Espacios. Vol. 35 (Nº 4) Año 2014. Pág. 8
Cleaner Production and Environmental Sustainability: Multiple Case From Serra Gaúcha – Brazil
Produção Mais Limpa e Sustentabilidade Ambiental: Multiple Caso Da Serra Gaúcha - Brasil
Recibido: 22/01/14 • Aprobado: 30/01/14
Environmental problems are partly attributed to the complexity of industrial processes. Every product, which material it is made from, has a cost of impact on the environment, either in terms of its production process, from its raw materials consumption, or because of its use or final disposition.
For Chehebe (1997), the industrial management activity has lately been coping with alternate scenarios of rational management, where the environmental variable has become a key element, because it does not restrain its development and own sustainability. In this context, companies are integrating into their strategic plans Cleaner Production (CP) tools, making possible the generation of environmental and economic benefits.
Unlike conventional environmental technologies that focus on “pipe end” strategies, CP aims to integrate environmental objectives with the industrial production process, in order to reduce waste and emissions in terms of quantity and danger. Considering specific environments, CP provides a reduction in environmental impacts, waste reduction, toxic gases and wastewater, optimizing the use of water and energy, as well as a higher health and safety to employees and the public in general.
Another benefit considered by the CP process is the possibility for innovation in processes, products/services, marketing and management organization (Oslo Manual, 2005), which can be linked to the profile of the entrepreneur and the company's “intrapreneurs” (Dorion et al., 2010), optimizing intellectual capital within the organization. In this sense, new concepts have emerged as a way to identify actions and ways to circumvent the rapid changes in the internal and external environments of the organizations (Mintzberg, 1994).
The Serra Gaúcha region is situated in the meridional State of Rio Grande do Sul, in Brazil, and is known for its high rate of entrepreneurship, where in the city of Caxias do Sul the rate of business venture is of one business every 14 people (GEM, 2012), making it one of the most entrepreneurial city in the world. The city of Caxias do Sul has more or less 435,000 inhabitants with a rate of illiteracy of 2.36% and an annual per capita income of U.S.$ 15,000.00. Two companies, Gecele Metalurgic Ltd and Soprano Eletrometalurgic and Hydraulic Ltd, are located in the city of Caxias do Sul. They have operated for more than 50 years each and they are part of the leadership of their industry.
In this context, the objective of this research is to examine the results obtained by the implementation of the CP process in these two companies. In addition to this introductory section, the paper is organized as follows: the theoretical framework, addressing the issues related to CP, environmental sustainability, the methodology, the results and discussion, and the concluding remarks.
2.1 Cleaner production
Cleaner production (CP) is a program of a United Nation Industrial Development Organization Unido/Unep which emerged in 1991 through an intermediate approach between the Greenpeace Clean Production and the waste minimization programme of the Environmental Protection Agency – EPA. CP has its origins in the related proposals stipulated by the Stockholm Conference in 1972, as a concept of clean technology; a concept of technology that would achieve three distinct but complementary purposes: to throw fewer pollution into the environment, to generate less waste and to consume fewer natural resources, especially non-renewable.
In fact, CP integrates technological, economic and environmental processes, products and services, in order to increase efficiency in the use of its inputs and raw materials and, by reducing waste, eliminating its generation, or minimizing and recycling waste, to provide economic and environmental benefits (Glavic, Lukman, 2007; Taylor, 2006; Kjaerheim, 2005). The CP process aims to increase the efficient use of raw materials, natural resources like water and energy, while being economically efficient and reducing the risk of pollution to the environment (Geiser, 2001; Hamed and El Mahgary, 2004; Shin et al., 2008).
The Brazilian National Center for Clean Technology (CNTL, 2011) promotes sustainable development for Brazilian companies, spreads the philosophy of eco-efficiency and the systematic use of CP, and enhances competitiveness, innovation, social responsibility and environmental issues for Brazilian organizations. In this scenario, the CP process is considered an essential tool to be used by companies which are looking at efficient strategies for the management of environmental resources. This tool enables a company to work in a social and environmental sustainable “milieu”, by providing improvements and both economic and technological influences. In this context, the practices of CP bring a precautionary approach to environmental management in an organization.
For Baas (1995), these are actions that allow a company to qualify itself as an efficient user of raw materials in a production process. In addition, CP requires the application of specific knowledge, investment in technology and changes in attitude of the managers and operators.
