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International Business Environment Essay

EXECUTIVE SUMMARY

Careful consideration must be given to key factors before a company makes the decision to expand into foreign markets. PharmaMed, a U.S. based multinational manufacturer and distributor of medicines and consumer healthcare company, has identified Mexico as an extremely promising country for expansion. It is true that U.S. commercial expansion in Mexico has grown considerably over the past years, especially since the 1994 North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) began promoting industrial development. Nonetheless, PharmaMed is aware that Mexico is not a straightforward country to operate in and economic, cultural and political forces can dent commercial objectives. This paper seeks to examine the suitability of the target country for further pharmaceutical expansion. We will conduct an analysis of cultural, political, economic, legal and protectionist issues in order to devise an international expansion strategy. The findings will determine recommendations on whether PharmaMed should adopt a trade only policy or venture into Foreign Direct Investment (FDI).

1 Introduction

Globalisation progressed significantly in the past decade facilitated by modern communication, transportation and improved infrastructure as well as political choice to consciously open markets to international trade and finance (WTO, GATT, as well as regional trade blocs: EU, NAFTA, ASEAN, etc). Besides the possibility of increased sales and revenues, there are several reasons why companies should consider targeting the global marketplace. Toftoy (1999) identifies the drive to offset sales decline in the domestic market. Even if the sales are not declining in the domestic market, being present in other markets can act as a safeguard for the future. A further international trade theory is put forward by Vernon (1966, 1971) and Wells (1968, 1969) arguing that a country will begin by exporting its product and later undertaking foreign direct investment as the product moves through its life cycle. Levitt’s 1965 Product Life cycle model illustrates this pattern (see figure 1)

Essentially, macroeconomics risks and operational risks are diversified by engaging in business in more than one country. If operations are underperforming in one country, hopefully, the performance will be offset by profitable performance in another country. Another argument for overseas trade is the idea of improving competitive position. This, ties in with the opportunity to lower manufacturing and labour costs. Additionally, possible funding benefits from the trade block to which the host country belongs may also influence a company to expand overseas.

However, cultural and language barriers, political issues and variations in religious beliefs, societal norms and business negotiation styles impact how business should be conducted with international counterparts.

The aim of this report is to provide guidance to PharmaMed’s proposals to expand overseas into Mexico. Key analysis on the host country will help the company decide whether to engage upon an export only policy or to undertake investment in the country.

1.1 The Pharmaceutical industry: PharmaMed

Consistent with most industries “the economic, social, cultural and political changes that come with globalization create both opportunities and challenges for pharmaceutical industry” (Mansell, 2010). The Wall Street Journal (July 2009, cited in Medical News) pinpoints and an important development in the U.S. pharmaceutical industry in its observation that for the first time in half a century, sales of prescription drugs declined in 2009, historically the industry’s biggest and most profitable market. Consequently, the industry reaction is a more favourable perception of expansion into developing countries. Indeed, Pfizer has set up operations in China, India, Brazil, Russia and Turkey. With sales totalling $1.4 billon from emerging markets in the first quarter of 2009, the company is “benefiting from the belief… in the developing world that branded medicines are worth paying a premium for because they are safer and more effective than generics”(Wall Street Journal, July 2010). A look at such positive success stories both encourages and forces PharmaMed to follow suit in order to maximize revenue growth. Like its competitors PharmaMed has witnessed declining sales in its primary medication distribution offering. As a result senior management has set in place investigative plans to expand into the developing country markets. As such, the focus is on the E7 Countries (China, India, Brazil, Russia, Indonesia, Mexico, and Turkey) in particular Mexico. This interest is based on the literature that ‘the E7 countries represent increasing opportunities for pharmaceutical companies constrained by maturing markets in the West’ (Espicom Business Intelligence, 2010).

1.2 Mexico

Emerging Pharmaceuticals Markets Globally (2008) reports that the E7 pharmaceutical markets are expected to grow at a CAGR 11% between 2007 and 2012, reaching revenues worth nearly $116 billion. In contrast the G7 pharmaceutical markets are projected to grow at CAGR 4.95% between the same periods. The question is what makes Mexico a favourable environment for expansionSignificantly, Espicom Business Intelligence (2010) in its pharmaceutical market analysis report observes that 2010 saw the announcement of regulatory measures to simplify regulatory procedures. Which include the transmission of drug registration or increasing OTC (over the counter) medicines already registered in the USA and Canada. These measures should prove to be attractive to a manufacturer and distribution of Medication Company, such as PharmaMed.

2The business system and the national culture

The concept of National Business System as launched by Whitley (1999) centres around the belief that companies do not operate in a vacuum, but are economic actors affected by numerous influences from the environment. Companies operate in markets, business sectors and have to comply with law and regulations. The majority of these influences are linked to the nation in which the company is operating. The U.S. and Mexico share many common interests related to trade, investment, and regulatory cooperation are closely tied in other areas as well. Indeed, the economic relationship with Mexico has strengthened considerably under the 1994 NAFTA alliance in the form of the 1993 and 1998 Foreign Investment Law (FIL). Which, provided a broad scope for foreign investment and simplified the process of registering foreign companies. Figure 2 shows that as a result trade between the two countries have more than tripled since the agreement was implemented (Villarreal, 2010).

Figure 2: Trade effectives of NAFTA implementation. Total U.S. Mexico trade in goods in billions of US dollars

Importantly, lower NAFTA tariffs on pharmaceuticals have fostered greater choice for imports needed (US Department of Commerce, 1994). A world class patent regime in Mexico, bolstered by NAFTA’ patent provision, gives innovators a favourable environment to launch new components. Indeed, the Mexican pharmaceutical market is the leading and most developed in Latin America and the ninth largest worldwide, with sales valued at US$13.5 billion in 2006 (Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (MOITI, 1996). It is important to take the state as the basic geopolitical unit for studying the operation of companies. States remain the primary unit of political competition and mobilization. Thus, individuals and collective actors usually organize themselves at the national level to compete for state resources and legitimacy. As such an organization wishing to enter trading activities within a given country will be subject to regulations, and the pharmaceutical industry is no exception. Thus, MOITI (1996) cites that according to current regulations, in order to export pharmaceutical products to Mexico, the exporting country must register and import those pharmaceutical products through a host pharmaceutical manufacturer, a local manufacturer holding a sanitary licence for such products. This firm acts a “guarantor” with local authorities vis a vis the foreign company, in particular with regards to manufacturing practices, registration and quality control.

