Environmental appraisal of green production systems: Challenges faced by small companies using life cycle assessment

Heidrich, Oliver and Tiwary, Abhishek (2013) Environmental appraisal of green production systems: Challenges faced by small companies using life cycle assessment. International Journal of Production Research, 51 (19). pp. 5884-5896. ISSN 0020-7543

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Official URL: http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/00207543.2013.807372


This paper presents a snapshot of key challenges encountered by small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) devoted to green production systems acting on the call to substantiate their environmental claims. It highlights the overriding barriers of SMEs to meeting the standards for conducting credible product life cycle assessment (LCA), in terms of accessibility to customised data and epistemological limitations. This is illustrated using a real-world example describing the material and process flows for a recycling company. We demonstrate that the rigour towards compiling large (and in some cases nested) data sets, involving expert know-how and adequate representation of system boundary can pose operational barriers. This is underpinned by complications of conducting green production and process-based LCA, deemed essential in ascertaining product and process sustainability. Finally, the paper discusses issues highlighted by the case study and provides useful directions for production researchers, SMEs and consultants.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: green production, life cycle analysis, SME, material flow, resource management, sustainable manufacturing
Subjects: F800 Physical and Terrestrial Geographical and Environmental Sciences
N100 Business studies
Department: Faculties > Engineering and Environment > Mechanical and Construction Engineering
Depositing User: Becky Skoyles
Date Deposited: 29 Nov 2016 10:43
Last Modified: 29 Nov 2016 10:43
URI: http://nrl.northumbria.ac.uk/id/eprint/28655

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