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Armindo dos Santos de Sousa Teodósio


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Armindo dos Santos de Sousa Teodósio
Andréa Alcione de Souza
Pontifícia Universidade Católica de Minas Gerais


This paper analyzes the development and incorporation of Environmental Management Systems by Brazilian organizations. The author discuss the implications of its diffusion in the national productive arena, distinguishing its relevance for the advance of the Management Theory and for the modernization of the Brazilian organizations.

I- Introduction

The last decades have been prodigal in social and economic challenges. The internationalization of national economies, the reorganization of the productive processes in the industry, its effects on the "World of the Work" and the crisis of the State hegemony are some of the changes that add to an intense process of discussion of the future of the humanity in the planet, characterized by the important position of environmental questions in the contemporary debate.

The environmental thinkings have brought great questions to the role of the industry in the modern society, not only related to the extraction of natural products, but also to the results of the production and consumption models, based on the increasing of the demand. This process has been intense in those industrial sectors historically associates to the systematic degradation of the environment, as siderurgy.

In the attempt of reply to these questions, there is a proliferation of models and managerial techniques directed to the environmental problems in organizations, like the ISO 14000. These strategies of environmental management many times are faced as definitive and miraculous prescriptions for the challenges in the industry (BRAGA, 1995).

In this arena, a deep reflection about the productive and social pattern that such managerial technologies come acquiring in the Brazilian context and its implications for the modernization of the processes of organizational management they become imperative.

II - Environmental Management & Administration Science

The model of economic development in the western capitalist economies, in some decades ago, was based on the increasing profits of scale through the intensive use of products, mainly of direct extraction in the nature. This form of capitalist development finds its limit in social, economic and politics factors, but over all, which had to the actual damages to the environment (ALVATER, 1995). As PAULA (1997) discussess, the questions become strengh with the scientific prognostics in the sixties on the destruction of the Earth’s natural resources must be understood as part of a bigger crisis: the crisis of the "Modernity".

For KURZ (1997), the environment is "dematerialized" by the organizational rationality in the capitalist society, submitting its substance to the performance criterions, depriving the nature of its real dimension. This imperative molds the thematic economic discussion around the environment.

The incorporation of this subject in the economic sphere inaugurates an intense debate under the possibility of monetary quantification of the environmental damages. This discussion finds great challenges in the rationality of the economic agents in the forecasting and measuring of the biodiversity degradation. (HANEMANN, 1997 and RANDALL, 1997)

Despite the dilemmas faced by the Economy Theory, TORRES et al (1997) considers that the introduction of the environmental questions in this field of knowledge has as the one of its "refresh" and backup of old links with other social sciences, as the Politics and Sociology.

The same can be noticed in Organizational Theory. In this area theses discussions indicate the need of continuous modernization of the productive processes. This change of the managerial logic processes dialectally in the confrontation between groups of divergent interests in the society and, mainly, inside of the organizations (BACKER, 1992).

To AKTOUF (1994), the refreshing of the Management as a knowledge area and intervention (management) in the organizations is linked to the construction of new bases for the organizational culture and the organization-environment, employees-managers and organization-society relations. However, the modernization of the environmental management systems in the organizations seems to be impelled with bigger intensity for external conditionings to the organizational of that for internal factors.

III - State And Environmental Regulation

The Sixties and Seventies can be identified as an intensification of the environmental conscience, with the increasing action of social groups and actors who had started to demand greater attention to the question of the environment degradation by the industry. In accordance with DONAIRE (1994, p. 69) "the chimneys’ smoke passed to be seen as anomaly and not more as an advantage".

In a reply to this social movements appear legal initiatives of regulating the predatory activities in the capitalist countries. The first law of evaluation of environmental impacts, known as National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) appears in the United States in 1968, having as objective the obligation of presentation by the organizations of a report about the environmental impacts of its operations.

In developing countries environmental laws were stimulated from the initiative of the ONU, through the PNUMA (Program of the United Nations for the Environment), that among others questions establish that the evaluation of the environmental impacts must: "to verify the problems, conflicts and aggressions to the natural resources, that also affect the viability of the project and as this will be able to cause damages to the population, the environment and surrounding enterprises" BARBIERI (1995, p. 79).

In the Brazilian case, the first law related to environment appeared in 1972, when the World Bank demanded an "Evaluation of Environmental Impacts" for financing the Sobradinho’s hidroelectric project. The Federal Constitution of 1988 includes a chapter about the environment and authorizes the creation of the CONAMA (National Council of Environment), besides favoring the sprouting of other federal, state and municipal agencies in this area.

To DEMAJOROVIC (1995) the traditional instruments of the State for environmental management are characterized by the control and command regulations, that currently have given to what is called "Economic Instruments". Between the first ones meet a direct regulation of the State, through rigorous laws and efficient politics of inspection, based on the determination of technician standards on the productive process. The emphasis is the reduction of trash and the recycling. On the "Economic Instruments" the strategy is based on the adoption of market mechanisms that cause a rise of the costs and the prices of the products, to the organizations that do not reduce the emission of pollutants.

