• Implementing sustainability initiatives in business processes

      Gallotta, Bruno; University of Derby (2018-10)
      Purpose – The sustainability topic has been receiving a growing importance in the corporate environment in recent years. More and more companies are adopting sustainability practices in all their organisational levels, operations and business process as a whole; however, they have still failed to achieve the anticipated goal. Existing roadmaps, frameworks and systems do not comprehensively support sustainable business transformation. This research proposes a four phases framework, based on BPM, to help organisations to implement sustainability practices in the organisation business processes and has verified it with industry/academic specialists and validated it in a local organisation focused on sustainability initiatives. Design/methodology/approach – A conceptual framework has been created, verified and validated. The framework is based on Business Process Management (BPM) principles, which was chosen because due its capability to work in a cross process way while providing the full control of the process performance. It was then verified using a Delphi study held with 21 specialists in Sustainable Operations Management from both academia and industry and validated using an action research study on a biomass company focused in the development of sustainable energy technologies that wished to improve the implementation of sustainability initiatives in its business processes and operations. Findings – It was identified that organisations still struggle to succeed the implementation of sustainability projects. The research outlined that the business process management (BPM) approach can be used as way to implement sustainability practices in an organisation’s business processes by using the conceptual framework. The benefits from this approach are the enablement of continuous process improvement, improvement of process quality; cost reduction; increase in the customer satisfaction; and better control 3 over process performance, which can be directly linked to the improvement of the sustainability improvement.Research limitations/implication – The main limitation of this research is the application of the framework in only one real-life scenario, which was expected due the research method chosen to validate it. Future work aims to apply the framework in different scenarios, in organisations with different sizes, different maturity level, different sector, and different locations. Further research will also investigate the symbiosis of the BPM approach with other management approaches, such as lean/green manufacturing, project management, and green supply chain and carbon footprint. In addition, in a further moment, once companies are familiarised with the project methodology, it is possible to create a centre of excellence (an area within the organisation with the best practices/ processes of the industry) in terms of sustainability bringing even more value, improving continuously and generating more innovation by the form of green reference process models. Practical implications – The proposed framework uses a Business Process Management (BPM) approach, which provides a systemic solution for the organisations adopt sustainability practices in their business processes.