Connected with the national business system are cultural issues that will inevitably come into play in the international trading process. How is this reflective in the pharmaceutical industryAnalytical insight into Mexican culture reveals the importance of the family; the deeply held rooted Roman Catholic religion, the nationalist pride, the high degree of personal sensitivity of Mexicans and the importance given to time. All of which have implications in communication styles, decision-making, negotiating, contracting and planning and business etiquette. Cultural sensitivity must be the foundation of business activities. The literature defines cultural sensitivity in rather general terms, such as “understanding the cultural context of each market and the degree which (markets) are culturally similar” (Toyne and Walters, 1993). There is, however, agreement that cultural sensitivity requires cultural awareness, avoidance of culture-bound thinking and reduction of cultural biases (Douglas and Craig, 1983, Toyne and Walters, 1993). There is also consensus that culture is multidimensional. For example, Hofstede (1991) identifies five dimensions along which culture differs: power distance, individualism, uncertainty avoidance, masculinity and long term orientation. Figure 3 illustrates the results of these dimensions when applied to Mexico.

In carrying out our analysis on Hofstede’s cultural dimensional scores we will draw on information from the itim International website. As can be seen Mexico’s highest Hofstede dimension is Uncertainty Avoidance (82), indicating that society’s low level of tolerance for uncertainty, does not readily accept change and is risk adverse. Mexico’s low Individualism (30) ranking indicates that an inclination to collectivism rather than to individualism. This is manifest in close long term commitment to the ‘member group’, be it family, extended family, or extended relationships. A high Masculinity ranking (69) indicates a high degree of gender differentiation roles. The male dominates a significant portion of society and power structures. Finally, the high ranking Power Distance Index (81) is indicative of a high level of inequality of power and wealth within Mexican society. To achieve an appreciation of Mexico’s and the USA’s cultural makeup it is vital to provide a comparative study of Hofstede’s analysis of cultural dimensions applied to the USA (see figure 4).

Figure 4: Geert Holstede Cultural Dimensional scores for USA

Importantly, the USA’s Individualism score is the highest in the world, demonstrating the high extent to which people look after themselves and their immediate family only. The Power Distance score of 40 indicates that U.S. society is decentralized with a flatter organizational structure, a smaller portion of supervisors and employees empowered to make their own decisions. A high masculine score places greater value on success, money and material possessions. Americans score 62 on the masculinity, 24% higher than the world average. The USA’s UAI score of 46 is 38% lower than the world average. This suggests that Americans tolerate much more risk and are more comfortable with ambiguities and rapid change. Finally, the USA’s low LTO score of 29 indicates that the importance of the beliefs of meeting obligations and also reflect a tendency for an appreciation for cultural traditions.

In order to achieve successful international trading results in Mexico PharmaMed must respect Mexican cultural strong uncertainty avoidance, low individualism, centralized power structures and higher masculinity scores. The purpose of employing Hofstede’s dimensions is to show that U.S. culture and Mexican cultural differences do not doom overseas expansion to failure. Instead, they suggest that cultural sensitivity and cultural adaptation on the part of both countries is especially important to the success of the venture. This chapter focused on how understanding of the local culture and business environment can give managers an advantage in the pharmaceutical industry. Such differences in culture and the way of life in Mexico necessitate that managers develop international expertise to manage on a contingency basis according to the host-country environment. International managers can benefit greatly from understanding the nature, dimensions, and variables of a specific culture and how these affect work and organisational processes. This cultural awareness enables them to develop appropriate policies and determine how to plan, organize, lead, and control in a specific international setting. Such a process of adaptation to the environment is necessary to implement strategy successfully. It also leads to effective interaction in a workforce of increasing cultural diversity, both in the United States and Mexico

3US-Mexico trading patterns in the Pharmaceutical INDUSTRY

Importantly, lower NAFTA tariffs on pharmaceuticals have fostered greater choice for imports needed (US Department of Commerce, 1994). A world class patent regime inMexico, bolstered by NAFTA’ patent provision, gives innovators a favourable environment to launch new components. Indeed, the Mexican pharmaceutical market is the leading and most developed in Latin America and the ninth largest worldwide. According to Business Monitor International‘s (BMI) Mexico Pharmaceuticals & Healthcare Report (2010) the total drug market in Mexico will increase from US$9.79bn in 2009 to US$18.96bn by 2014 at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 14.1%. Thereafter the CAGR will slow to 7.6% to 2019, giving a final market value of US$27.48bn. Per-capita spending on medicines will be US$170 in 2014; up from US$91 in 2009, while the proportion of GDP dedicated to drug spending was 1.13% in 2009 and will reach 1.25% by 2014.

The presence of the US Food and Drug Administration FDA) in Mexico should strengthen existing regulatory ties between the two countries.
BMI (2010) expects the FDA to be in close contact with Mexican authorities regarding food and medicine production in order to boost the safety of all products destined for the US, while also encouraging regulatory harmonisation and knowledge transfer.

How can PharmaMed compete in this marketClearly to survive in such a competitive market PharmaMed will have to be relevant and current in the Mexican pharmaceutical industry, whilst being legally protected. This means being fully up-to-date on all regulations regarding exporting and importing, licence requirements, approval of brand names, labelling requirements, certificates of quality and marketing practices.

We suggest that entry into the Mexican market should initially be aimed at Seguro Popular, the Mexican state-run health insurance scheme for those on low incomes or without other healthcare options. This is because according to BMI (2010) Seguro Popular intends to enrol an additional 12mn people in 2010. In 2011, another 6mn people will be added to the scheme, giving a total of 18mn new additions and comprising the last remaining segment of the Mexican population eligible to be included in the programme. This coincides with changing health patterns in the Mexican population – pointing at an increase in diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, stroke and cancer (Roberts and Stott, 2010). Since we specialise in medications for these diseases, taking advantage of such changes should give us a competitive edge.

4The Exchange Rate Regime

The literature agrees that the Mexican currency crisis of 1994 induced important changes in view of policy makers and economists concerning choice of exchange rate regimes (Villerreal, 2010). A number of authors began to argue that a world of high capital mobility, intermediate regimes are highly prone to currency crisis. The notion gradually started to emerge suggesting that developing countries should either have a pure floating exchange or a hard ‘peg’ regime. As a result after the crisis Mexico let the peso float while using a monetary policy of monetary aggregates to control inflation. In 1999 the country switched to an inflation targeting monetary regime, with monetary instruments to determine interest rates. Forex Realm (2011) report that one US Dollar equates to 13.2085 Mexican pesos. The observation is also made that like the U.S. the Mexican peso is considered to be one of the important national currencies, which is used in millions of currency trading and conversion. However, Pharmaletter (Jan. 2011) states that the current Mexican peso against the U.S. dollar is causing uncertainty, with increasing pharmaceutical costs. This is expected to affect previously registered import levels. The overall pharmacy sector is facing stagnation, into negative growth. On a positive note, the downturn and evolving regulatory environment are fuelling generics consumption. This market doubled in 2010.

