سیستم های مدیریت زیست محیطی و شرکت های کوچکتر
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Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Journal of Cleaner Production, Volume 12, Issue 6, August 2004, Pages 561–569
Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) make up the vast majority of businesses in Europe. These enterprises are vitally important for a healthy dynamic market economy. However, the environmental impact of small firms is not known either at national or regional levels. Voluntary self-regulatory initiatives such as the eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) and the international environmental management system (EMS) standard ISO 14001 seek to provide all businesses with the means to develop systematic approaches to improve environmental performance. All purport to be relevant and applicable to small and medium-sized firms; however, their uptake by SMEs has been patchy at best and down right miserable at worst. This paper sheds some light on the barriers, opportunities and drivers for EMS adoption by the SME sector. Drawing on original research investigating EMAS implementation across the European Union and a major detailed review of 33 studies which explore the sector’s use of EMS, this paper estimates the number of SMEs registered to EMAS and ISO 14001 and identifies a range of issues which influence the adoption of formalised EMS. Despite these problems, the paper suggests SMEs do find real benefits from adopting EMS.
Small firms make up the vast majority of businesses in Europe and the UK. In 1996, around 90% of European businesses were classified as small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)1 and in 1998 there were 3.7 million businesses in the UK, of which 99% were small businesses employing less than 50 people and only 25 000 were medium sized employing between 50 and 249 people . The environmental impact of small firms is not known either at national or regional levels. It is often and widely quoted that, as a sector, SMEs2 could contribute up to 70% of all industrial pollution . The heterogeneous nature of the small and medium-sized firms sector makes it difficult to generalise about the environmental impacts and strategies of the sector. The environmental issues facing a sole trader or partnership will have little similarity to those of a firm employing 249 people; and yet they are lumped together in the SME sector. The lack of knowledge about the impacts of the sector and the recognition of its importance in helping to ensure a healthy economy has stimulated a growing interest in the sector. In the EU engaging SMEs in environmental improvements is viewed as a vital part of the drive towards sustainable development . As part of a broader strategy to provide businesses with tools to more effectively manage their environmental impacts and contribute to sustainable development, the EU developed the eco-management and audit scheme (EMAS) regulation  on the back of the British environmental management system (EMS) standard BS 7750 . BS 7750 generated interest in EMS in the international standards world, this standard has been superseded by the international EMS standard ISO 14001 . The voluntary Regulation and the EMS standards sought to provide all businesses with the means to develop systematic approaches to environmental performance. These initiatives complemented normative regulation. All purport to be relevant and applicable to small and medium-sized firms. This paper presents the findings of two studies, which sought to investigate EMAS and the EMS standards in the SME sector. The first study was a pan-EU assessment of the implementation of EMAS undertaken for the Commission of the European Communities (CEC) . The purpose of the study was to investigate the current implementation practices of EMAS in the different member states. It provided data on EMAS registered sites, their use of EMS standards, EMAS implementation periods, the support needed to participate in the scheme and the benefits of participation. The second study was a review study that evaluated 33 different studies that investigated the practical implementation experience of SMEs with EMSs and the attitudes of smaller firms to the environment . The aim of the evaluation was to identify the barriers, opportunities and drivers for smaller firms in the adoption of EMS.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
Extensive benefits accrue to SMEs adopting formal EMSs and this is widely reported in the analysed studies. These benefits may also arise in small firms that implement non-formal EMSs. Disbenefits also exist, although there are less of them and fewer studies give them coverage. Some studies are uncritical of the practical experience of SMEs with EMSs and do not address disbenefits and this may be why they are underrepresented, though there may genuinely not be that many. Internal and external benefits, however, are real, valuable and demonstrated in the studies and appear possible to duplicate in other SMEs, but the large majority of SMEs still remain unconvinced of the need to tackle environmental issues given the findings of Mori  and Gallup surveys  and the low uptake of formal EMSs which is less than 1% of the total UK enterprise population. Small and medium-sized firms face internal and external barriers when seeking to address their environmental issues and adopt and implement EMSs, but it is the internal barriers that initially have the more significant role in impeding progress. Negative company culture towards the environment and the disassociation between positive environmental attitudes of personnel and taking action cause the uptake of environmental performance improvements and EMS adoption to stumble at the first hurdle. On top of this general culture of inaction on the environment, SMEs are also very sceptical of the benefits to be gained from making environmental improvements. In many cases, especially for the smaller organisations, low awareness and the absence of pressure from customers (the most important driver for environmental improvements and EMS adoption) and insufficient other drivers mean that few efforts are made to address environmental issues. SMEs also face the problem of locating, and having the time to locate, good quality advice and information. Once a smaller company has embarked on EMS implementation, the process is often interrupted and resources are frequently diverted to core business activities. It is the lack of human resources, not financial ones, which SMEs find most difficult to secure and maintain for EMS implementation, this is particularly the case for micro firms. The more multifunctional the staff, as is common in micro and small companies, the more likely the process of implementation will be interrupted. Some studies indicate that SMEs, once on the route to certified EMSs, face inconsistency and high charges in the certification system and poor quality advice from consultants. Customers are the key driver for the adoption of EMSs and have influence far beyond any of the other stakeholders cited in the analysed studies. Paradoxically, customers also show lack of interest in, or are satisfied with SMEs current environmental performance. Micro enterprises, in particular, found their customers to be uninterested in their environmental performance. This may be because the customers, like the micro firms, consider micro firms’ environmental impacts to be negligible. Legislation and the regulators are more important drivers for general environmental improvements in SMEs than customers. The SME sector3 is not a homogenous sector. It is diverse and heterogeneous. Studies which seek to investigate the sector and draw conclusions about it, are to some extent, comparing not just apples and pears, but the whole fruit bowl. This paper’s conclusions have this limitation. It is recommended that future research consider parts of the sector either as sub-groups by size, i.e. micro, small and medium, or by industrial sector.