Managing environmental sustainability for competitiveness (MESC)
Download/view flyer for Dalby Workshop (PDF 372.33 KB)
Managing Environmental Sustainability for Competitiveness (MESC): An Education Training Program for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs)
This project focuses on the conduct of a series of SME workshops in Toowoomba, Springfield and Hervey Bay in order to create awareness, understanding, knowledge, skills and networking opportunities related to achieving firm performance through environmental sustainability in Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs). The project is funded by Enterprise Connect.
The overall objective of the proposed project is to:
Address regional SMEs’ current understanding of environmental and business sustainability and enhance their ability to plan, manage, implement and integrate environmental sustainable initiatives into their firms with the view of improving their financial bottom-line and achieving positive outcomes for their staff. This is achieved through a series of workshops using a combined approach of current research, executive educational development and delivery and follow-up. The main target audience of the project is regional SMEs in the manufacturing, defence, mining technology and creative industries, although the workshop is also suitable for SMEs in other industries.
The main objectives of these workshops are to:
• Provide specialist training and advice to participating SMEs to improve their business performance through environmental sustainability initiatives/change;
• Provide advice to participating SMEs regarding how and where to source and finance specialist environmental sustainability advice, know-how, and technologies to improve their business performance through environmental sustainability initiatives/change.
• Provide participating SMEs with new skills, tools and business strategies to enhance their environmental sustainability initiatives/change and consequently improve their competitiveness in Australia, and globally.
• Enable participating SMEs to apply environmental sustainability knowledge and technologies/tools to build their internal capacity which will help them to become more innovative, efficient and competitive and lift their firm’s overall performance.
• Enable participating SMEs to improve their performance by advising them of a range of services currently available to SMEs. This will link participating SMEs with new ideas, technologies and markets regarding environmental sustainability.
The first stage of the project comprises developing training and educational materials. The second stage comprises the delivery of six workshops in three regional centres in Queensland (Toowoomba, Wide Bay and Fraser Coast region, and Springfield, Ipswich region (two workshops in each region), which cater to SMEs in the specified industries in the surrounding regions). This phase of the project concludes with an evaluation of the impact of the training program on participating SMEs regarding potential environmental, financial and human resource outcomes.
The specific focus of the workshops is be on helping regional SMEs plan, manage and implement initiatives to lower greenhouse gas emissions, save on energy, water, materials and waste, and reduce business costs. The workshops also provide scope for participating SMEs to explore opportunities to network and work together, grow and conduct business in cleaner ways. SMEs are often motivated to make change but, individually, they can lack knowledge and direction, and are hesitant to make changes. However, in working together, SMEs are more confident in embracing change, learning and sharing experiences.
The project draws from previous research by members of the project team which focused on the development of a Best Practice Framework for Managing Environmental Sustainability (Wiesner, Chadee and Best 2010) and, as such, a combined approach of current research, executive educational development and delivery is followed. The content of the program is, therefore, based upon the experiences of other SMEs that have been successful in implementing environmental sustainability.
The project also aims to assist participating SMEs is networking and connecting with experts in the field of environmental sustainability. Existing SME environmental sustainability champions are invited to present their case studies at these workshops. Each individual training session therefore includes real-life success case studies in the SME sector and sharing of information by a SME manager who has been successful in achieving financial success through environmental sustainability initiatives. The project is complementing existing government initiatives such as the ecoBiz program in Queensland, since the training program will make available information on existing government programs in place and assistance available. Participants are also exposed to environmental sustainability tools that could be used in their firms immediately after the workshops.
Topics covered in the training program
(a) Topics covered in the training program include: (1) how to initially set the foundations for environmental sustainability success; (2) how to develop the business case for environmental sustainability change; (3) how to plan for environmental sustainability; (4) how to manage change for environmental sustainability; (5) how to develop an environmental sustainable culture in the firm; (6) guidelines for measuring and implementing environmental sustainability initiatives; (7) identifying and overcoming barriers; (8) developing networks and utilising external support (government and other) for initiatives; (9) how to achieve financial performance and human resource outcomes through environmental sustainability; and (10) learning from other SME environmental sustainability champions.
To register or find out more about these workshops, participants are requested to call 07 4631 1294 or email Jenna.Schott@usq.edu.au or firstname.lastname@example.org
Project Leaders: Prof Doren Chadee, Associate Professor Retha Wiesner, Professor Peter Best
Other Project Participants: Associate Professor Margee Hume, Dr Banjo Roxas, Graham Young