In this chapter we also need to concentrate on the falling value of U.S dollar against major currencies (see figure 5).

Figure 5: Deliotte Research Study (2006)

As identified in a Deloitte Research Study (2006) Steep and long term shifts in the foreign exchange rates create discrepancies in cost and revenue models resulting in operational and strategic risk. To formulate effective risk management strategies, PharmaMed needs to assess the risk exposures rising from sensitivities in cost and revenues under various exchange rate scenarios.

Exchange rate shifts can create shifts across the supply chain. If the dollar slides, pharmaceutical companies with offshore sourcing and operations may face soaring input material and shipping costs and supplier risks. PharmaMed would see a hike in labour costs in dollar terms. On the demand side if the company decides to pass on the increased costs to customers it may result in reduced demands or loss of sales. Moreover, the exchange rate risks faced by customers can impact PharmaMed directly, significantly rising strategic and operation risks.

4.1 Political Risks

Risk in international trade is unavoidable, especially when it involves countries in the developing world (Busse, 2005). Among many of the risks involved in it, the political ones are the most difficult to measure, while having the potential of greatest damage as well. The political risks themselves can be classified according to their different origins and etiologies. That is, change of government, violent conflicts, sanctions and political trade risks

4.1.1 Change of Government

The political risks that can confront an international trader can arise in several ways. The most common of these is the ‘change of government’ (Fitzpatrick, 1931).

4.1.2 Violent conflicts

Developing countries face a higher risk of violent conflicts (Oetzel et al. 2007). Violent conflicts, whether internal or external are invariably damaging to trade

4.1.3 Sanctions

Another political risk to international trade exists in the form of conflicts without violence. International sanctions are the main form of these, which may be precipitated by an action of the host country.

4.1.4 Political trade risks

A peculiar form of political risks is changes in trading pattern imposed by politics. An example is a sudden ban on all imports or exports of a particular commodity, due to the sudden popular mood against those trades (Orden, 2004).

How do the above apply to MexicoBremer (2010) argues that raging drug gang violence, a tepid economic recovery, flagging momentum on economic reforms and declining oil output are risks to watch for in Mexico. All of these ties in with the above citations. In relation to the pharmaceutical industry the publication, Pharmaceutical Technology (Jan 2009) identifies that a significant hurdle still to contend with is protection of intellectual property, while the large-scale prevalence of counterfeit drugs remains a major challenge.

How can PharmaMed manage the political riskUnfortunately, there isn’t a perfect solution. Investing always has risks — and political risk is one of them. Yet without risk there would be no reward. To plan for managing a risk, the first step is to compute the probability of its occurrence. Once that is done, a decision needs to be taken as to whether in the light of that risk and the probable loss arising from it; it makes any sense to continue with the business. A difficult and tricky question is to quantify this risk in monetary terms, which alone is a sensible indicator for the need to spend on planning for it. Once it is decided to continue with business in spite of these risks, then necessary provisions need to be made for the losses likely to arise from them, while also attempting to hedge against each of those risks to the best extent possible.

5FDI or Export

In light of our research should PharmaMed choose an exporting strategy or a FDI (Foreign Direct Investments) in expanding into MexicoWhen an organisation has made a decision to enter an overseas market, there are a variety of options open to it. These options vary with cost, risk and the degree of control that can be exercised over them. The simplest form of entry strategy is exporting using either a direct or indirect method such as an agent, in the case of the former, or countertrade, in the case of the latter. More complex forms include truly global operations, which may involve joint ventures, or export processing zones (all of which are forms of Foreign Direct investment). Having decided on the form of export strategy, decisions have to be made on the specific channels. On the other hand, FDI offers more far reaching influences for the investing country because it involves ownership, whole or partial control of a company in a foreign country. Drawing on the research presented in this paper, especially those that relate to uncertain pharmaceutical future growth in Mexico, we propose a mixed foreign market entry strategy.

That is, combining FDI with exporting rather than choosing one single foreign market entry. The research by Johanson and Vahlne (1977) shows that many firms minimize the uncertainty risks in internationalization by adopting an incremental approach. Specifically, they expand their foreign operations gradually, beginning with entry into foreign markets with similar cultures before moving on to the dissimilar ones. And, for each foreign market entry, the process starts with exporting, followed by setting up local sales subsidiaries, and then the establishment of production facilities. We believe that this incremental process will allow us to learn from the experience we acquire in the initial operations, and use this knowledge to reduce the uncertainty we face in subsequent expansion efforts. Additionally, we believe that this will protects PharmaMed from the downside risks of failure by increasing overseas resource commitment over a certain time period, contingent on the performance of prior foreign operations.

6CONCLUSION

This report has assessed PharmaMed’s intended expansion into Mexico, in light of cultural, industrial and macroeconomic factors. The results garnered from this analysis highlight that for PharmaMed to achieve successful operations in Mexico, it must understand its culture and develop the necessary expertise required to manage the host environment business.

Exchange and Political risks are also factors that have been identified as critical to the success of PharmaMed’s expansion into Mexico, and this must be addressed appropriately. The incremental process of foreign expansion has also been found to be an ideal option for expansion into Mexico, which could start with exporting, then setting up local sales subsidiaries, and finally the establishment of production facilities. Therefore, based on these analyses, it is recommended that PharmaMed does expand into Mexico, with particular emphasis on managing political, exchange rate and cultural issues that may arise.

7Recommendations

Before acting we have to plan our approach. Here are helpful recommendations for PharmaMed:

1. Research local product requirements

Find out about customer preferences, local standards and product regulations. We may need to change the product’s appearance, or to fundamentally redesign it.

We may need to translate labelling and instructions redesign packaging to suit the local market. We may even need to change your product’s name or logo if they have unfortunate connotations locally.

2. Find out how local commercial practice differs from the U.S.

Find out about local business behaviour.

Investigate how products are marketed and sold, including any legal restrictions.

3. Identify the key contacts we need to build relationships with.

Key contacts may include customers or suppliers, agents, trade organisations and government departments.