The methodology developed and supported by Unido (Luken, Navralti, 2007) offers to the productive sectors viable alternatives for the identification of CP techniques that when implemented in productive processes generate minimum quantities of solid waste, liquid effluents and air emissions, and produce energy and water efficiency. The implementation of a CP program in a production process follows a sequence that includes five steps (Unep, 2007; Luken, Navralti, 2007):
1st step: the planning and the organization – to convince the senior management and educating the employees, to obtain the involvement and the commitment of the senior management; to inform the management and the employees of the objectives of the evaluation of CP; to form a project group, to generate financial resources and to train the necessary human resources required for the implementation of CP, to identify and establish contact with the sources of information, establish the goals of CP and the upcoming barriers;
2nd step: the screening and diagnosis – to select the focus for the assessment phase, to develop a flow chart of the production process, to establish the focus for the assessment phase, supplying data to compare "before and after", to identify the options for improving a low or no cost strategy;
3rd step: the evaluation of the CP process – to develop a wide range of options for cleaner production, to identify the options that can be implemented immediately and those that require further detailed analysis, to run the balances of mass and energy, to carefully evaluate the sources and causes of generation of waste and emissions, to develop a comprehensive set of options for improvement, listed in priority order;
4th step: the economic, environmental and technical feasibility study – to subsidize the economic data and to analyse the viability of CP opportunities, to select feasible improvement opportunities and to document the calculations memories and the expected results for each opportunity.
5th step: the implementation and the continuity plan – to implement options for CP processes selected and approved by economic, environmental and technical feasibility and to ensure its continuity, to implement viable options for CP, monitoring and evaluating the implemented opportunities, to plan activities to ensure the continuous improvement with the support of CP.
The concept of CP considers the environmental variable at all levels of the organisation, characterized by actions that are implemented within a company, especially those related to the production process, in order to make it more efficient in its use of inputs, creating more products, less waste, and also contributing to the preservation of the environment (Stone, 2006; Shi, Peng, Zhong, 2008). It is noteworthy to mention that the CP methodology offers viable alternatives to the organisations, through its deployment in their production processes, which allows the minimization of solid waste, liquid effluents generation and air emissions, energy use efficiency and rationalization of water consumption, bringing environmental benefits and economical for companies by reducing the environmental impacts and increased process efficiency.
2.2 Environmental sustainability
Humanity faces a world of “far-reaching” and “anthropogenic-induced” environmental problems, in an order of unprecedented magnitude in human history; the state of the environment has significant implications for the wellbeing of humans and other species on earth, which is currently seriously threatened (Waas, Verbruggen, Wright, 2010).
The concept of sustainability related to the use of available resources, whether natural or from human capital has a historical process of construction, which resulted in indicators used by various nations. The indicators of sustainable development in Brazil are part of a set of international efforts which implement the ideas and principles embodied in the UN Conference on Environment and Development held in Rio de Janeiro (Brazil) in 1992, with regard to the relationship between environmental development, and the information it generates for decision making support. The information on the Brazilian reality is divided in environmental, social, economic and institutional themes. Within these dimensions are postulated 60 indicators, originating from studies and surveys of Brazilian Institute of Geography and Statistics and other institutions.
A huge number of concepts already exist, pictorially describing the interrelation between social, environmental and economic sustainability (Mauerhofer, 2008). According to Dyllick and Hockerts (2002), the dynamic equilibrium of sustainability occurs through three dimensions: i) economic sustainability: which ensures that at any time a company’s cash flow is sufficient to ensure its liquidity, ii) social sustainability: where value is added in the communities where the organisation operates, enhancing the human capital of individual partners. It is understood that companies must manage human capital in a way that lets the stakeholders understand the motivation of the company, and in general, agree with the value system of the company, and iii) environmental sustainability: where only natural resources that should be consumed at a rate below its natural reproduction are used, or in another rate less than the development of substitutes. These resources do not cause emissions that are accumulated in the environment at a rate beyond the capacity of natural systems to absorb it. Finally, a company cannot engage in activities that degrade the ecosystem in any manner, whenever and has to be accountable for such.
In that sense, if humanity wishes to reverse the situations that were built over the years by the modern civilization, it is necessary to generate sustainable environmental reflexions, involving all sectors of society such as economics, politics, education, health and others (York et al., 2003). In that sense, the intention is to procure a better quality of life and a balanced ecosystem for all human beings, thus meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations. However, for this to be possible and feasible, it is necessary that all societies to be educated to establish consumption control measures, involving both the consumers and companies. There is an urgent need to develop environmentally friendly products, with the re-use of materials that do not harm the environment (Dorion et al., 2009; Beck, 1992).
