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Considering environmental assessment in an ontological framework for enterprise sustainability

Muñoz, Edrisi, Capón-García, Elisabet, Laínez, José M., Espuña, Antonio, Puigjaner, Luis
Journal of cleaner production 2013 v.47 pp. 149-164
business enterprises, case studies, decision making, environmental assessment, environmental performance, human resources, information systems, models, sales, supply chain
Enterprises comprise several functions, such as production, marketing, sales, human resources, logistics, safety and environment, which interact with each other. As a result, decision-making becomes highly challenging in the alignment of decisions to support the success of business goals. Specifically, environmental management is closely related to several levels in the enterprise structure, since they share a large amount of data and information. Hence, effective integration of environmental issues by means of tools improving information sharing and communication, may play a crucial role for the enhanced enterprise operation from an environmental perspective. In this sense, knowledge management technologies have proved to be highly promising for supporting this integration task. In this work, an ontological framework is developed as the technology for information and knowledge models sharing for the environmental assessment of the enterprise. The ontological model is applied to a case study considering a supply chain network design-planning and a process scheduling problem. The ontology provides an enterprise decision-making supporting tool by combining different information systems, which adapts and recognizes the different elements associated with the enterprise functions, and facilitates assessing the environmental performance of enterprises.