1 STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND CHALLENGES IN SMEs ABSTRACT THESIS SUBMITTED FOR THE AWARD OF THE DEGREE OF Doctor of Philosophy IN BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION BY FARRUKH RAFIQ Under the Supervision of Prof. (Dr.) M. Khalid Azam DEPARTMENT OF BUSINESS ADMINISTRATION FACULTY OF MANAGEMENT STUDIES AND RESEARCH ALIGARH MUSLIM UNIVERSITY ALIGARH (INDIA) 2012
2 STUDY OF ENVIRONMENTAL ISSUES AND CHALLENGES IN SMEs ABSTRACT Introduction Since the day man began to devote his physical strength, mental power, ability and skills in the utilization of natural resources, it was the turning point of far reaching consequences. The man has been the explorer, exploiter and destroyer of these natural resources. In the name of development and advancement, he has disturbed the ecological balance between himself and the natural environment. The issue of pollution has become much more significant since the emergence of industrial societies, which have the potential to generate newer forms of pollution and to spread these across large areas. Industrial revolution of the 18 th and 19 th century and the technological revolution of the 20 th century resulted imbalance of the natural environmental. The industrial sector is one of the most dynamic sectors of the economy and plays an important role in the economic development. The increasing concern of environmental degradation has led to environmental sensitivity among the nations of the developing as well as the developed world. Industrialization processes and overexploitation of the country's resources be it land or water has resulted in considerable environmental degradation of resources. Business organizations and societies commitment and dedication to the cause of protection, preservation and conservation of environment is very much essential. India s economic development propelled by rapid industrialization and urbanization is causing serious environmental problems that have local, regional and global implications. Deforestation, soil erosion, water pollution and land degradation continue to worsen the problems and are hindering economic development in rural India, while the rapid industrialization and urbanization are causing serious environmental pollution problems. The
3 inter-relationship between environmental degradation and most of India s serious problems are often over-looked. Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) are commonly recognized as one of the leading groups of economic activities globally, and pose massive impacts on social issues. Most of the SMEs are suppliers to large enterprises. The importance of SMEs in society can be recognized by looking at the recent institutional arrangement and policy development for assisting SMEs in all the countries. The SMEs active in the country are often undercapitalized and technologically weak operating outside the formal sector of the economy. Of the total export from India, a large portion is contributed by small and medium scale industries which also contribute 50 percent to the total industrial pollution. Pollution can be defined as the release of potentially harmful contaminants into the environment. Today, pollution is a very serious and obvious environmental problem that has to be addressed. One of the most serious threats is the enormous amount of waste that is discharged into the air, water and ground ever year. The issue of pollution has become much more significant since the emergence of industrial societies, which have the potential to generate more and new types of pollution and to spread these across large areas of the planet earth. Air pollution is one of the major reasons for the environmental pollution. Air pollution is said to exist if the level of harmful gases, solids, or liquids present in the atmosphere is high enough to affect humans, other organisms, monuments, buildings, and plants etc. The quality of water is of vital importance for the sustenance of mankind as it is directly linked to the welfare of human beings as well as for all forms of living organisms. Most countries have economic problems of providing fresh water. Water pollution is the presence of deleterious substances in water that make it unsuitable. Pollution in water can be either due to the presence of either industrial or domestic wastes. Soil pollution refers to any chemical or physical change in soil conditions that may adversely affect the growth of plant and other organisms living in it or on that soil. Agricultural chemicals, especially fertilizers and pesticides, dumped waste like garbage, untreated sewage,
4 nuclear waste and mining waste pollute the soil, as the dangerous substance from the dumps leak into it. Soil and water pollution are closely connected to each other. Noise has been defined as unwanted sound that irritates and results in stress. High intensity noise has become one of the most disturbing problems of modern life. Noise pollution affects human beings and results in physiological as well as psychological damage. Loud noise can also have other ill effects like heart palpitation, muscle contraction, migraine headaches, nausea and dizziness. Noise can cause serious damages to wildlife while animals are adversely affected due to loud noise. Scope of the study The present study aims at studying the environmental issue and challenges in SMEs in India. In this study the following topics have been focused upon: Environmental laws pertaining to India Problems faced by SMEs in incorporating the environmental laws Environmental pollution Air; Water; Noise; and Waste Management This research aims to focus on environmental issues and challenges in SMEs. This is expected to ensure the productivity and welfare of the society contributing to sustainable development. The research amalgamates operations with supply chain and environmental management in order to balance a variety of corporate objectives such as resource conservation, pollution prevention and competitiveness, etc. The functional perspective brings together different functional fields like, Total Quality Management (TQM), Total Quality Environmental Management (TQEM), Re-engineering, Waste management, Reverse logistics, etc. This research will be effective in developing optimal strategies that balance environmental and economic costs. Further, it shall contribute to long-term betterment of industry and society as a whole.