4. Decide what use we will make of agents

.

The way the market operates may mean that it is easier to sell through a local agent (or distributor), rather than directly. In the Mexican Pharmaceutical industry this is a legal requirement.

A local agent can be a valuable source of market information, and can help us find customers and build relationships with them.

Take legal advice before entering into a contractual relationship with an agent or distributor. It can be difficult and expensive to terminate the relationship later on.

The above recommendations are essential for determining success in PharmaMed’s overseas efforts. Researching products and commercial requirements, while aligning with overseas contacts will give PharmaMed a competitive Edge. To the achieve this, the company will have to embark a series of managerial and staff training programmes. Projects should then be delegated to relevant departments to see the operation through.

8REFERENCES
Boone, L., and Kurtz, D.L. (2009) Contemporary Business, Wiley and Sons Inc, 800pp

Bremer, C. (2010) FACTBOX: Key Political Risks to Watch in Mexico [online], available: www.reuters.com [22 January 2011]

Busse, M. (2005) Measuring Political Risks to Foreign Investment, Ashgate Publishing, London, 200pp

Business Monitor International (2010) Mexico Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Report Q2, www.businessmonitor.com [22 January 2011]

Calenti, L. (2010) The Drug Industry and the NAFTA Experience [online], available: http://www.thepharmaletter.com/ [22 January 2011]

Deloitte (2006) Global Economic Outlook 2006: Global Risks, Regional Opportunities, www.deloitte.com [22 January 2011]

Douglas, S. P. and Craig, C. S. (1983) International Marketing Research. Prentice Hall, New York, 456pp

Episcom Business International (2010) The Outlook for Pharmaceuticals

Forex Realm (2010) Exchange rates between Mexican Peso and US Dollar [online], Available: http://www.forexrealm.com/forex-rates/ [22 January 2011]

Hofstede, G. (1991) Cultures and organizations — software of the mind, McGraw Hill, New York, 191pp

Itim International (2009) Geert Hofstede Cultural Dimensions [online], Available:

http://www.geert-hofstede.com/hofstede_mexico.shtml [22 January 2011]

Johanson, J. and Vahlne, J. E. (1977) The Internationalization of the Firm: A model of knowledge development and increasing foreign market commitments, Journal of International Business Studies, Vol. 8, p23

Levitt, T. (1965) Exploit the Product Life Cycle. Harvard Business Review, November/December, pp.81-84

Massachusetts Office of International Trade and Investment (2006) Life Science Companies Doing Business in Massachusetts: An Introduction U.S. and Massachusetts Laws for Foreign Life Science Companies

The Pharmaletter (2011) Outlook For Pharmaceutical Markets In Latin America, Now Worth a Total of $50 Billion [online], available: http://www.thepharmaletter.com/ [22 January 2011]

Roberts, I. and Stott, R. (2010) Doctors and Climate Change, The Lancet, Vol. 376 (9755), pp1801 – 1802

RNCOS (2009) Emerging Pharmaceutical Markets Globally [online], available: http://www.rncos.com/Report/IM081.htm [22 January 2011]

Toftoy, C. (1999) Management Training to Gain For Small And Medium Sized Enterprises: Focus On Latin. Center For Advancement Of Small Business. George Washington University.

Toyne, B. and Walters, P.G. (1993) Global Marketing Management: A Strategic Prespective, Allyn and Bacon, Boston, 394pp

US Department of Commerce (1994) International Trade Administration [online], available: www.commerce.gov [21 January 2011]

Vernon, R. (1966) International Investment and international Trade in the product cycle, Quarterly Journal of Economics 80, p190-207

Villarreal, M.A. (2010) U.S.- Mexico Economic Relations: Trends, Issues And Implications. Congressional Research Service.

Wells, L. T. (1968) A product life cycle for international tradeJournal of Marketing, Vol. 33, July pp. 1-6.

Wells, L.T. (1969) Test of a product cycle model of international trade Quarterly Journal of Economics, February, pp. 152-62.

Whitley, R. (2007) Business Systems and Organisational Capablities: The Institutional Structuring of Competitive Competences.OxfordUniversityPress. 487pp

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The modern business environment and embracing modern technologies for further economic gain

1. Introduction

1.1 What is the problem?

In recent times, there has been an intense underlying issue regarding the amount of businesses within the UK that are not adapting to the modern business environment and embracing modern technologies for further economic gain. Noted by the office for National statistics (2009) that 76% of the UK’s business claimed to have a website, yet only 15% had completed transactions online. Furthermore, the issue lies deep within the fundamental business characteristics and the way in which businesses choose to operate and compete, leading to online sales via websites known as e-commerce, reaching ?115bn in 2009. Figures from the same study also demonstrate that the predicament shows no sign of slowing as e-commerce sales increased by 23% from 2008 to 2009, showing a rise of ?22bn, suggesting that many businesses are missing the chance to join the online market place whereby opportunities for the growth of a business appear limitless (Scupola, 2003).

Rosenbloom (2004, cited in Harrison & Waite, 2005) proposed that e-commerce technology is now viewed as an integral part of marketing channels and distribution systems. However the UK government acknowledges that there is a slow uptake of e-commerce in SME’s, particularly among micro businesses (UK Online, 2002) whereby many of the UK’s SME’s may be left behind, leaving the larger companies to dominate the e-commerce world (Harrison et al, 2005). Furthermore, the issue is emphasised through the suggestions of Julia (2002) stating that small and medium-sized businesses (SME’s) make substantial contributions to national economies and account for an estimated 80% of global economic growth (Julia et al, 2002).

This document aims to identify the numerous relevant factors preventing the assimilation of e-commerce and the capitalisation of its benefits within the UK’s SME’s. Conversely, the research also attempts to outline the previous benefits founded with its adoption and the current levels of practice within the recognised SME’s. Such known benefits may provide motivation and incentives for the apprehensive SME’s who are failing to embrace the advances in technology, as well as offering a range of potential opportunities for any traditional organisation to engage in the e-commerce transition whereby a business can ‘dominate the electronic channel and thereby control access to customers and set terms of trade’ (Walters & Lancaster, 1999, p800 cited in Harrison, 2005).

Following similar research in more economically developed countries such as USA, Canada and Australia appear to have made more progress as they have become the global leaders in e-commerce assimilation (Norton, 2000, cited in Quayle, 2002). This investigation will discuss whether these barriers and benefits still exist or that SME’s have adapted to the modern business environment and have effectively engaged in e-commerce. Consequently, have further beneficial or detrimental factors emerged and influenced integration of internet based transactions.

