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Cleaner Production in small companies: Proposal of a management methodology

Nunes, José Roberto Rolim, Silva, João Eduardo Azevedo Ramos da, Moris, Virgínia Aparecida da Silva, Giannetti, Biagio Fernando
Journal of cleaner production 2019 v.218 pp. 357-366
application rate, decision making, ecosystem services, environmental impact, environmental management, leadership, monitoring, prioritization, small and medium enterprises, wastes
Global level agreements related to sustainability have changed the way organisations work. Many companies, mainly the larger ones, have assessed their environmental impacts to achieve both economic and environmental benefits by reducing waste generation and by using less energy, water, and materials. Considering this approach, many of these companies have strategically set up environmental management practices guided by Cleaner Production (CP) concepts. Despite its benefits, CP has a low application rate in small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), which is attributed to barriers such as a lack of resources, concentrated decision-making by owners and lack of leadership. Based on CP concepts and focusing on overcoming internal barriers in SMEs, this article proposes a management methodology of CP in small companies. A longitudinal action research of six cycles was carried out to develop a suitable methodology, comprising a meta phase and a five-step cyclic phase, which was a simple and viable way of conducting a CP program. It was found that promotion and monitoring actions, prioritisation of preventive opportunities and employee involvement facilitate the process of continuous improvement. This methodology may facilitate SME environmental management and contribute to developing products and processes towards sustainability objectives more efficiently.