For the author, the economic instruments of environmental management are more efficient and therefore, more recommendable, mainly for the developing countries, as it is in Brazil. Between its advantages can be mentioned: the incentive to the development of technologies of pollution control in the private sector, the reduction of extensive and detailed legislation of control and its respective institutional apparatuses, and the increase of the adoption of resources by the government for environmental programs of another nature.

In the scope of the control strategies of environmental damages can be observed three distinct phases. In the beginning of the Seventies the priority was the distribution and space disposal of the trashes, with prominence for the location of the urban and industrial trash deposits. In the middle of this decade, the priorities were reducing the generation of trash and to magnify the material recycling, as well as reduce the use of energy. In the Eighties emerge proposals of management of pollutant trashes during all the phases of the economic system. This implies in a deep changeof the behavior of all the social actors, mainly of the organizations. This strategy demands, according to DEMAJOROVIC (1995): 1- a redefinition of the products design (products of long life and easiness of repairing); 2- an alteration in the production model (less consumption of energy and raw materials); 3- a change in the distribution system; 4- a change in the consumption habits (educational programs of ecological awareness).

IV - Environmental Management Systems

These organizational changes suggest that the environmental abordage must happen in all strategic dimensions of the business, or either, beyond the technical aspects of production, also considers the organizational culture, the managerial practices, the decision process and the construction of the strategic planning. As detaches DONAIRE (1994, p. 70):

"the environmental protection leaving of being an exclusive production function to also become a Management function. Contemplated in the organizational structure, intervening with the strategic planning, it started to be an important activity in the organization, either in the development of the activities of routine, either in the quarrel of alternative scenes and the consequent analysis of its evolution, generating politics, goals and plans of action".

An efficient Environmental Management System, according to BACKER (1995), should articulate different organizational areas, with prominence for the sectors of Marketing, Production, Human Resources, Financial and Research & Development. For the author, fits to the Marketing to define and to propagate the image and the philosophy of commercial thread of the organization. To the Production demands the task of measure internal and external risks, through audit process of quality and technician risk, and structure a project of investiment rulled in the reflection of products ecologically correct. The Research & Development area should search the technological vocation of the organization and keep a process of continuous technologic innovation. The Human Resources Department has as goal the environmental education and the construction of the "environmental behavior". Finally, the Financial and Juridical should be put in charge of the reduction of risks and rise of financial advantages, using the execution of ecological audit process and reports.

However, the transition to a model articulated and efficient of environmental management is not a linear process. According to NASCIMENTO (1997, p. 5), can be delineated three basic phases of organizational action and strategy.

Table 1 - Organizational Strategies - External And Internal Pressures

It’s important to remember over all that the process of change of the organizational politics is characterized by the conflict, mainly in environmental aspects. To GUIMARÃES et all (1995), the belief in the total harmony between organizational action and environment represents a very simple vision on the subject. In this area: "the changes that are being delineated need to be argued between the diverse groups of interest, since their implications are not small". (p.73)

The analysis of the environmental strategies adopted by the organization should consider all the complexity that involves the organizational action what in accordance with TORRES et al (1997) demands necessarily the reflection to the following dimensions of the organization in relation to its sector:

1 –the need and possibility of horizontal expansion of the productive activities;
2 - mechanisms of qualification, learning and technological selection for the organization and its productive sector;
3 - operational impact of the activities, differentiated for products and insertion in competitive sectors;
4 - structure of the markets addressees of the production;
5 - politics of production management and qualification of the Human Resources in the organization and its economic sector;
6 - environmental sensitivity of the finance investors.

V - Environment Barriers

Between the variables that can give justifications and motivations for the adoption of environmental management strategies by the organizations, TIBOR & FELDMAN (1996) distinguish two basic types: external and internal. According to NASCIMENTO (1997), examples of external variables would be: governments, environmental law, consumers, shareholders, non-governmental organizations and financial institutions, among others. The internal variables are related to production costs; reduction of wastefulness and/or recycling, energy consumption and substitution of products, among others.

In spite of the fact that the external pressures and the internal motivation are significant, the difficulties of construct the consensus in this area can be observed in the discussions around the implantation of the environmental certificates (ISO 14000) by the Brazilian organizations (FERNANDES, 1997).

Interested over all in opening gates in the external markets, many Brazilians organizations already start to think alternatives for adaptation to the "green label". A question that has generated much controversy between the proper organizations and still remains opened if the new process of certification really represents an advance of the organizational politics in the preservation of the environment or if it would be only a new bureaucratic process with doubtful results, to be followed step by step, as it happens with the certification ISO 9000 (Total Quality Control) in many Brazilian organizations. For BRAGA (1995, p. 47-48), "the emphasis in the environmental certification of procedures bringing serious problems related to the bureaucracy excess, as the crystallization and non flexibility in the organizational practices".