1.2 What is the purpose of this study?

For the purpose of this investigation, the term e-commerce will be used in the true sense of its concept and not divulge into the notion of electronic business (e-business). It will however include activities such as electronic mail (e-mail) and mobile commerce (m-commerce) whereby their fundamentals coincide with the essential aspects of e-commerce.

The primary purpose of this investigation is to identify the barriers in the UK’s SME’s in their adoption of e-commerce. These identified barriers may differ from those faced in other countries, regardless of economic development. In addition, this paper will study the benefits found once the e-commerce transition has taken place and how they may have become advantageous to any developing SME. It also aims to analyse the results and test them against the findings established within other international SME’s. Throughout this analysis, the paper will thoroughly investigate and critique the growth of the UK’s SME’s and how e-commerce has enabled it to do so.

1.2.1 What are the SME’s barriers to entry?

This study aims to investigate the way in which SME’s perceive e-commerce and devise a catalogue of factors that provide obstacles for its adoption. In doing so, the author aims to bring these issues in view of both business and governmental organisations, with the focus on those assisting SME’s to further contribute to both the local and global economy. Whether these issues exist in reality or are just ignorant perceptions, the fact of the matter is that these issues still appear to hinder the assimilation of e-commerce within SME’s. Barriers to adoption can occur for numerous reasons and many issues are inter-related, however, they will not be restricted to only the following factors:

INTERNAL

Start up costs
Technical knowledge/computer literacy
Access to technology
Security of technology

EXTERNAL

Business partner(s) access to technology
Lack of governmental support

(Kshetri, N, 2007)

In addition to the primary aim, the secondary goal is to try and locate relationships between these barriers and whether or not they have a direct correlation with the demographic and financial features of the external environment. Furthermore, it will also attempt to identify any linkages between previous barriers and the technological affluence or perception of SME’s directors as previous research has shown that the owner’s opinion of e-commerce has a major influence on its possible implementation, and if so, what benefits does it bring.

1.2.2 Existing benefits achieved by SME’s

This investigation will recognise the major benefits already achieved by SME’s who have utilised the capabilities of engaging in e-commerce. These benefits may need to be analysed by budding SME’s or MSME’s (micro, small medium enterprises) or any developing business for that matter, in order to fully understand, make relevant and integrate e-commerce successfully within their organisation. This investigation can also be used for governmental organisations to utilise e-commerce as an adaption of its services that supply SME’s, which will in turn provide benefits to both stakeholders involved. This may potentially lead to a future development of electronic infrastructure, which will in turn greater it’s usage and by virtue of EOS (economies of scale) will lead to an increased level of economic efficiency. This study will address those benefits but will not be constrained by such:

Increased audience levels (market reach)
Reduce cycle time
Higher levels of turnover
Increased productivity
Lower marketing and distribution costs
Competitive advantage
Increased profit margin
New business opportunities

(Daniel & Wilson, 2002)

These existing benefits will provide a basis to identify any trends with the demographic data found, along with its barriers. This information will also be examined in comparison to the technological perception of the directors of a given enterprise in order to understand whether or not the attitude of the director directly influences the benefits achieved, similar to that of the director’s perceptions and previous success within the business environment.

1.2.3 SME’s adoption of technology

In order to grasp the usage of technology within SME’s, the author has made efforts to discover more about businesses that have embraced technology and how they may be putting to use the advantages of the internet.

The levels of adoption and the processes put in place in order to assimilate, as well as the trends of usage are all imperative to the overall validity of the investigation. Although the author earlier conveyed that the study will concentrate on the true definitive characteristics of e-commerce, in order to fully investigate the usage and perceptions of e-commerce, the study must consider aspects of e-business to fully identify and understand the correlation of internet usage and the potential benefits it possesses. Furthermore, the study will advance deeper and discuss whether or not linkages exists in the technological affluence, literacy or perception of the SME’s director and the benefits and barriers achieved through the adoption of e-commerce.

2. Literature Review

2.1 The UK market

Throughout the investigation, the author noticed that the majority of research was conducted in more economically developed countries (MEDC’s), with the United States being most popular. However, this study aims to conduct the majority of its research within the UK environment as well as delving into the international and emerging markets whereby the growth of e-commerce is still primarily at an elemental level. Although that particular research is valid, it merely aims to provide a contrasting statistical viewpoint to that found in the UK. Studies by Benjamin (2000) and Pulley and Sessa (2001) indicate that there is a limited amount of analysis of e-commerce in SME’s, however there is a wider acceptance on a number of factors. In particular, SME’s who are determined to achieve a competitive advantage require an improvement in levels of e-commerce and the need to develop credible approaches for its implementation. Further studies conducted by Standing and Stockdale (2003) emphasised further issues of concern whereby the ‘motivation for adoption and use of e-commerce by SME’s are overlooked and underestimated’ (Standing et al, 2003. p;2). Further issues within the same study indicated concern surrounding categorised groupings of SME’s and their perceptions to adoption.

In contrast to the UK market for e-commerce, in developing areas of the world, including countries such as Egypt, research has show that ‘governments have been eager to apply the emerging information and communication technologies to join the world in the development and realization of the digital economy’ (Kamel and Hussein, 2002. P;2). Therefore, e-commerce growth in Egypt and other developing countries may decide to utilise the research and examples of that in the UK in order to greater the adoption levels within SME’s. Conversely, UK governments may choose to analyse the way in which developing countries introduce e-commerce and its technological infrastructure in order to fully understand what factors they provide as benefits or barriers.

Following the studies on the international and emerging markets, the author aims to reemphasise that this research is merely conveyed as a contrasting viewpoint in order to further understand the way in which e-commerce adoption in the UK is both perceived and achieved.

2.2 Barriers

2.2.1 E-commerce growth and development

Originally, electronic commerce was identified as the facilitation of commercial transactions electronically, using technologies such as EDI (Electronic Data Interchange) and EFT (Electronic Funds Transfer) in the 1970’s. Furthermore, increasing developments in technology in the 1980’s lead to the creation of ATM’s (Automated Teller Machines) and telephone banking which were also noticed as forms of electronic commerce. It wasn’t until 1990 that the development of the World Wide Web and the modern day internet also known as the ‘6th Continent’ by Yongxiang, that the term coined e-commerce was specifically designated to the exchange transactions which take place over the internet, including buying and selling of information, service or goods (Schniederjans, 2002).

