PurposeThe purpose of this paper is to explore how sustainability can become a source of competitive advantage for mature manufacturing sectors where technologies are standardized, and innovation is mainly generated across the value chain and not by individual companies.Design/methodology/approachFrom the methodological point of view, this research estimates the sustainability status of ceramic production in the Sassuolo district (Italy), using the Life Cycle Sustainability Assessment (LCSA) model, and changing the observation point for the analysis, from the enterprise (micro level) to the entire sector (meso level).FindingsThis paper provides an analysis of the environmental, economic and social impacts of the four main types of ceramic tiles manufactured in Italy, both in aggregate terms for the entire sector and per square meter of product.Practical implicationsThe methodological approach used in this research is easy to replicate both for companies when designing their sustainability strategies and for public decision makers when assessing the sustainability performance of a sector or supply chain.Social implicationsFor the first time, a socio-economic impact assessment is proposed for the ceramic sector, conducted in parallel with the environmental impact assessment through stakeholder mapping and prioritization.Originality/valueThis paper conceptualizes the theme of relations and interdependencies between ceramic producers organized in industrial districts and the territories in which they operate in order to determine empirically the sustainability performance of Italian ceramic sector, using the LCSA model with a territorial extension that presupposes an innovative contribution to current literature and practice.
Smart and Sustainable Built Environment Market – Emerald Publishing
Published: Apr 1, 2019
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