nov 2 '20 at 16:03
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To serves two functions - relation-expressor (like prepositons normally do) and infinitive marker (really more like articles).

an innovative approach to reducing pollution ...

To is used to express a relation between the noun "approach" and "reducing pollution..." - that relation is "directing efforts toward X, X being a goal or desired result".

Objects of prepositions like other objects have to be a noun role - gerunds do that.

allowed the company to reduce

To here is just an infinitive marker. To reduce more or less "hangs" off of the verb "allowed" as something like an indirect object (to reduce answers "what?" for the verb "allowed"), though I'm sure it's precise grammatical function is something much more complicated and involves the word "complement".

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with an innovative approach to reducing

In this case the preposition "to" belongs to the noun "approach"

"reducing" is a gerund and acts like a noun.

Example with a noun

When filming lions, the photographer times his approach to the cubs with great care.


allowed the company to reduce

In this case "to" is part of the verb "reduce" and makes it infinitive.

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