5 Research Objectives The manufacturing sector in SMEs has been characterized by high consumption of natural resources in one form or the other. It is also a potent source of waste generation, ecosystem disruption and depletion of natural resources. Specifically, the study aims To identify environmental issues and challenges and the extent of implementation at various levels. To identify the extent of implementation of environmental protection practices at various levels of operation in select SMEs. To explore the differences, if any, with regard to implementation of environmental protection procedures and techniques across select SMEs. To develop a conceptual model covering different aspects as regards different environmental issues and challenges concerning selected SMEs and their impact and benefits so derived. To ascertain the validity of the conceptual model interlinking various environmental concerns with environmental performance and benefits derived. To ascertain the benefits derived as a result of implementation of environmental protection procedures and techniques with regard to resource conservation, competitiveness and economic performance. Research Strategy In this research work, following research techniques are employed Questionnaire-based survey: Questionnaire-based survey is an established approach and technique to obtain respondents opinion on a range of issues related to a research problem. In the present research work this is used to gain an insight into the environmental issues and challenges in select Indian SMEs. Hypothesis testing and Model validation: The hypotheses relating to dimensions of environmental concerns with organizational variables and hypothesis based on impact of different dimensions on environmental concerns were tested. For this purpose Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) and Structural equation modeling (SEM) have been used. SEM is used to quantify relationship between interdependent variables related to environmental
6 issues, environmental challenges, environmental management practices, pollution prevention, resource conservation, competitiveness and economic performance. Proposed Research Model The proposed research model has been crystallized after thorough review of literature. The review covered various aspects of business operations and helped identify seven latent constructs. These constructs are viz. Issues, Challenges, Environmental Management Practices (pollution related & others), Resource Conservation, Pollution Prevention, Competitiveness and Economic Performance. The research model indicating the relationship amongst these variables is presented as Exhibit 1 EXHIBIT 1: PROPOSED RESEARCH MODEL ENVRN. ISSUES ENVRN. CHALLENGES POLLUTION PREVENTION RESOURCE CONSERVATION ECONOMIC PERFORMANCE COMPETITIVENESS ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT PRACTICES Lean Manufacturing Improved Technology TQM Reengineering Reverse Logistics Remanufacturing Finance/Cost Waste Management Govt. Policies/Regul.
7 Research Hypotheses Research hypotheses were formulated based on extensive literature survey/review and discussions with professionals & experts. In all thirty-eight null hypotheses have been framed and they are categorized into two sets. The first set comprises hypotheses relating dimensions of environmental concerns (environmental issues, environmental challenges, environmental management practices, resource conservation, pollution prevention, competitiveness & economic performance) with organizational variables namely nature of industry (Lock, hardware & allied; Pottery/Ceramic; Leather & Tannery; and Glass), organization status (Micro scale; Small scale; or Medium scale), number of employees (< 25; 26 to 50; 51 to 100; > 100) and number of suppliers associated with (< 5; 6 to 10; 11 to 20; > 20). The second set comprises hypotheses ascertaining impact of different dimensions of environmental concerns on each other. Keeping in view the objectives of the study the following hypotheses were formulated: Hypothesis based on Dimensions of Environmental Concerns across Organizational Variables H 01 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental issues with respect to the nature of industry. H 02 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental issues with respect to organizational status. H 03 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental issues with respect to number of employees.
8 H 04 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental issues with respect to the number of suppliers associated with. H 05 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental challenges with respect to the nature of industry. H 06 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental challenges with respect to organizational status. H 07 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental challenges with respect to number of employees. H 08 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental challenges with respect to the number of suppliers associated with. H 09 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental management practices with respect to the nature of industry. H 010 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental management practices with respect to organizational status. H 011 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental management practices with respect to number of employees. H 012 There is no significant difference in the mean value of environmental management practices with respect to the number of suppliers associated with. H 013 There is no significant difference in the mean value of prevention of environmental pollution with respect to the nature of industry. H 014 There is no significant difference in the mean value of prevention of environmental pollution to organizational status. H 015 There is no significant difference in the mean value of prevention of environmental pollution with respect to number of employees. H 016 There is no significant difference in the mean value of prevention of environmental pollution with respect to number of suppliers associated with.
