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Table 3 Identified drivers and examples of sustainable business practice

From: Transforming manufacturing to be ‘good for planet and people’, through enabling lean and green thinking in small and medium-sized enterprises

Identified drivers Firm A senior decision maker examples Firm B senior decision maker examples Related driver/s
Self-awareness and learning from industrial experts, popular philosophers in order to be perceived as a legitimate business
Awareness and educational foundation “Mostly I educated myself. It’s an outbreak of being interested in the ideas of Edwards Deming and Peter Singh from the Fifth discipline. Then more specifically I suppose the way to do things was well described by Hunter Lovins in Natural Capitalism.” (FA-P1) “We are working with universities (which) legitimises and formalises the process. We have been collaborating with the universities for testing processes. So just probably triggers, what comes out of the informal conversation we have and what we do? And that probably is some help in doing things right. It’s been a help to formalise our ideas. And see whether we could get some marketing benefits and innovating new spaces.” (FB-P3) Normative
a Learn and replicate to establish legitimate business practice
Desire to learn from industry leaders “People like Ray Anderson from Interface - we learned best practices from them.”
(FA-P1)
“There was an aluminum company that we learned best practices from. And it was driven by their top management” (FB-P4) Mimetic
a Understand the future trends in ecological principles, and understand the societal expectations for legitimate practice
Previous stewardship experiences and cultural alignment “What we have developed though the business is healthy products, we call it re-seek and develop. We look backwards we find out what people used to do, and we try and develop that into allowing us to use it in the modern days. So there are components within our materials that are modern day components, science has advanced to a point where we could utilise some of these things and still create relatively natural products” (FA-P3) “When our organisation begin the journey they triggered, as the family sort of come from a farming background and have been in the stewardship journey - as farmers they are good stewards of the land. Looking after the soil and putting back whenever they could. They used to farm certified sugar cane and a lot of different things, like manures and stuff like that, instead of using chemical fertilisers” (FB-P3) Normative
a Learn and replicate to establish legitimate business practice
Desire to deal with future trends, societal expectations for legitimate business practice “We are about thriving and about health. If we can make a healthy environment. That’s how we want it to be. Not to make it sustainable the way that it is now. We are not adding anything, we are not taking away anything. More like regenerative business practice”. (FA-P1) “With the 40 different types of insects, pathogens coming inside to the country, the amount of material exported around the world should be controlled. What we can control is what’s coming inside our site. Bad outbreaks and different things. That’s about preparing the company for what comes next.” (P3), “Social media has a very influential group for people who comments on our products and so we have to cater to their expectations and demands” (FB-P3) Normative
a Influenced by powerful positions such as government and other governmental bodies to adopt legitimate business practice
Connection with Government and stakeholders “We used to have a monthly tour of the design centre. Through Eco Biz- Manufacturer’s networking. We have shown a lot of people. There has been a lot of interest from people. They sort of got involved with their job from the government to help other business to become more sustainable and they use us like a flagship for some extent” (FA-P2) “There was a federal government program in which they looked at our business practices and identified areas for improvement and made recommendation as to what sort of things we could do to improve business practices. That was really helpful and all the recommendations they made were around continual improvement and efficiency in the business.” (FB-P3) Coercive, Normative
a Inter-hiring between firms of the similar industry encourages isomorphism and transfer of legitimate professional practices
Previous training and work experience “I’ve been in this field for 15 years; that inspired me to transfer that learning to this workplace from my earlier job” (FA-P3) “We hired a new production manager from a renowned company, which is known to have high standard business practice.” (FB-P2) Mimetic
a Learn and replicate, understand the societal expectations and establish legitimate business practice
Focus on process efficiency “I always look at our process and think how we could make it more efficient. I think of what people will gain from our practices and how it will affect the quality of our work.” (FA-P3) “Going forward the world we will be living in, it’s going to get harder and harder to get a competitive price. We have to look at our cost base. We are currently okay, but we have to produce more with the same number of people at a lower cost. For that we have to look for more efficient and sustainable solutions” (FB-P4) Normative, Mimetic
a Learn and replicate, to understand the societal expectations and establish legitimate business practice
Technological advancement “Our dry plant was built with a lot of lean principles built into it. Quality is already in it. The speed, efficiency of the machinery – what comes out no one touches anything harmful, it’s palletized by a robot- mixed by a computer and bag. People don’t touch much. Very few people operate in dry plant. There is only a little thing to do make it better faster and easier” (FA-P4) “We use drone technology to take aerial photographs of the stock piles and remove unnecessary waste. For example, the stuff about anaerobic digestion, something to do with compost wind row turning technology that we purchased, to do with other collaborative projects we’ve got going on. It’s good if you have a champion, like myself like our business and productions managers, we are in leadership positions to explore the use of new technologies.” (FB-P2) Normative, Mimetic
  1. aSummary statement explaining the case study findings using the institutional mechanism (i.e.: drivers of normative, mimetic and coercive)