Actually, it is perceived that in Brazil, most companies have shown a neo-Schumpeterian behaviour to seek recognition in a society. The adoption of social and environmental standards and, the eagerness of leading companies to disclose their procedures (balance report) mostly occur in moments in which these organisations are valued within the market. In recent years, environmental issues have been the focus of discussions in the political, academic and consumer spheres, thereby increasing the significance of economic activities that are related (Bowen, 2000; Niemeijer, 2004).
One of the main challenges facing the world in this millennium will be to ensure that companies protect and improve the quality of the environment, with the aid of performance-based standards and the judicious use of economic instruments in a harmonious regulatory framework; since organizations that integrated strategic decisions and included the environmental issues will gain significant competitive advantages in the market.
However, in order to have awareness toward environmental sustainability, it is necessary for organizations to acquire natural resources responsibly and consider for any product development the use of renewable sources of energy and materials.
This research is characterized as a multiple case study, of exploratory nature, which aims to fill some gaps on the knowledge related to the concept of Cleaner Production (CP), with the aim to contribute to the consolidation of this important and complex subject; most importantly to contribute scientifically to the implementation of a robust theory concept into industrial productive processes. The objective of the study is to review the results achieved by the implementation of CP in the production process in two major companies of the Serra Gaúcha region.
According to Yin (2009), the adopted methodology constitutes an empirical investigation and aims to investigate a contemporary phenomenon within a specific context, especially when the boundaries between the phenomenon and the context are clearly defined, such as in this case. In this matter, two researchers were involved with the implementation of CP during a period of one year. It was possible to monitor the entire process of implementation of CP, enabling the development of analytical and conceptual components as well as the inference method in the preparation and the implementation of the improvement of the actions.
Data collection and information came through document analysis, direct observation and interviews. The respondents constitute an integral part of the staff of the company, directly involved with the process under study (production operation, engineering, manufacturing management and upper management), the interviews were realized during the month of April 2011. All interviews were recorded by means of audio, as well as field notes were taken. The average time of each interview was of about 53 minutes.
For the analysis and the interpretation of the data collected, it was used a content analysis method, which according to Weber (1990), in the process of content analysis, were used the a priori grounded categories from the theoretical framework and the objectives of this research delineated the following themes: i) cleaner production, ii) processes and products improvement, iii) deployment steps, iv) economic benefits, v) environmental benefits, and vi) learning.
In order to validate the data collected, a triangulation process was held between the interviews and the documents provided by the companies and, to maintain the reliability, two researchers validated the transcriptions of the interviews based on the recommendations of qualitative research methodology (Weber, 1990).
3.1 Cases study
Were conducted two case studies; one about Gecele Metallurgical Ltd., a leading plastic company and another about Soprano Electrical and Plumbing Ltd, a leading metal company; both located in the city of Caxias do Sul. The Gecele Metallurgical Company Ltd. operates mainly in the field of accessories for the furniture industry. It was founded in 1955, initially providing treatment surface finish services for metal parts. Currently, the company's product line consists of several components used in the furniture industry, and the furniture knobs that constitute its main products. The company is also present in the construction industry and concentrates in the manufacture of locks for cabinets, doors and numbering for buildings. Besides these products, the company provides services in the segments of metallization of home furnishings, lighting, house wares and footwear. Gecele Metallurgical Ltd. operates with 164 employees, which are divided into three work shifts.
It is worth noting that the company is serving the national market and also Latin America. To keep up to date, the organisation has participated in major trade fairs related to furniture accessories for almost 10 years, more specifically in nine editions of the International Fair of Machinery and Raw Materials of Latin America. To attend its customers, the company's principle is to offer quality at affordable prices for an evolutive market demand. Another feature is the responsibility for sustainability, as evidenced in the implementation of the principles of CP, and the treatment of their waste in the production process.
The other case study was conducted at the Soprano Electrical and Plumbing Company Ltd, which acts in the Brazilian market since 1954, serving the domestic and North American market. Currently, the company has its headquarters in the Metal-mechanic Pole of the Serra Gaúcha, located in the city of Caxias do Sul and has Business Divisions in five cities of Brazil. The company operates in several market areas, striving for innovation and quality of its products. The company has a high level of technology to produce diverse lines of items, divided into five business divisions: i) hydraulic, ii) films, resins and metals, iii) electrical materials, iv) construction, v) utilities. The business division Soprano Electrical and Plumbing Ltd currently employs 208 persons manufactures products such as telescopic hydraulic cylinders, hydraulic pumps for line (agricultural, light and heavy vehicles).