9 H 017 There is no significant difference in the mean value of resource conservation with respect to nature of industry. H 018 There is no significant difference in the mean value of resource conservation with respect to organizational status. H 019 There is no significant difference in the mean value of resource conservation with respect to number of employees. H 020 There is no significant difference in the mean value of resource conservation with respect to number of suppliers associated with. H 021 There is no significant difference in the mean value of competitiveness with respect to nature of industry. H 022 There is no significant difference in the mean value of competitiveness with respect to organizational status. H 023 There is no significant difference in the mean value of competitiveness with respect to number of employees. H 024 There is no significant difference in the mean value of competitiveness with respect to number of suppliers associated with. H 025 There is no significant difference in the mean value of economic performance with respect to nature of industry. H 026 There is no significant difference in the mean value of economic performance with respect to organizational status. H 027 There is no significant difference in the mean value of economic performance with respect to number of employees. H 028 There is no significant difference in the mean value of economic performance with respect to number of suppliers associated with. Hypothesis based on impact of different dimensions of environmental concerns
10 H 029 There is no significant impact of environmental issues on environmental management practices with regard to select SMEs. H 030 There is no significant impact of environmental challenges on environmental management practices with regard to select SMEs. H 031 There is no significant impact of environmental management practices on resource conservation with regard to select SMEs. H 032 There is no significant impact of environmental management practices on pollution prevention with regard to select SMEs. H 033 There is no significant impact of resource conservation on competitiveness of select SMEs. H 034 There is no significant impact of resource conservation on economic performance of select SMEs. H 035 SMEs. There is no significant impact of pollution prevention on competitiveness of select H 036 There is no significant impact of pollution prevention on economic performance of select SMEs. H 037 There is no significant of competitiveness on economic performance of select SMEs. H 038 There is no significant impact of economic performance on competitiveness of select SMEs. Research Design According to Yin (2003), the research design is the logical sequence that connects the empirical data to a study s initial research questions and, ultimately, to its conclusions The research design comprises the blueprint for the collection, measurement and analysis of data. The research design states both the structure of the research problem and the plan of exploration used to obtain empirical evidence in relation to the problem.
11 For this research purpose a conclusive research design approach has been used. In the first place, a descriptive research design approach is used, where a conceptual model is developed, comprising of the broad dimensions of the study. In the second part, in order to validate the cause-effect relationship among the different dimensions (variables) of the research, a causal research design approach is used. Surveys were carried out using a questionnaire as research tool to collect the data. It is an established approach to obtain respondents opinion on a range of issues related to a research problem. Selection of Survey Method The decision to choose a survey method may be based on a number of factors which include sampling, type of population, question form, question content, response rate, costs and duration of data collection (Aaker, Kumar and Dey, 2002). Owing to the nature of study it was decided to personally administer the structured research instrument developed for the study. Simple random sampling technique was employed to collect the data from the executives or the entrepreneurs. However, it can be very time consuming if a wide geographical region is involved. The method allows researcher to ensure that the data covered is free from biasness and the sample represents complete population. Though there are bound to be some biasness in the selection of the sample, it can be eliminated to some extent by covering the larger population in the overall sample. Measurement Scale To increase the response rate and facilitate respondents, the questionnaire included closeended questions. A five point Likert s scale was used for this purpose. Two types of measurement scales were used in this research: Nominal and Interval. Nominal scales were used for identification purposes because they have no numeric value (Hayes, 1998). Interval scale was used to measure the subjective characteristics of the respondents. This scale was used due to its strength in arranging the objects in a specified order as well as being able to measure the distance between the differences in response ratings (Malhotra, 2007).
