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Lean and green integration in production systems in Sweden - barriers, incentives and opportunities


Martin Kurdve, Mats Zackrisson , Magnus Wiktorsson, Ulrika Harlin

Publication Type:

Journal article


International Journal of Cleaner Production




This paper focuses on integration of operations management, specifically production system models with environmental management and related issues such as quality and safety. Based on knowledge concerning lean-based improvement programmes for company-specific production systems (XPS) and integration between formal management systems, such as ISO 9001 and 14001, industrial practices from integrating management systems with the XPS were studied. A literature-based comparison between formal management systems and XPS is made, indicating integration potentials. The empirical research is an analysis of five vehicle and automotive companies in which various efforts have been made to integrate their management systems with their XPS. The results show that although conscious steps have been taken since the introduction of ISO 14001 in integrating environmental management into everyday operations, there are still obstacles to overcome. To fully include sustainability aspects, the characteristics of the improvement systems have to be adapted and extended. One barrier to extended integration is the lack of integration strategy. There is further a lack of sustainability metrics and adaptation of improvement methods to push companies' operational performance. In addition, organisational issues still arise concerning the responsibility and ownership of environmental management in relation to operations. Based on these results it is concluded that processes for integration are recommended; however, each organisation needs to consider its operations, corporate culture and business opportunities of its environmental management. Still, incorporating environmental management systems into XPS is seen as an effective way of establishing company commonality in continuous improvement, resulting in holistic understanding and improved organisation performance.


author = {Martin Kurdve and Mats Zackrisson and Magnus Wiktorsson and Ulrika Harlin},
title = {Lean and green integration in production systems in Sweden - barriers, incentives and opportunities},
editor = {D. Huisingh},
volume = {98},
number = {32},
pages = {180--190},
month = {December},
year = {2014},
journal = {International Journal of Cleaner Production},
url = {}