Since the conceptualisation of e-commerce, researches have studied the barriers that exist which may prevent its adoption within SME’s. Whether these barriers physically exist in reality or whether they are merely a perception, the facts remains that they still provide an obstacle for e-commerce assimilation within the UK’s SME’s. Studies conducted by Cragg and King (1997, cited in Shah et al, 2000) discovered that the strongest inhibiting factors to SME adoption include lack of ICT knowledge, lack of managerial time and limited financial resources. All of which factors appear to apply to resistance to change and possibly suggest an underestimation of the potential benefits to its adoption. Further studies by Dowler and Lawrence-Slater (1998) highlight ‘technological phobia’ and ‘no perceived benefits’ as realistic barriers.

Since these studies were conducted at an elemental stage of e-commerce, further investigations have been carried out since. Investigations undertaken by Marshall and Mckay (2002) found that in recent times, SME’s are reluctant to adopt due to difficulties identifying and measuring costs, benefits and risks associated with IT adoption and investment. Furthermore, research conducted by Edwards (2007) and Hudson et al (2007) indicated that the lack of strategy for evaluation was also a major inhibiting factor to adoption. Although all studies identified provide valid and important evidence, it is the most recent information that supplies the most pertinent, as it considers factors within the modern business environment in comparison to those noted within the primary stages of e-commerce development.

2.2.1 The Role of UK Government in the growth of e-commerce

In order to fully investigate the role that government plays in the adoption of e-commerce, the author aims to find out whether they are an enabler of its adoption or a characteristic of its barriers.

A study by Keindl (2000) portrays that SME’s are generally unwilling to develop e-commerce strategies or to change their current business models, despite the government introducing campaigns such as the CW2000 project, a European funded project to encourage internet adoption amongst SME’s in the West Midlands of the UK. As discussed earlier, there remain a variety of barriers to the adoption of e-commerce and regardless of the government initiatives, certain barriers still exist and are chiefly found within the internal features of an organisation. Kshetri (2007), stating that start up costs and the relevance of e-commerce within a particular SME to be key factors in its adoption. Furthermore, additional research by Beckinsdale and Levy (2004) reported that neither pressure from competitors within the same business environment or governmental initiatives provides any pressure upon the adoption of e-commerce, and that the chief reasoning for its assimilation is concerned with customer satisfaction.

As a result of these findings, certain infrastructure should be implemented in order enable to the transition of adoption as it appears that governmental frameworks are unable to do so.

2.2.3 Perceived barriers to e-commerce adoption

Early studies by Tonatzky and Klein (1982) found that innovation is more likely to be adopted when it is compatible with an individual’s job responsibility and value system. Although this study portrays a vague acceptance of innovation, it is definitely applicable to e-commerce as an innovative entity and its adoption and application within a value system, or for the purpose of the study, SME’s.

Further studies conducted by Ratnasingam (2001, cited in Hussin, 2005) to identify factors that may discourage adoption include the perceived lack of security, customer readiness, organisational inertia and lack of knowledge. Additional studies by Darch and Lucas (2002) also conveys the perceived barriers to adoption as lack of awareness to what e-commerce actually involves and lack of e-commerce related skills. Therefore, adoption is far more complex than earlier studies portrayed and is a decision that involves a variety of interconnected issues, which include both internal and external factors. Adoption therefore, must be seen as a gradual process, rather than an individual occasion and will be discussed further in the levels and stages of adoption sections.

2.2.4 E-Readiness

E-readiness is genuinely defined as the degree to which a society is prepared to participate in the digital economy with the underlying concept that the digital economy can help build a better society (Krull, 2003). Krull makes reference to society as a whole, but for purpose of the study, the author will understand the society as being an organisation or SME. Huang et al (2004) describes e-readiness for enterprises important and that it will lead them to a more positive direction in managing their relationships with key stakeholders as well as providing the opportunity to access quality information, reduce the digital divide and create new business opportunities (Kurnia, 2008 cited in Krull, 2003). According to the e-readiness rankings report (2009) the UK is placed 13 suggesting SME’s are in a good position to adopt e-commerce as all the foundations are in place.

2.3 Benefits

Significant levels of research into the realisation of SME benefits of e-commerce adoption have been conducted thoroughly in recent times. A report conducted by Poon and Swatman (1999) regarding the benefits achieved refers to the fact that e-mail and document transfer have both been useful to SME’s. Since then, e-commerce and researchers have moved on, with many authors agreeing on the benefits of e-commerce, however further discussions have arisen in regards to the way in which benefits are not achieved automatically. Wilson, Daniel and Davies (2006) stating that adoption does not however, of itself, guarantee that the intended business benefits will be achieved. They are also of the opinion that, along with Pawar and Driver (2000, cited in Quayle, 2002) who also conducted similar studies, that despite the awareness of potential benefits, not every firm is ready to embrace e-commerce as a business tool.

2.3.1 Economic Benefits

Once the adoption process takes place, there are two main benefits that a SME can expect, economical and strategical. For the purpose of the study, the author will concentrate upon the economic benefits incurred through the adoption of e-commerce. With the UK’s total spend through e-commerce reaching nearly ?56billion in 2010 (IMRG, Capgemini, 2010) and expectations for the market to grow by 110% in the next decade, the financial benefits are obvious.

Studies conducted in the UK’s SME’s by Clegg et al (2001) concluded that three issues are likely to have an effect on the uptake of the internet by SME’s was the perceived benefits, organisational readiness and external pressures. However, Dongen et al (2002) argued that much of the literature supposes that ICT adoption is for opportunistic reasons, such as cost, rather than for strategic reasons. Furthermore, recent surveys suggest that the main reason for adoption amongst UK’s SME’s is to increase sales (Actinic, 2002 cited in Simpson et al, 2004). Although literature suggests that the chief reasoning behind e-commerce adoption is for financial benefit, the actual reality of attaining economic growth is difficult to achieve. Furthermore, the research by DTI (2001b) suggest that the financial benefits come about through the reduction in expenditure and the increase of opportunity gain, as advertising costs can be reduced through having a web presence.

2.3.2 Illusions and Promises

Additional studies by Chrysostome and Rosson (2004) support the fact that it is certainly difficult to attain economic benefits. Subsequently, they devised a framework, consisting of eight factoring suggestions that convey both the illusions and promises of the growth UK SME’s and they’re engagement in the international market. They highlight the view that not all expectations of innovative advancements are recognised, with an example of the invention of the printing press in 1450. They suggest that many of the perceived benefits are illusions while promises are realistic and attainable benefits through the process of adoption.