12 Questionnaire Development and Administration Development of research instrument involves identification of constructs, method of survey to be employed, questionnaire design, re-testing of questionnaire and administration of the final questionnaire. Specification of the Information Needed The objectives at the first stage were two folds; identifying the information required and determining the source from where the information could be obtained. This stage begins with identifying the information needed to meet the research objectives. For this purpose, a conclusive study was carried out. The industries selected for the research purpose included Lock, hardware & allied, Pottery/Ceramic, Leather & Tannery and Glass. The selected SMEs are highly polluting in nature, polluting the environment in one-way or the other. Lock, hardware & allied causes water, air and noise pollution. Leather and Tannery industry causes water, air as well as noise pollution while Pottery/Ceramic industry causes water, air and soil pollution. Glass industry causes air and noise pollution. The questionnaire was developed after the review of available literature and in depth interviews and discussions with the top and middle management of different companies of the selected sector (lock hardware & allied, leather & tannery, pottery/ceramic and glass) located in the state of Uttar Pradesh in India. From these interviews, feedback was obtained on the variables so that they can be considered for inclusion in preliminary questionnaire. The questionnaire so developed had the scientific basis of evolvement of the questions, which could be considered reliable. The questionnaire was developed in English and translated into national language Hindi, which is also the local language. Ramachandran (1991) suggested that, if needed, the questionnaire should be translated into a local language to avoid miscommunication and misinterpretation. Structure and Content Validity of the Questionnaire A number of measures are available to measure the reliability of the research instrument. Measures of variables should have validity and reliability in order to draw valid inferences
13 from the research (Cronbach, 1971; Nunally, 1978). Reliability means consistency or trustworthiness. Reliability deals with how consistently similar measures produce similar results (Rosental & Rosnow, 1984). Reliability is the internal consistency of the measurement, which is the degree of inter-correlations among the various items in the instruments that constitute the scale (Nunally, 1978). Content validity primarily depends on an appeal to the proprietary of the content and the way it is presented (Nunally, 1978). The selection of measurement items in the questionnaire was based on review of available literature and evaluation by executives and academicians, thus ensuring the content validity of the questionnaire. The construct validity was tested through an exploratory factor analysis. Factor Analysis is a means of describing groups of highly correlated variables by a single underlying construct, or factor that is responsible for the observed correlations. Kim and Mueller (1978), has suggested that only those items, which had a factor loading of more than 0.4 are to be retained in the questionnaire. Reliability & Validity Analysis According to Leedy and Ormrod (2005), reliability and validity are essential characteristics of research because they ensure the adequacy of research and the validity of conclusions. The ability to repeat tests over time with the same degree of accuracy and precision is one of the most important parts of research design and instrumentation. Reliability is the internal consistency of the measurement, which is the degree of inter-correlations among the various items in the instruments that constitute the scale (Nunally, 1978). Reliability means repeatability or consistency. Reliability analysis helps in analyzing whether the same set of items would educe the same responses if the same questions are re-administered to the same respondents. Validity of a measurement is defined as the extent to which the instrument measures what it is supposed to measure. Reliability is defined as the extent to which a score ensures an underlying construct with stability and consistency (Singleton & Strait, 2005). One of the most common ways of computing the correlation values among the questions on the instruments is by using the Cronbach's alpha (Cronbach, 1951), which is numerical coefficient of reliability. According to Schuessler, (1971) Cronbach s Alpha value greater than 0.60 suggests a good reliability. For our research purpose, Cronbach s Alpha value greater than 0.6 has been considered satisfactory for measurement of the realiability estimates.
