A Systems Modeling Approach to Support Environmentally Sustainable Business Development in Manufacturing SMEs
Small and Medium Sized Enterprises (SMEs) play an important role in many economies. In New Zealand, for example, 97% of all manufacturing companies employ less than 100 staff, and generate the predominant part of this industry sector-s economic output. Manufacturing SMEs as a group also have a significant impact on the environment. This situation is similar in many developed economies, including the European Union. Sustainable economic development therefore needs to strongly consider the role of manufacturing SMEs, who generally find it challenging to move towards more environmentally friendly business practices. This paper presents a systems thinking approach to modelling and understanding the factors which have an influence on the successful uptake of environmental practices in small and medium sized manufacturing companies. It presents a number of causal loop diagrams which have been developed based on primary action research, and a thorough understanding of the literature in this area. The systems thinking model provides the basis for further development of a strategic framework for the successful uptake of environmental innovation in manufacturing SMEs.
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