4.1 Implementation of the Gecele production system related to cleaner production
The Gecele production system includes Five dimensions: a) design system, b) processes, c) efficiency, d) Total Productive Maintenance (TPM), and) Six Sigma. These dimensions are split into modules, which correspond to different methodologies and complementary systematic process improvements, products and manufacturing management. This study addresses two cases to production processes, specifically about the CP module.
The company implemented the CP process, observing the following steps: i) planning and organization: where the involvement of the middle management and the senior officers occurs, through the establishment of the goals and the definition of the project team. With the analysis of the problems, the project team and the management team should have understood the challenge presented and identified in the processes that would be prioritized for wastes reduction; ii) pre-assessment and diagnosis: where the project team mapped all the processes, including the design of the flowchart, and performing with the environmental assessment process, which allows to identify the focus of the actions of the CP process; iii) evaluation of CP: where it results in the elaboration of the material balance and the establishment of the performance indicators, as well as the identification of the causes of waste generation and possible solutions. With the qualitative and quantitative information, it was developed a new CP process, as described in the cases presented below; iv) technical, economic and environmental feasibility studies: where the project team conducted the feasibility study for the new process, considering the customer requirements (technical specifications) and the possible environmental impacts. Were also evaluated their economic viability, ensuring that the CP process promotes an economic and environmental sustainability of the organization; v) contingency plan options implementation: the company used the premises of the Project Management Institute (PMI, 2012) methodology for the development and the management of CP projects, as well as the improvement of actions. From the Gecele production system, were used performance and monitoring indicators for a constant evaluation of the process by the management team; adopting measures of adjustment and improvement.
4.1.1Change in the production process of the polystyrene handle
With the implementation of new production processes and a change in production method, the company promoted the reduction of polystyrene waste and other contaminants, such as the paint tape, contributing significantly to the reduction in production costs. The case described below shows a reduction at the source by modifying the process.
The old process for the production of the handle is called extrusion, which starts feeding the extrusion machine, with the industrial polystyrene. Then the machine removes the moisture from the material, so that the material passes through the calibration tool, occurring extrusion into a desired shape (rod extruded). The rod is cooled to receive a surface coating treatment, called hot stamping paint, which is applied above, below and on the sides of the rod, with the adequate tools to paint across the outer surface of the piece. At the end of this stage of the process, the rods are cut to 835mm.
After cutting, the 835mm rods are mounted on fixtures to receive another treatment of painting, including the varnishing. After the drying process, the stems get cut in a size suitable for the type of handle. The cut stem is mounted on bases injected (similar to the ones described in the New Process).
It is observed that the old process generates a residue of 2.09%, increasing the production costs and the potential for pollution from industrial activity. It also consumes more energy, material and human resources, which are considered as waste. Based on the concept of reducing waste of resources and reduction of components, the company developed a new production process for this type of handle.
The new process begins by feeding the injection-moulding machine, with industrial polystyrene. Then the machine removes the moisture from the material and injects the melt polystyrene that has the desired shape of the handle in the matrix. This moulded part will receive a surface treatment called metallization.
Bonding to occur, the parts are assembled in jigs and taken into the paint booths. Initially the pieces are ionized after they receive a base coat of varnish, going directly to a drying ultraviolet light (UV) tunnel. The following step of the process is the application of metallic covering, which occurs with the application of chromium plating on the machine where the chrome filaments migrate to the ionized parts, causing a homogeneous coverage, without any risk to the health of the workers, as this activity occurs within a hermetically isolated machine. Afterwards, the final step occurs of applying the top varnish and UV drying.
With the advent of this new process, the waste generated is only of 0.14%, which includes a reduction of 93.3% over the old process. As shown in Table 1, the cost of quality is not made ??up for the loss of raw materials, human resources and other inputs used in the manufacturing process, which are lost on the generation of waste. The new process led to cost average savings of about U.S.$ 1.9 per month.