14 Exploratory Factor Analysis Exploratory factor analysis (EFA) is a multivariate statistical method where a multivariate normal random vector defined mean and covariance matrix is reduced to linear combinations of the random variables. It is applied as a data reduction or structure detection method. It is used to uncover the underlying structure of a relatively large set of variables. Factor analysis is a means of describing groups of highly correlated variables by a single underlying construct or factor that is responsible for the observed correlations. KMO and Bartlett s Test (Factor Analysis) for Testing the Validity of the Questionnaire To test and verify the dimensionality, construct validity and reliability of the scale items, KMO and Bartlett s Test was conducted. These items are Issues, Challenges, Environmental Management, Pollution Prevention, Resource Conservation, Competitiveness and Economic Performance. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measure of sampling adequacy tests whether the partial correlations among variables are small. Further it should be greater than 0.5 for a satisfactory factor analysis to proceed. Larger values of the KMO measures denote that the factor analysis of the variables is a possible option. Bartlett s test of sphericity tests whether the correlations matrix is an identity matrix, which would indicate that the factor model is inappropriate. The Bartlett s test of sphericity is used to test the null hypothesis and to check that the variables in the population correlation matrix are uncorrelated. The Kaiser-Meyer-Olkin measures of sampling adequacy is greater than 0.790, and the observed significant level is It is small enough to reject the hypothesis. It is concluded that the strength of the relationship among variables is strong and, therefore, we can proceed for factor analysis of the data. Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) Confirmatory factor analysis was conducted using AMOS Anderson and Gerbing (1988), have suggested that the measurement model (relationships between observed items and latent constructs) should be analyzed before the structural model (relationships between latent constructs). The reason for this is that it is essential to understand what one is
15 measuring prior to testing relationships (Vandenberg and Lance, 2000). Confirmatory Factor Analysis (CFA) was carried out on both the dependent and independent variables without any structural relationships. In order to test the data structure, CFA was applied. Tools used for Data Analysis The final step was to select the appropriate statistical tools for the analysis of the primary data which was collected for the study by using the specifically developed research questionnaire. Using different statistical tools such as SPSS 16.0 and AMOS 16.0 software, the organized data were then analyzed. This analysis gives a meaning to data through frequency distribution, which are useful to identify differences among groups while in order to test hypotheses, ANOVA was applied. Analysis of Variance Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) is a collection of statistical models and their associated procedures, in which the observed variance is partitioned into components due to different explanatory variables. This method generates values that can be tested to determine whether a significant relationship exists between variables. Generally ANOVA is applied when comparison of means for more than two samples is to be drawn. However, ANOVA method can also be applied in case of means for two samples as well. Structural Equation Modeling (SEM) Some reasons for the wide spread use of these models are their parsimony (they belong to the family of linear model), their ability to model complex systems (where simultaneous & reciprocal relation may be present), and their ability to model relationship among non observable variables while taking measurement errors into account (Jöreskog & Sörbom, 1989; 1993; Jöreskog et. al., 2000). The model was estimated by normal theory maximum likelihood using the AMOS 16.0 software. Since this study required the models to be tested for best fit, SEM seemed to be appropriate analysis method as it produces more comprehensive overall goodness of fit, than those found in other traditional methods.
16 Limitations of the Study Academic research on any topic is a continuous process. Therefore, each part of the research has to have some limitations in the form of either the resource constraints, be it the money and time or the self defined scope of the study. The present research work too had some limitations which, in fact, were not confined to any particular stage of the work. Following are the limitations of this study: In a survey based research, more specifically questionnaire based, the lack of involvement and cooperation of the respondents is a serious issue. The same was realized during the process of data collection in this study. Some respondents appeared reluctant to participate in the survey. They apprehended that a study on environmental issues and challenges in SMEs (particularly in the respondent s firm) may bring out the weak & lacking points on their part that can put the organization in some trouble. Generally the organizations were found to be apprehensive of possible misuse of the information researcher seeks from them about their business. Therefore, the respondents appeared less cooperative with regard to participation in the survey. Although the sample for this study is selected by census sampling method, the researcher has included the entire population restricted to the following segments a) Lock, Hardware & Allied b) Pottery/Ceramic, c) Leather and Tannery, and d) Glass Thus, the interpretation of the findings cannot be generalized to the larger population of the SMEs. The study focused upon some key dimensions viz. Environmental Issues, Environmental Challenges, Environmental Management Practices, Pollution Prevention, Resource Conservation, Competitiveness and Economic Performance only. However, there may be other factors also, e.g. Green Supply Chain Management, Environmental Accounting etc. that too could have been considered. However, the inclusion of all these factors would have made the study unwieldy. Therefore, only some key factors were focused upon. This too may be considered as a limitation of the study.
17 The study was restricted and confined to a limited geographical area of Uttar Pradesh in India. Exploring data from other areas of the country would have made the task of data collection a tedious one. Paucity of time was also a constraint with regard to data collection as personally approaching the select SMEs over a wide geographical area required a lot of time, considerable effort and money. Key findings The key findings of the present research work related to environmental issues, environmental challenges, environmental concerns, pollution prevention, resource conservation, competitiveness and economic performance are discussed below There exist significant differences in the mean values environmental issues, environmental challenges, environmental management practices, pollution prevention, competitiveness, and economic performance with respect to nature of industry. Leather and Tannery industry pay highest importance to environmental issues as compared to other industries. Lock, Hardware and Allied face more environmental challenges as compared to other SMEs. Pottery /Ceramic industry pay more importance to environmental management practices as compared to other industries. Leather and Tannery industry is more concerned towards the prevention of environmental pollution in comparison to other industries. Leather and Tannery industry employ more competitive strategies as compared to other industries. Pottery/Ceramic industry performs economically better as compared to other industries. There exist significant differences in the mean values of environmental issues, environmental challenges, environmental management practices, pollution prevention, resource conservation, competitiveness and economic performance with respect to organizational status. Organizations with medium operation pay more attention towards environmental issues as compared to small and micro level organizations.
