Managing quality for environmental excellence: Strategies, outcomes, and challenges in Brazilian companies

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<ul><li><p>Environmental Quality Management / DOI 10.1002/tqem / Summer 2009 / 65</p><p> 2009 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.Published online in Wiley InterScience (www.interscience.wiley.com).DOI: 10.1002/tqem.20226</p><p>This article high-</p><p>lights a study that </p><p>looked at how com-</p><p>panies located in </p><p>Brazil manage their </p><p>quality programs </p><p>to achieve environ-</p><p>mental excellence. </p><p>The study focused </p><p>on four business organizations that have achieved </p><p>certification to ISO 14001, an international envi-</p><p>ronmental management standard.</p><p>The results of the study show that contribu-</p><p>tions from quality management are fundamental </p><p>to achieving environmental excellence. Reaching </p><p>a high level of environmental performance is only </p><p>possible, however, if the companys culture views </p><p>the environment as an organizational value. </p><p>About This ArticleThis article begins with some brief background </p><p>on the growth of environmental management </p><p>among companies in Brazil. It continues with a </p><p>review of concepts relating to quality management </p><p>and environmental management, along with discus-</p><p>sion of how these two themes can be integrated.</p><p>The discussion </p><p>then moves on to </p><p>a study involving </p><p>four market-leading </p><p>companies in Bra-</p><p>zil. It summarizes </p><p>findings regarding </p><p>how these compa-</p><p>nies have used their </p><p>quality management systems to achieve environ-</p><p>mental excellence, thus creating organizational </p><p>competitive advantage. Of particular note is the </p><p>significant role that quality management depart-</p><p>ments have played in environmental manage-</p><p>ment at all four companies studied.</p><p>Background: Economic Growth and Environmental Concerns in Brazil</p><p>Brazil is known for the wealth of its natural </p><p>resources. The country has also achieved rapid </p><p>economic growth and development over the past </p><p>several years. Given the confluence of these two </p><p>factors, companies located in Brazil increasingly </p><p>Charbel Jos Chiappetta Jabbour</p><p>Managing Quality for Environmental Excellence: Strategies, Outcomes, and Challenges in Brazilian Companies</p><p>Quality management tools </p><p>promote improved environmental </p><p>performance</p></li><li><p>Charbel Jos Chiappetta Jabbour66 / Summer 2009 / Environmental Quality Management / DOI 10.1002/tqem</p><p>of the level of their environmental engagement </p><p>and the standards of environmental performance </p><p>they have achieved (Aboulnaga, 1998). </p><p>The extent of a companys environmental </p><p>engagement can be analyzed through taxono-</p><p>mies that describe several levels of maturity and </p><p>varying approaches to environmental perfor-</p><p>mance. Management researchers (and corporate </p><p>managers themselves) can use these classification </p><p>systems to understand current environmental </p><p>management actions within specific organiza-</p><p>tions and to develop enhancements that can help </p><p>organizations reach higher levels of environmen-</p><p>tal performance in a structured manner. </p><p>Several different methods have been proposed </p><p>for classifying corporate environmental manage-</p><p>ment systems. The study discussed here incorpo-</p><p>rated the Jabbour and Santos (2006) approach, </p><p>which suggests that company environmental </p><p>management systems tend to progress through </p><p>three stages: </p><p>reactive (in which environmental manage-ment is unstructured and is viewed simply as </p><p>an additional cost for the company); </p><p>preventive (in which the company strives for eco-efficiency with regard to the natural-</p><p>resource inputs it uses, but does not yet view </p><p>environmental questions strategically); and </p><p>proactive (in which the company views envi-ronmental management as a source of com-</p><p>petitive advantage). </p><p>Quality Management: Evolution and Key Concepts</p><p>Quality management can contribute signifi-</p><p>cantly to proactive environmental management </p><p>(Lawrence et al., 1998). For this reason, it is useful </p><p>to understand how quality management systems </p><p>have developed within business organizations. </p><p>Todays quality management systems have </p><p>evolved from concepts such as total quality con-</p><p>recognize an obligation to combine traditional </p><p>performance goals (such as enhancing revenue, </p><p>productivity, and exports) with proactive and high-</p><p>quality environmental management initiatives.</p><p>Quality Management and Environmental Management: Nexus and Integration </p><p>According to authors who have studied both </p><p>quality management and environmental man-</p><p>agement at corporations, the two fields have </p><p>developed through similar evolutionary stages </p><p>and use common practices and organizational </p><p>structures (Aboulnaga, 1998; Borri &amp; Boccaletti, </p><p>1995; Lawrence, Andrews, &amp; France, 1998).</p><p>Based on such find-</p><p>ings, the study discussed </p><p>here assumed that com-</p><p>panies would find the </p><p>task of managing envi-</p><p>ronmental issues easier </p><p>to accomplish if they </p><p>incorporated environ-</p><p>mental concerns into </p><p>their companys existing quality management sys-</p><p>tems (see Barbieri, 2004). </p><p>The sections that follow offer some background </p><p>on environmental management, quality manage-</p><p>ment, and the relationship between the two fields.