Towards Environmentally Sustainable Manufacturing: A Strategic Framework for Small and Medium sized Enterprises

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dc.contributor.advisor Hämmerle, E en
dc.contributor.advisor Tedford, D en Seidel, Manuel en 2012-01-11T19:58:09Z en 2011 en
dc.identifier.uri en
dc.description.abstract Since the onset of the industrial revolution, manufacturing companies have contributed significantly to the degradation of the natural environment. Over the last two decades, businesses have been increasingly required to consider the impact of their activities on the environment. This trend comes as a response to the mounting market and legislative pressure experienced by manufacturing companies in the developed world. Small and Medium sized Enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in the economies of most developed countries. The combined environmental impact of SMEs is thought to be very significant. This has been estimated to be as high as 70% of total global pollution. However, manufacturing SMEs face significant barriers in adapting to the growing requirements for improved environmental performance. In comparison to large companies SMEs have limited resources for voluntary improvement initiatives and lack specialist sustainability expertise. Existing environmental improvement methods are not suited to the characteristics and requirements of SMEs. Given the particular challenges faced by manufacturing SMEs, these companies have generally taken a defensive approach to environmental improvement. In order to make significant progress towards global sustainable development, SMEs need to improve their capabilities and achieve 'managed' and 'integrated' business sustainability maturity levels. The aim of this PhD was to develop framework elements for manufacturing SMEs to progressively implement and integrate environmental sustainability strategy into their business. The research design involved three phases and used a triangulated action research approach. The Baseline Research Phase had the aim of developing a framework to progress manufacturing SMEs to a proactive maturity level. A systems model of the relationship between SME characteristics and the barriers to the uptake of voluntary environmental improvement initiatives was developed. A conceptual Baseline framework was conceived to overcome the uptake barriers. The Baseline framework used a combination of existing strategic business tools (such as SWOT and stakeholder analysis) and approaches developed in this research (e.g. environmental improvement project prioritisation) to address the specific barriers of SMEs. The framework was tested in an action research study of a New Zealand furniture manufacturing SME. As a result of the framework implementation, the Towards Environmentally Sustainable Manufacturing: A Strategic Framework for Small and Medium sized Enterprises owner/managers of the company exhibited increased support for environmental improvement. The Strategising Research Phase had the aim of developing a strategic framework to progress manufacturing SMEs from a 'proactive' to a 'managed' environmental sustainability maturity level. Implementation of an Environmental Management System (EMS) is known to facilitate a managed approach to continual improvement of environmental performance. However, a literature review and survey of ISO 14001 certified manufacturing companies identified the particular barriers that SMEs experience in the implementation of an EMS in comparison with large companies. An EMS strategy framework was developed and subsequently tested in an action research study to address the barriers. A generic ecoWheel for the wood panel furniture industry was conceived based on the implementation of the framework in a second case study. The EMS strategy framework successfully mitigated the key EMS implementation barriers. The Integrating Research Phase involved the development and testing of an information technology infrastructure, ecoPortal, to facilitate the integration of the EMS strategy into the culture and day-to-day activities of manufacturing SMEs. Requirements for the ecoPortal system were based on a review of the literature and the implementation of an eco-design programme in an action research study. The ecoPortal was tested in a case study of a product stewardship project at a textile manufacturing SME. The ecoPortal provides a communication, knowledge management and collaboration platform for manufacturing SMEs to implement their EMS strategy. Future research should focus on the wider implementation of the framework elements and ecoPortal infrastructure in manufacturing SMEs. In addition to this, the framework could be expanded to integrate health & safety and quality management systems. en
dc.publisher ResearchSpace@Auckland en
dc.relation.ispartof PhD Thesis - University of Auckland en
dc.rights Items in ResearchSpace are protected by copyright, with all rights reserved, unless otherwise indicated. en
dc.rights.uri en
dc.title Towards Environmentally Sustainable Manufacturing: A Strategic Framework for Small and Medium sized Enterprises en
dc.type Thesis en The University of Auckland en Doctoral en PhD en
dc.rights.holder Copyright: The author en
dc.rights.accessrights en
pubs.elements-id 270109 en
pubs.record-created-at-source-date 2012-01-12 en
dc.identifier.wikidata Q112887808

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