How to Effectively Implement Continuous Improvement for Environmental Sustainability

How to Effectively Implement Continuous Improvement for Environmental Sustainability

Brian J. Galli (Hofstra University, USA)
Copyright: © 2021 |Pages: 14
DOI: 10.4018/IJAL.2021010103
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Continuous improvement refers to day-to-day activities in an organization to improve its ability to meet customer needs. However, the organization must also consider the environment and create ways to sustain it. When continuous improvement models are enacted, companies with efficient environmental performance and high-sustainability policies create more value to stakeholders and shareholders. Such companies develop a strong competitive advantage because they maintain and attract more employees and customers. Unfortunately, in many cases, organizations focus on corporate responsibilities, some of which exclude environmental issues. As it is revealed in this research, the environment must be sustained so consumers of the manufactured products can enjoy the products in a safe environment. This research focuses on how continuous improvement can be used for environmental sustainability. Apart from highlighting difficulties in using continuous improvement for sustainability, the research presents other approaches and tools to incorporate CI principles into a sustainability program.
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Literature Review

Before addressing the effectiveness, barriers, and implications related to continuous improvement in Environment Sustainability, it is paramount to understand them separately (Dettmer, 2012). CI is achievable if the company can perform thorough management reviews, internal audits, apply preventive actions, and analyze data (Lamming & Hampson, 2000). It is also the capability of a company to decrease response time, minimize waste, and simplify designs, while attempting to give the consumer a proficient end-product (Dettmer, 2012; Rusinko, 2004). However, while consumer satisfaction is one of the key objectives of every organization, how can the same strategy be used to sustain the environment?

To comprehend Environmental Sustainability, it is necessary to identify sustainability. Sustainability is being able to persist on a distinct behavior indefinitely. For an efficient definition, three areas must be addressed in Environmental Sustainability: for pollution, for renewable resources, and for non-renewable resources (Lamming & Hampson, 2000). Regarding pollution, the rates of waste generation from company projects should never surpass the assimilative capacity of its surroundings, which is sustainable waste disposal.

Goodland (2005) wrote that when it comes to renewable resources, the harvest rate should never go beyond that of regeneration. For those resources that are nonrenewable, their depletion requires equivalent development of renewable substitutes for similar resources. Thus, the standard elucidation of Environmental Sustainability is sustainable development, and can only be achieved with sustainable economic development (Galli, 2019c; Lamming & Hampson, 2000). However, there is no economic progress that can progress indefinitely.

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