4 Illusions:

MARKET PENETRATION (difficult international market)
GLOBAL COMPETITION (intensity)
COSTS (difficult to attain)
LEGALITY DIFFERENCES (foreign trade laws)

4 Promises:

SPEED OF MARKET ENTRY (instant)
VARIETY OF MARKETS (penetrate numerous markets)
ENTRY MODE (choice = minimised risk)
INTER-ORGANISATIONAL NETWORKS (reduced costs)

Chrysostome and Rosson (2004)

2.3.3 Do or Die: Internationalisation

The rate of the occurrence of Internationalisation for an organisation is an important characteristic in any neo-classical approach. Furthermore, in evolutionary theories, stage by stage development is considered necessary so that cautious progress can be made, ensuring that an enterprise can build resources, gain knowledge of international markets and therefore develop a stronger capability (Chrysostome and Rosson, 2004).

Added studies by Peterson et al (2002) found that the internet can speed up the rate of enterprise internationalisation, especially through the reduction in costs incurred by SME’s. As a result, SME’s should worry less about the amount of resources they have when aiming to penetrate the international market. This leads to the ‘Born Global’ concept derived from Knight and Cavusgil (1996) suggesting that SME’s can ‘leapfrog’ the primary stages of the neo-classical internationalisation process.

Although numerous advantages exist through SME internationalisation, there is also an element of risk associated with its development. The most noticeable barriers reported by SME’s are included in the Internationalisation report of European SME’s (2010). The reports illustrates that the barriers exist in two separate categories, internal and external.

INTERNAL

Price of own product or service
High cost of Internationalisation

EXTERNAL

Lack of capital
Lack of adequate information
Lack of adequate public support
Costs/difficulties with extended transport partnerships

Although the majority of the barriers are objective, sum issues within the external barriers are perceived and do not necessarily exist in reality. Consequently, UK SME’s are generally not aware of the existence of public support programmes for internationalisation (Mendoza et al, 2001). Having discussed the promises that e-commerce adoption and its ability to internationalise a business, the author will now examine the illusions that appear to be embedded within the perception of UK SME’s.

Large scale global competition lies waiting for those SME’s who aim to utilise the internet as a tool for internationalisation. Fillis (2002) found that exporting SME’s in the UK experienced pricing and promotion difficulties in regards to those displayed by competitors. This was a greater problem for those who rely upon the internet as its main operational medium. As the enterprises discussed are relatively small in capacity, they’re limited resources make it difficult to match competitors budgets and prices (Sawhney and Mandal, 2000). As well as the intense internet global competition, the so called ‘savings’ will now be discussed.

Contrary to the perceptions of budding SME’s, online business incurs significant levels of cost. In contrast to view that the internet generates cost savings, in reality, these savings are far less noteworthy than initially thought and studies by Fattori (2001) state that in many cases, SME’s have actually experienced higher costs. This is largely accurate for SME’s who have penetrated the international market as Heart and Priskin (2002) state that internet costs savings are cited to most often occur in paperwork, customer service, intermediation and advertising and promotion. However, they also conveyed that the actual savings incurred differed with the size of an enterprise. Further studies showed that larger companies were more likely to save in customer service where as SME’s were expected to save on advertising and promotional costs (Riquelme, 2002). Apart from these potential variant costs, other costly expenditures exist with the initial creation of internet based commerce. These costs consist of website creation, including software and hardware, maintenance and updating and website translation or cultural adjustments should the SME wish to penetrate the international market (Chrysostome and Rosson, 2004). Futhermore, a standard 10 page website with e-commerce capabilities may cost around ?2500 with additional fees for forums, interactivity, Search engine optimization (SEO) and content management [www.toucher.co.uk/website-price, cited in 2011].

2.3.4 M-Commerce

Tiwari (2007) defines Mobile Commerce as any transaction, involving the transfer of ownership or rights to use goods and services, which is initiated and/or completed by using mobile access to computer-mediated networks with the help of an electronic device. As Tiwari explains, m-commerce has the same basic definition as e-commerce, however is achieved with portable technology. Since its origination in 1997 through mobile-phone enabled Coca-Cola vending machines in Finland, using SMS text messages to receive payment, the mobile industry has revolutionised the portability of business transactions (Ahonen, 2002). In recent times, m-commerce has developed greatly and since the invention of Apples, Iphone in 2007, the levels of purchase using a mobile devise has risen dramatically. Findings from the Broadbank m-commerce content report (2010) displayed that 46% of UK consumers had purchased using their mobile phone. Furthermore, Raicu (2001) believes that m-commerce provides numerous benefits including independent access any time, access on demand anywhere and use of devises that suits the needs of the consumer, for example mobile phones, laptops or Tablets. As well as possessing all the attributes of e-commerce, Khosrow-Pour (2006) suggests that enterprises are using mobile devices to re-engineer and speed up internal and connecting business processes. Furthermore, Nysveen et al (2005) suggests that this is possible since employees and partners can connect to ‘back-end’ applications needing the finalise sales and in turn reducing the sales process and eliminates extra travelling costs. Therefore, a SME can utilise m-commerce in the same way as e-commerce with additional benefits of providing accessibility anytime, anywhere (Raicu, 2001).

2.3.5 Benefits for UK SME’s

Following a plethora of literature regarding the concepts and potential of e-commerce, the question remains whether SME’s have benefited from its adoption. During the investigation process throughout this document, the author noticed that Poon (2002) and the degrees of success was a constant barometer. Poon stated that there having been various levels of success and that they are the reasons why e-commerce is more important than ever before. These factors have included the reduction in the adoption process of e-commerce in regards to both hardware and software. Secondly, companies have learnt from either their own experience or the experiences of others and are now finding e-commerce adoption easier. Finally, the rise in resources and programmes offered, many from government provide assistance for SME’s.

Although, many SME’s have utilised the adoption of e-commerce as previously discussed, Poon’s studies (2002) suggest that not all companies have benefited from it. Furthermore, even in favourable organisations with a respectable e-readiness, mixed success rates have been found, and those who have actually achieved benefits have either been insignificant or have had a short life span.

2.4 E-commerce adoption

In recent times, numerous studies have been conducted to investigate the levels of e-commerce adoption for the purposes of SME’s. The focus of this research has concentrated upon three crucial factors: the level of adoption, the stages of adoption and the factors that inhibit or permit adoption.

