Fernandez-Vine ea (2010) Eco-efficiency in SMEs in Venezuela ..

This paper presents a comparison analysis of eco-efficiency in the small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) of Venezuela. The research can be divided into three parts: the first part reviews similar studies in the literature on the level of eco-efficiency exhibited by the companies of Venezuela and other countries. In the second place, the findings of a survey conducted on Venezuelan SMEs allowed the definition of 54 eco-efficiency profiles. Thirdly, six national experts in cleaner production and eco-efficiency were interviewed. The interview was based on a questionnaire similar to that used in the survey of the Venezuelan SMEs. At a second meeting, the experts were asked to discuss on the similarities and differences between their answers and those of the company's managers. The findings of the survey allow us to conclude that Venezuelan SMEs understand the legal environmental regulations that affect them but they do not perceive the influence of external driving forces like customers demand for green products or institutional incentives. The adoption of eco-efficiency practices is not perceived as an incentive to improve competitiveness so that the environmental strategies adopted generally aim at reducing costs or avoiding non-compliance sanctions and negative effects on the company image. Materials recycling and reuse, especially packaging materials, are common practices; however, other environmental tools or practices have not been implemented yet, e.g. environmental management systems (EMS), process, product and services design tools based on the product life cycle, renewable energy resources or green marketing. There are also differences among the eight industrial sectors analyzed, food and chemical industries having the higher index of eco-efficiency practices, and plastic and wood industries the lower.