According to author, the ISO 14000 is the call "process barrier", that is based on the establishment of physicist-chemistries standards for emission of liquid and/or gaseous. The ISO 14000 lists as variable representatives of a high quality environmental management: global vision and action, evaluation and register of environmental problems of the organization, establishment of explicit and of an easy measuring goals, systematic control of the production, accomplishment by periodic audits, "commitment of all the organization, the president to the blue color workers " (BRAGA, 1995, p. 47), among others factors.

The "green label " would be classified as a "product barriers". According to BRAGA (1995) this commercial strategy tends to spread out and gain force in the next years. It’s about a partnership between the government and a committee specialized in the environmental judgment products, that determines the basic parameters for the concession of the label to determined products. A question that remains is that this type of barrier "can confound the consumers, bringing the idea which labeled products are inoffensive to the environment" (p. 46), when in the truth can have only passed for a program of reduction of emissions, remaining still more pollutant that other products.

VI- Final Considerations

In the Brazilian case there is the risk of losing of the perception that the diffusion of the techniques of environmental management - the organization – is characterized by a continuous construction and reconstruction (ALTER, 1993), result of the interaction between different organizational actors and conflicting interests (BACKER, 1992). This actors can modify the initial direction of the managerial modernization (VELTZ & ZARIFIAN, 1993). An invariant and/or homogeneous rationality of the actors does not exist: a model of organizational management, far of being a product or ready object to be used, is result of the toggle between economic, technic and social dimensions of the organization.

In such way, becomes relevant search the diffusion of new proposals of environmental management in concrete productive situations, over all when evidences deep lacks and deficiencies in the formation of that will live and play roles related to the environmental management. (BACKER, 1992)

The study of diffusion of the techniques and strategies of environmental management in specific sectors of the Brazilian industry will not only allow the construction theoretical structures coherent with a "managerial Brazilian practice", as well as will deepen the reflection on the productive and social pattern that such managerial technologies come acquiring and its implications for the modernization of the Brazilian organizations. It will bring more "lights" on the discussion of the environmental management to be or not an ephemeral idea in the Organizational Knowledge.

VII – References

AKTOUF, Omar., Le management entre tradition et renouvellement, Boucherville, Canada: Gaetan Morin Éditeur Itée, 1994.

ALTER, Norbert, "La crise structurelle des modèles d’organisation", Sociologie du travail, 35 (1, 1993), 52-65.

ALVATER, E., O preço da riqueza, São Paulo: Editora da Universidade Estadual Paulista, 1995.

BACKER, P., Le management vert, Paris: Dunod, 1992.

BARBIERI, J. C., "Avaliação de impacto ambiental na legislação brasileira", Revista de Administração de Empresas, 35-2(March/April 1995), 35-45.

BRAGA, T. M., "Meio ambiente e grandes empresas: otimismo do discurso, pessimismo da ação", Anais do Seminário de Economia Mineira, 4 (December 1995), 43-68.

DEMAJOROVIC, J., "Da política tradicional de tratamento do lixo à política de gestão de resíduos sólidos - as novas prioridades", Revista de Administração de Empresas, 35-3 (May-June 1995), 88-93.

DONAIRE, D., "Considerações sobre a influência da variável ambiental na empresa" Revista de Administração de Empresas, 34-2 (March-April 1994), 68-77.

FERNANDES, D. "Indústria já diverge sobre o selo verde - certificação gera polêmica", Folha de São Paulo, 10/03/97, p 10.

GUIMARÃES, P. C. V. et all, "Estratégias empresariais e instrumentos econômicos de gestão ambiental", Revista de Administração de Empresas, 35-5 (September-October 1995), 72-82.

HANEMANN, W.M. "Economia e preservação da biodiversidade", WILSON, E. O. (ed.), Biodiversidade, Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1997, 245-252.

KURZ, R., Os últimos combates, Petrópolis, RJ: Vozes, 1997.

NASCIMENTO, L. F., "O desempenho ambiental das empresas do setor metal-mecânico no RS", Anais do XXI ENANPAD – Encontro Nacional dos Programas de Pós-Graduação em Administração. Vol. 1, ANPAD, 1997, 1-15.

PAULA, J. A. (coord.), Biodiversidade, população e economia: uma região da mata atlântica, Belo Horizonte: CEDEPLAR/UFMG; ECMXC; PADCT/CIAMB, 1997.

RANDALL, A. "O que os economistas tradicionais têm a dizer sobre o valor da biodiversidade", WILSON, E. O. (ed.), Biodiversidade, Rio de Janeiro: Nova Fronteira, 1997, 275-283.

TIBOR, T. & FELDMAN, I., ISO 14000: um guia para as normas de gestão ambiental, São Paulo: Futura, 1996.

TORRES, H. G. et al, "Estrutura industrial e impactos ambientais: um estudo das empresas siderúrgicas e da poluição hídrica na bacia do Rio Piracicaba (MG)", Nova Economia, 4 (December 1997), 9-84.

VELTZ, Pierre et ZARIFIAN, Philippe, Vers de nouveaux modèles d’organization?, Sociologie du travail, 35-1, 1993, 24-45.

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