ActClean Toolbox - A way to cleaner production

Natural resources underpin our economy and our quality of life and European Commission adopted the ”Roadmap for a resource-efficient Europe“ in 2011. Eco-innovations are a prerequisite for SMEs to be competitive within a resource constrained world.

Beside the direct pressure from inefficient use of natural resources which cause losses and pollution there is also growing role of different stakeholders. SMEs are becoming more and more influenced by their opinion and activities. Therefore relationship with stakeholders starts to play more and more important role in determining enterprise success.

Experience from the Act Clean project shows that SMEs have a significant potential for making their business more sustainable and for increasing enterprise value. SMEs are for example often not aware of their efficiency in resource utilization, most of them does not know real costs of pollution and the related (cost) reduction potential as well as means to improve resource efficiency. This is the case not only within the production processes abut also within the entire life cycle of enterprise products. SMEs have also problems to optimize necessary investments in eco-innovations in order to exploit their potential to increase resource efficiency. Frequently quoted barrier is financing of investment needing measures.

Level of success in innovations is determined at the enterprise managerial level. It is more and more important for a SME competitiveness not only to become more efficient but also to do the right things. Good communication with stakeholders within social responsibility is of growing importance.

One of the major barriers for spread of Sustainable Consumption and Production (SCP) is lack of information on potential for increasing enterprise competitiveness and value through specific tools. One of the core highlights identified within the Act Clean project was new diagnosis tool ”Initial Review for SCP“ (IR SCP).

Within IR SCP all levels of an enterprise’s management pyramid are assessed in a systematic way from the perspective of possible SCP opportunities for improvements which could enhance enterprise’s value. IR SCP is implemented at four basic levels: products, processes, systems and stakeholders, proposing the most effective SCP innovations and projects for the given company to be further evaluated within development of an innovation project, which is also part of IR SCP. The main benefit of this new methodology is the holistic approach. If comparing IR SCP with other methodologies for a complex diagnosis in the field of sustainability of industrial enterprises:

  • IR SCP provides a complex review thus not omitting any significant opportunity for improvement
  • IR SCP is based also quantitative analysis thus pointing out the most effective priorities
  • instead of comparing assessed enterprises with an ideal SCP site assuming that all SCP tools should be utilized (as other similar tools do), IR SCP focuses on opportunities for improvements and innovations within the given enterprise
  • IR SCP focuses on opportunities for improvement (SCP aspects) first; suitable instruments for improvements and innovations are assigned to these opportunities only after completion of this initial analysis (thus ensuring need driven approach).

The new integrated diagnosis enables to find the most significant problems and subsequently appropriate solutions.

> About Life Cycle Analysis (LCA)

> About Enviromental Management System (EMS)

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