</p><p>Environmental Management: Characteristics and Classification of Systems </p><p>The study discussed in this article assumed </p><p>that corporate environmental management in-</p><p>volves planning and organizing the ways in </p><p>which the company approaches environmental </p><p>concerns, all with the objective of achieving spe-</p><p>cific environmental goals. These activities require </p><p>engagement by many management areas for opti-</p><p>mal results (Jabbour &amp; Santos, 2006). </p><p>There are many reasons why companies may </p><p>strive to achieve better environmental perfor-</p><p>mance. In addition, companies differ in terms </p><p>The extent of a companys environmental engagement can be analyzed through taxonomies that describe several levels of maturity and varying approaches to environmental performance. </p></li><li><p>Environmental Quality Management / DOI 10.1002/tqem / Summer 2009 / 67Managing Quality for Environmental Excellence</p><p>are the ultimate target of the TQM program. Top </p><p>management must support and lead the process.</p><p>The implementation process itself should be </p><p>headed by a command group that is respon-</p><p>sible for elaborating plans and alternatives. The </p><p>group should keep a record of the organizations </p><p>experiences with respect to quality administra-</p><p>tion in order to help the company benefit from </p><p>organizational learning. Work groups within the </p><p>organization should receive training on quality </p><p>management. Ultimately, this will help all em-</p><p>ployees of the company achieve the goals of total </p><p>quality management (Garvin, 1992).</p><p>Integrating Environmental and Quality Management</p><p>According to Aboul-</p><p>naga (1998), integrat-</p><p>ing the environmental </p><p>component into total </p><p>quality management </p><p>can help organizations </p><p>continually improve </p><p>their performance in the areas of both environ-</p><p>mental management and social responsibility. In </p><p>addition, it can allow companies to increase pro-</p><p>ductivity, generate innovations based on cleaner </p><p>technologies, and enhance competitiveness.</p><p>The integration of environmental manage-</p><p>ment and TQM is sometimes referred to as total </p><p>quality environmental management, or TQEM. </p><p>In practice, a TQEM approach can develop out </p><p>of an environmental management system that </p><p>applies the TQM philosophy to environmental </p><p>issues.</p><p>The TQEM concept was originally developed </p><p>by the Global Environmental Management Ini-</p><p>tiative (GEMI), a nongovernmental organization </p><p>founded in 1990 by a group of multinational </p><p>companies (Barbieri, 2004). GEMIs member com-</p><p>panies currently include a number of large corpo-</p><p>rations, such as 3M, Kodak, and DuPont. </p><p>trol, which was first discussed by A. V. Feigen-</p><p>baum almost 60 years ago (Feigenbaum, 1951). </p><p>Total quality control eventually developed into </p><p>total quality management (TQM).</p><p>Total quality management has been widely </p><p>publicized by numerous scholars and research-</p><p>ers, including W. Edwards Deming, Joseph M. </p><p>Juran, Genichi Taguchi, and Philip Bayard Crosby </p><p>(Garvin, 1992). The TQM philosophy emphasizes </p><p>a number of key concepts (Slack, Chambers, Har-</p><p>land, Harrison, &amp; Johnston, 2002), especially:</p><p>focusing on the needs and expectations of consumers;</p><p>including all organizational functions in the quality program;</p><p>involving all people within the organization, and fostering their commitment to quality;</p><p>examining all costs in the context of quality;guaranteeing quality by adopting best prac-tices at the first opportunity; and </p><p>developing systems that support continuous quality improvement.</p><p>TQM can be understood as the logical evolu-</p><p>tion of a companys quality management prac-</p><p>tices over time. According to Garvin (1992), </p><p>total quality management is an organizational </p><p>philosophy that involves the entire company; it </p><p>focuses on teamwork and employee empower-</p><p>ment as key approaches to work projects. Accord-</p><p>ing to Santos (2001), in order for organizations </p><p>to collaborate effectively in the formulation of </p><p>management strategy, it is fundamentally neces-</p><p>sary for quality management to involve all activi-</p><p>ties of production management, from marketing </p><p>to research and development to provision of </p><p>postsales service. </p><p>The implementation of TQM demands orga-</p><p>nizational effort, along with a focus on critical </p><p>success factors. The organization needs to set a </p><p>strategy for achieving long-term objectives, which </p><p>The implementation of TQM demands organizational effort, along with a focus on critical </p><p>success factors. </p></li><li><p>Charbel Jos Chiappetta Jabbour68 / Summer 2009 / Environmental Quality Management / DOI 10.1002/tqem</p><p>ment and environmental management within </p><p>the study companies, focusing in particular on </p><p>how the use of quality management tools can </p><p>enhance environmental management. </p><p>Criteria for Company SelectionThe organizations selected for the study had </p><p>to meet a number of key criteria. Specifically, </p><p>each company had to: </p><p>have implemented the ISO 9001 quality man-agement system; </p><p>have implemented the ISO 14001 environ-mental management system; </p><p>have implemented the quality management system before implementing the environmen-</p><p>tal management system; </p><p>be a leader in its market; and have an excellent environmental management system (as evidenced by, for example, receipt </p><p>of awards or public and media recognition for </p><p>high-level environmental performance).