A cluster-based approach as an effective way to implement the ECAP (Environmental Compliance Action Program): evidence from some good practices
SMEs can have a considerable impact on the environment. This is not necessarily through individual pressure, but through their combined total impact across environmental sectors. Most SMEs are ‘vulnerably compliant’, especially due to lack of awareness concering the environmental impacts of their own activities, ignorance of environmental legislation, lack of capacity to tackle their environmental impacts. Within this framework, the networking approach known as the “cluster approach” and, especially, its key-instrument: the Environmental Management System, have shown their ability to strengthen the environmental competence and know-how at the local level, as well as the improvement of environmental performances of both individual SMEs and entire productive areas, considered as a whole. The paper aims at presenting the key methodological and operational issues emerging from local experiences, describing them as good practices, and to explain how the “cluster approach” has been further enhanced by way of a EU-funded LIFE project, currently in progress.
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