Table 1 shows the variation of the manufacturing costs, with a decrease of 50.3% over the old process. Another factor observed is an increase in production capacity of 7.7%, which demanded an investment in tools in the amount of U.S.$ 42,000.00, with a payback estimated at 11 months. It is noteworthy that in both cases the water used for cooling comes from collected rainwater. In the old process, the circuit was from an open use of water, causing water loss by evaporation. However, in the new process, the water circuit is closed, not wasting water in the process, contributing to the environmental sustainability of the company.
4.1.2 Replacement material for painting
The case described below shows operating practices, with the replacement of painting materials and reducing resource consumption at the source with the use of new technologies, contributing to the economic and environmental sustainability of the company.
In the old painting process, called “standard varnish”, was used for surface treatment, which used to generate a loss 25% of the material in the process. With the replacement of the painting materials and the implementation of new technologies, a 60% reduction in material loss and a significant 9.6% in cost reduction were attained.
To improve such development, the project team benefited from the help of painting operators, manufacturers of painting materials for the testing and the adequation of the appropriate formulation for painting, giving the lowest possible loss in the process, and generating a technically desired performance and a sustainable process.
4.2 Cleaner production at Soprano Electrical and Plumbing Company Ltda
The company implemented the CP process in 2007, observing the following steps: i) the planning and the organization with the involvement of middle and senior management for setting goals and the definition of the improvement group (eco-team), ii) the pre-assessment and the diagnosis that resulted in the mapping of the processes, the design of the flow chart, performing the environmental assessment process, iii) the evaluation of CP, with the balance sheet material and the establishment of performance indicators, iv) the economic, environmental and technical feasibility studies, and v) the implementation of continuity plans and options.
The concepts of CP were effectively disseminated and implemented through the groups of improvements (eco-team), whose principles are: i) to contribute to the improvement and the development of the company, ii) to respect human nature, by building a satisfactory workplace, and iii) to develop the infinite possibilities of human mental ability and allow its application.
With the work of the groups of improvements, the company found a way to systematically make the improvements that resulted in waste reduction and losses, as well as greater efficiency in production. The case described below provides results, such as source reduction and process innovation, which occurred through the adoption of measures that resulted in significant improvements, reducing costs and promoting environmental benefits.
4.2.1 Innovation in process: exchange of soluble oils in grinders
The improvement group (eco-team) used a method of analysis and problem solving, which proposes that each problem should be considered and treated as improvementopportunities. They should result in wastes reduction, which cause earnings to the company and improve their working environment. The case is presented according to the method used by the Soprano Group and was executed in eight stages, as described below.
Stage 01 - Problem Identification: to start the project improvement, where the group listed the problems and opportunities in the sector of grinders. Among the situations listed, the highlight was the waste of soluble oil in the fluid exchange of the tanks of the grinding machines. For the prioritization of the opportunities, were used the criteria of severity, urgency and trends, which are part of the methods of the improvement group, which evaluates the negative impact on the operations of the industry. From such criteria, were chosen the most significant opportunities for improvement.
Stage 02 - Observation: this step includes a detailed description of the process with the design of the flow chart of activities and the data survey of the situation. At this point, it is important to know the frequency and the intensity, in which the problem occurs, to measure and qualify the effects of the problem. The group performed an on-site observation of the process, using check-up sheets and holding meetings to discuss the direct effects of the process, which led to waste generation. The results show some data collected during the observation stage: a) the oil change occur twice a month in each grinding machine, for a total of three grinders; b) in the three grinders are exchanged 120 litres of oil and 1.080 litres of water, totalizing 1,200 litres of disposal waste; c) each month, 1950 kg of sludge residue are discarded; and d) are consumed monthly 120 litres of oil and 1,080 gallons of water, in exchange for the grinders.
Stage 03 - Analysis: after data collection, the group discussed the probable causes of the problem, observing the techniques and the method employed. For the survey and the analysis of the probable causes, it was observed the influence of the following factors on the problem: a) the people, b) the inspection channel, c) the method, d) the environment, e) the material; f) the machinery. This analysis identified the main sources of waste, showing that there were no procedure for the separation of sludge and the re-use of the oil, causing a high volume of waste from the oil change.
Stage 04 - Action plan: based on the problem analysis studies, the improvement group has developed action plans, capable of eliminating the causes of waste. The action plan follows the methodology of the company, which records the action in a document containing: a) what will be done, b) who will do the action, c) when it will be executed, e) where it is applied, f) why - justifying the action, g) how it is operationalized as the action, and h) how much the action will cost.