18 Micro level organizations face more environmental challenges as compared to small and medium organizations. Medium scale organizations pay more importance to environmental management practices as compared to micro and small scale organizations. Medium scale organizations are more concerned towards the prevention of environmental pollution as compared to micro or small scale organizations. Small scale organizations are more concerned towards the resource conservation as compared to micro and medium scale organization. Medium scale organizations are more competitive as compared to micro or small organizations. Medium scale organizations perform economically better as compared to micro or small scale organizations. There exist significant differences in the mean values of environmental issues, environmental challenges, environmental management practices, pollution prevention, resource conservation, competitiveness and economic performance with respect to number of employees. Organizations having employees in the range 51 to 100 pay more importance to environmental issues as compared to organizations having less than 51 and more than 100 employees. Organizations employing less than 25 employees have to deal with more environmental challenges as compared to organizations employing either 25 or more employees. Organizations having more than 100 employees pay more importance to environmental management practices in comparison to organizations employing lee than 100 employees. Organizations having strength of employees in the range of 51 to 100 are more concerned towards the prevention of environmental pollution as compared to organizations having less than 51 or more than 100 employees. Organizations employing employees in the range of 51 to 100 pay more importance to resource conservation as compared to organizations employing either less than or equal to 50 or more than 100 employees.
19 Organizations engaging more than 100 employees are more competitive as compared to other organizations engaging up to 100 employees. Organizations employing more than 100 employees perform economically better than the organizations employing up to 100 employees. There exist significant differences in the mean values of environmental management practices, pollution prevention, resource conservation, and economic performance with respect to number of suppliers associated with. It has also been observed that Organizations having more than 20 suppliers pay more importance to environmental management practices as compared to organizations having suppliers up to 20. Organizations engaging more than 20 suppliers pay more importance to prevention of environmental activities as compared to organizations engaging up to 20 suppliers. Organizations associated with more than 20 suppliers pay more importance to resource conservation as compared to organizations having suppliers either 20 or less. Organizations having more than 20 suppliers perform economically better than organizations having up to 20 suppliers. Nature of industry be it micro, small or medium does not have any significance with regard to resource conservation practices. The number of suppliers does not have any significance as far as environmental issues are concerned. Organizations having any number of suppliers encounter similar environmental issues. The number of suppliers does not have any significance with respect to environmental challenges. Organizations having any number of suppliers face similar environmental challenges. The number of suppliers making the supplies to the industry does not have any significance with regard to competitiveness. Organizations having any number of suppliers encounter similar environmental challenges. There exists a positive significant impact of environmental challenges on environmental management practices. There exists a negative but insignificant impact of resource conservation on economic performance. There exists a negative but insignificant impact of pollution prevention on competitiveness.
20 There exists a negative but insignificant impact of competitiveness on economic performance. There exists a positive significant impact of environmental issues on environmental management practices. There is a positive significant impact of environmental management practices on resource conservation. There exists a positive significant impact of environmental management practices on pollution prevention. There exists a positive significant impact of resource conservation on competitiveness. There is a positive significant impact of pollution prevention on economic performance. There exists a positive significant impact of economic performance on competitiveness. Suggestions In order to make this planet worth living, it becomes strictly important to keep a check on the growing levels of environmental pollution in the Indian SMEs. Problems related with the environment be it air, water, noise, or soil pollution, solid hard waste disposal, forest and agricultural degradation of land, ozone layer depletion etc are the most sensitive issues now a days. Government rules and regulations are not implemented to its full length. Environmental awareness of the masses is required to be raised. Though government has taken some steps in this direction by introducing environmental education in the curriculum of schools and colleges, still a lot of other steps are required to be taken. The government may provide financial as well as technical help to SMEs in order to ensure proper implementation of suggested rules and regulations conforming to international standards. Social activist s role and the consumer awareness can help in protecting the environment to some extent. The firms, on their part, may realize their responsibilities of protecting the environment and conserving the natural resources, guaranteeing better returns as a by-product. The business organizations are required to take steps in this direction. As the awareness regarding the
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