</p><p>Companies Chosen for StudyBased on these selection criteria, four compa-</p><p>nies were chosen for study:</p><p>Company A (from the writing, art, and office supplies sector);</p><p>Company B (from the automotive sector);Company C (from the metal-mechanical sec-tor); and</p><p>Company D (from the chemical sector).</p><p>Study MethodologyThe methodology used for the study included </p><p>completion of semistructured questionnaires by </p><p>company representatives. In addition, the author </p><p>visited the companies to collect additional data. </p><p>The company employees who took part in this </p><p>study held the positions of quality manager, envi-</p><p>ronmental manager, and industrial manager. </p><p>According to Daroit and Nascimento (1998), </p><p>TQEM strives to enhance production activities </p><p>through total quality methods in order to achieve </p><p>improvements in environmental performance. </p><p>Within the organizational context, develop-</p><p>ment of TQEM is a powerful mechanism for </p><p>generating eco-innovations. These innovations </p><p>in turn contribute to quality management and, </p><p>consequently, to organizational competitiveness. </p><p>Eco-innovation allows the organization to re-</p><p>duce its consumption of raw materials and other </p><p>inputs, thus lowering costs. In addition, such </p><p>innovations can help position the company as a </p><p>potential supplier in green product markets.</p><p>Lawrence et al. </p><p>(1998) have concluded </p><p>that introducing the </p><p>environmental com-</p><p>ponent into organi-</p><p>zational management </p><p>through implementa-</p><p>tion of an environ-</p><p>mental management </p><p>system (EMS) is sim-</p><p>plified in companies that already have effective </p><p>quality management. </p><p>Once quality becomes a concern for the orga-</p><p>nizations top management, TQM appears to be </p><p>a decisive factor in aligning environmental plan-</p><p>ning with overall corporate strategy. In particular, </p><p>companies that have achieved certification to ISO </p><p>9001 (an international quality management stan-</p><p>dard) find it easier to implement environmental </p><p>management systems and obtain certification to </p><p>ISO 14001. </p><p>How Quality Management Can Promote Environmental Excellence: A Study of Four Market-Leading Companies in Brazil </p><p>During 2006 and 2007, the author of this ar-</p><p>ticle carried out a study of four companies located </p><p>in Brazil. The research looked at quality manage-</p><p>Once quality becomes a concern for the organizations top management, TQM appears to be a decisive factor in aligning environmental planning with overall corporate strategy. </p></li><li><p>Environmental Quality Management / DOI 10.1002/tqem / Summer 2009 / 69Managing Quality for Environmental Excellence</p><p>certification (ISO 14001:1996) and the updated </p><p>certification (ISO 14001:2004). </p><p>The extent of this role was reflected in a com-</p><p>ment by Company Cs quality manager, who </p><p>stated, When top management wanted to obtain </p><p>information about ISO 14001:1996, she called </p><p>me. . . . The opinion of the quality department </p><p>carried a lot of weight since we already had expe-</p><p>rience with implementation of ISO 9001. </p><p>Similarly, the quality manager for Com-</p><p>pany A stated, We began speaking about ISO </p><p>14001:1996 in meetings with top management. </p><p>. . . We led the certification process within the </p><p>company. </p><p>In addition to ad-</p><p>vocating for ISO 14001 </p><p>EMS certification, the </p><p>quality management </p><p>departments at these </p><p>companies supplied </p><p>the technical person-</p><p>nel who helped cre-</p><p>ate their organizations </p><p>environmental depart-</p><p>ments. At all four companies, the person who </p><p>currently heads the environmental department </p><p>was formerly employed in quality management. </p><p>According to the ISO 14001 system coordina-</p><p>tor at Company B, implementation of the com-</p><p>panys EMS was handled by an environmental </p><p>management system implementation team, and </p><p>the more experienced employees of this team </p><p>were from the quality department. . . . I was cho-</p><p>sen to coordinate system maintenance because I </p><p>had already helped with the implementation and </p><p>maintenance of ISO 9001.</p><p>n Quality Management Tools Used by the Study Companies Several quality management tools and prac-</p><p>tices contributed to ISO 14001 implementation </p><p>by the study companies, ultimately helping them </p><p>Study FindingsThe following sections briefly summarize </p><p>some of the key findings of the four-company </p><p>study.</p><p>n Moving Toward a Certified ISO 14001 EMS In all four companies studied, adoption of an </p><p>ISO 14001 environmental management system </p><p>was preceded by intensive negotiations involving </p><p>organizational leaders. However, this process was </p><p>simplified for Companies A and D, which already </p><p>were using a noncertified environmental man-</p><p>agement system. </p><p>n Certification Time FrameAll four of the companies studied originally </p><p>achieved certification to the 1996 version of the </p><p>ISO 14001 standard, and later updated to the </p><p>2004 version. The certification time frame for the </p><p>four companies was:</p><p>Company A: ISO 14001/1996 certification in 2002</p><p>ISO 14001/2004 certification in </p><p>2005</p><p>Company B: ISO 14001/1996 certification in 1997</p><p>IS...</p></li></ul>