Stage 05 - Action: this stage covers the implementation of the action that was planned, which in this case was to create a device to separate the oil from the sludge. Thus, this oil can be used on other machines, dramatically reducing the volume of waste.
Stage 06 - Verification: to verify the effectiveness of the action, the group designed a flow chart of the new processes, by analysing each activity and comparing what was planned to what was executed. It was found a 61.5% reduction of waste, which causes a direct impact on production costs and the treatment and disposal of waste, contributing to the economic and environmental sustainability of the company.
Stage 07 - Standardization: After checking the effectiveness, a new process was filed on work instructions, and all employees of the area received a training to efficiently run the new operation.
Stage 08 - Conclusion: at the end of the project, the improvement group met to record the gains implemented and the improved learning within the organization with such project. In this case, the group recorded some key learning results: i) the sector applied a rational use of the enterprise resource, with a reduction in spending on oil and used water, ii) there was a significant reduction of waste sent for disposal at the landfill, causing a reduction of damage to the environment, ii) the increase in environmental awareness of the employees of the area.
With the implementation of the grinding process innovation, through the re-use oil, the company achieved a 61.5% reduction in waste oil and water, causing a 67.9% reduction in spending on wastes treatment and disposal. In the previous case, the grinders were producing 1200 litres of soluble oil and water, and more than 1.950kg of industrial sludge, which were treated and disposed in a landfill at a cost of U.S.$ 34,290.00 per year. With the innovative process implementation, were eliminated the oil and water disposal, saving U.S.$23,292.00 annually. This process innovation also resulted in the preservation of natural resources and less damage to the environment.
The choice of these companies for the research occurred because Gecele Metallurgical Ltd. has a recognized representation within the industrial plastic production in Brazil, as well as Soprano Electrical and Plumbing Company Ltd. Both have a historical importance in the region, which jointly employ more than 1500 workers. Thus, the information provided by this research will encourage other organizations to implement CP processes, both in the plastics industry, as well as in other sectors. Another relevant aspect of this research refers to the importance, both economically and socially, of the spread of CP in the academic community.
The Gecele production system, supported by the Cleaner Production module, allowed the data collection related to production costs, costs for bad quality products and processes, waste costs and other losses in the process. Based on this information, the managers and project team found subsidies to identify the problems, analysed the effects, studied the causes and developed actions to continuously improve the production processes.
The implementation of CP resulted in significant improvements in the production processes, achieved by reducing losses and waste and re-using rainwater. A direct save with non-quality costs was estimated at U.S.$ 23,440.00 per year, which sounds highly relevant in terms of implementation results. Another relevant factor was the reduction of production costs of 93.3%, plus a 60% reduction in losses in the painting process, caused by a substitution of materials and deployment of new technologies. The generation of waste requires adequate treatment and final disposal, because of its high level of toxicity. It is emphasized that this company is contributing to environmental sustainability, as it develops new production processes, which generate less waste and losses, as well as it performs the treatment of all waste and effluents generated by its production process. All these factors contribute significantly to the economic and environmental sustainability of the organization.
The CP methodology was implemented in Soprano Electrical and Plumbing company Ltd in 2007, and from that period were formed permanent improvement groups (eco-team) that contribute to the development of the company, respecting human nature and improving the work environment. The innovation introduced in the grinding process gives a clear portray of the Cleaner Production actions that the company developed, which resulted in economic and environmental benefits. These economic benefits were of 67.9% in spending on treatment and disposal of these wastes, saving U.S. R$ 23,292.00 annually. The environmental benefits occurred through the reuse of oil, where the company obtained a 61.5% reduction in waste generation, which we retreated and after disposed to a landfill. This process innovation contributes to the preservation of natural resources, minimizing the harm to the environment, and also contributing to the economic and environmental sustainability of the company.
There are also intangible gains with the implementation of CP, linked to awareness of the employees on the issues of sustainability and ownership, in the sense of loss reduction and continuous improvement of processes and work environment. Consequently, such gains are proportionate to the company's competitiveness, because it intends to increase its production and market share for years to come.
Finally, this research shows limitations with regard to its capacity to generalize, since it was only explored the reality of these two companies. Therefore, more comprehensive analysis, assessing the implementation of CP in other cases would contribute to highlight the scientific understanding of the issue. Relevant studies could be realized, comparing regions, sectors, supply chains or even different perceptions among different actors inserted in this context.
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1 Universidade de Caxias do Sul – Brasil –firstname.lastname@example.org