Alexandra Barón1, Gerusa Giménez1, Rudi de Castro1image

1 Departamento de Organización y Gestión de Empresa (OGDP). Universidad de Girona.

Keywords: Circular Economy (CE), Environmental Management Systems (EMS), Manufacturing companies

1   Introduction

The European Green Pact of the European Union (EU) has made Circular Economy (CE) a strategic policy to promote this new model of production and consumption at all levels. Governments, institutions and researchers alike have highlighted the importance of EMSs and eco-labels as tools or instruments to enable circular transformation and the development of effective eco-innovations in companies. The transition towards CE should be done in a way that enables companies to be efficient without incurring excessive burdens or hindering the company’s growth, given that larger size improves productivity, contracting capacity, investment and internationalisation.

2   Objectives

The purpose of this article is, to analyse the relationship between the implementation of EMSs and the adoption of CE initiatives in Spanish manufacturing firms.

Thus, we propose to test the following hypothesis: There is a correlation between the implementation of EMS and a higher adoption of CE initiatives in Spanish manufacturing companies (H1).

3   Methodology

The empirical data used to test the hypotheses were collected from the Spanish sub-sample of the 2018 European Manufacturing Survey. This is an international questionnaire developed by the Fraunhofer Institute for Systems and Innovation Research. The Spanish survey sample comprised manufacturing establishments (NACE codes 10-33) with at least 20 employees. To determine the “intensity” and the correlation between the companies with an EMS implemented and the adoption of CE practices, 22 variables were chosen and analysed with ANOVA and Pearson’s Chi-Square test, proceeding to the statistical treatment of the data with the SPSS v25 programme.

4   Results

Analysis of variance findings reveal a clear correlation between EMS adoption and the intensity of adoption of circular practices (a significance of 0.006 (p<0.05) and a factor of 7.87), which supports H1. A correlation is observed between the implementation of EMS and the actions that take place at the different stages of the product life cycle, particularly in relation to the following practices: Implementation of energy management systems, Implementation of life cycle assessment tools, Introduction of technological improvements and Products with reduced energy consumption during use.

5   Conclusions

The results of the study provide an affirmative answer to the research question posed, indicating that companies which have implemented EMS show a higher degree of adoption of circularity practices than those which have not implemented this type of management system. Adopting EMS favourably influences taking up circular initiatives in the field of development of best technological practices and eco-innovations so that both the product and the process are carried out in the most sustainable way possible. No relationship was found between adopting EMS and establishing synergies between industries.


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Proceedings of the 15th International Conference on Industrial Engineering and Industrial Management and XXV Congreso de Ingeniería de Organización Copyright © by (Eds.) José Manuel Galán; Silvia Díaz-de la Fuente; Carlos Alonso de Armiño Pérez; Roberto Alcalde Delgado; Juan José Lavios Villahoz; Álvaro Herrero Cosío; Miguel Ángel Manzanedo del Campo; and Ricardo del Olmo Martínez is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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