2.4.1 Levels of adoption

In order for an enterprise to fully understand the levels of adoption, the author will discuss Grewel’s (2001) classification model to support SME e-commerce adoption initiatives.

Firstly, there is a risk in approaching the question of whether SMEs can be seen as a homogenous group in terms of e-commerce adoption, as there is a scarcity of literature. For example, while it is clear that the owner/manager is a significant driver for e-commerce adoption, it is only recently that research has begun to appear that investigates the motivations behind their move towards adoption (Levy and Powell, 2003). Therefore, for the purpose of the study, the author will use the model as a categorisation tool to homogenise SME’s theoretically.

LEVEL 1: Landlubbers – SME’s have no intention of moving to the electronic environment. These businesses tend to be small, have little employees and occupy and small and stable market with no intention of expansion.

LEVEL 2: Toe Dippers – SME’s that have basic computer needs and limited skills in using them. Unwillingness to expend beyond a minimal level but are of the view that the internet can be helpful for tasks on a day-to-day basis for use of e-mail and online banking.

LEVEL 3: Paddlers – Participants of e-commerce and are sometimes registered within an e-marketplace, but carry out virtually no business through it. Have an eagerness to learn but a lack of confidence and ability to advance to a higher level of involvement.

LEVEL 4: Waders – Categorised by SME’s that for reasons of choice or pressure from stakeholders, have moved into the electronic environment. The firms within are initiated in electronic services and are beginning to learn how to participate in online business.

LEVEL 5: Swimmers – Businesses within this level are experts and are comfortable with many e-commerce applications and online trading is an integral part of their business.

Grewel’s (2001) classifications indicate that the diffusion levels are affected the resources and can be best targeted at specific groups to encourage higher levels of e-participation, rather than disperse the resources holistically across all SME’s (Levy and Powell, 2003). Furthermore, findings of Grey (2003) show further evidence that adoption levels are not merely down to resources but that adoption rates differ from country to country and that SME’s throughout the world are at different levels of adoption in comparison to others found in different countries. Additionally, both the levels, stage and rate of adoption is influenced by the conditions within that locality. As discussed earlier, the UK is placed 13th on the e-readiness rankings (2009) suggesting that the UK’s levels of adoption are reflective of the benefits already achieved by its SME’s.

2.4.2 Stages of adoption

The second factor of adoption deals with the stages or phases of adoption. Cater-Steel and Grist (2004) describe the steps that should be taken to further adopt the internet, although they are also of the opinion that e-commerce will only be adopted as the need arises for the integration into the supply-chain and not just for the sake of having e-commerce.

Jeffcoate, Chappell and Feindt (2002) also explored the topic matter and devised a best-practise model for the process in adopting e-commerce. They indentified 11 imperative dynamics of success that are vital during the different phases of the adoption process. However, the most crucial issue raised was that the process which is normally segmented into numerous stages is definitely an ongoing process rather than a one-off event. Similarly, Rogers (1995) also subscribes to the view of adoption as a process with the 5 factors model of innovation adoption. Levy and Powell (2003) further assist Rogers with their adoption ladder framework and are of the opinion that most SME’s only see value at the bottom end of the ladder.Furthermore, there seems to be an overall agreement that the process in the adoption of e-commerce is indeed a process and is implemented in stages rather than an individual one-off occasion. Additionally, the stages are usually adopted at the lower end of the classification model (Grewel, 2001), slowly climbing the adoption ladder towards the more complex aspects of e-commerce.

2.4.3 Influencing factors of adoption

Qi (2007) and Kiong (2004) investigated the reasoning behind moving from neo-classical forms of commerce to the post-modern capabilities of electronic commerce. They identified a wide range of influencing factors, yet most were mainly regarding monetary benefits. However, further studies by Simpson (2004) conveyed that pressure from society was also a pivotal factor encouraging adoption. Scupola (2003) devised a framework that represents the factors influencing adoption. These factors have been categorised into three segmented groups including the external environment, organisational context and technological context. In addition, managers who perceived e-commerce has having a positive effect on the strategic value of an company posses a positive attitude to adoption (Grandon and Pearson, 2003) whereas Ramsey’s (2005) research into the differences in adopters and non-adopters found that adopters are far more proactive and have a greater e-awareness to indentifying technological possibilities.

Following the analysis upon the factors influencing adoption, the most notable appears to be the perceptions and attitudes of managers towards e-commerce within organisation. SME’s that have made to successful transition to utilising e-commerce have all portrayed an positive opinion of technological innovation and that it provides them with a opportunity to create a competitive advantage over rival companies and a basis to build better relationships with any stakeholders involved.

3. Methodology

3.1 Philosophy

Qualitative research has been extensively compared with quantitative research and has found three different theories about how knowledge is accepted known as epistemology (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Quantitative research has been labelled under the natural scientist theory of positivism (Saunders et al, 2007), which collects data and creates facts on what is in front of them. Hypothesis’ are made by reviewing past literature before undertaking research, which is then compared as to whether the predictions are correct.

Qualitative research is labelled at the other end of the epistemological spectrum (Strauss and Corbin, 1998) under Interpretivist or social constructivist (Bryman and Bell, 2007). This theory looks past statistical evidence and penetrates deeper into the information to identify dissimilar answers and read the reactions of people’s behaviour (Saunders et al, 2007). This has a very subjective view due to differentiated opinions and different minds of people (Strauss and Corbin, 1998), which can cause negative outcomes which will be discussed later.

Finally, Realism could be said to be in the middle of the two extremes, showing characteristics of both a positivist and an interpretivist (Bryman and Bell, 2007). Realism is comparable to positivism (Saunders et al, 2007) with its scientific approach to data but the theory is divided into two mindsets: Direct realism takes more of the positivist approach by looking at the data and producing results from what is in front of them (Bryman and Bell, 2007). However another mindset has been formulated in the form of critical realism (Saunders et al, 2007), looking past the direct realism and believe that complexities occur in data, which leaves the researcher creating their own interpretations of data (Bryman and Bell, 2007).

3.2 Qualitative V Quantitative

It has long been recognised that qualitative and quantitative methods produce different types of information. The use of quantitative methods permits statistical analysis using standardised measures to gauge and compare the reactions of a large number of people on a limited set of questions (Patton, 1997). By contrast, qualitative methods facilitate use of data that are perceived as rich, holistic and real for which face validity seems faultless (Miles, 1983 cited in Howard et al 2001).

These characteristics and the lack of standardisation of much qualitative data make them difficult to analyse and require that the researcher devote much time and effort to managing the data (Howard et al, 2001). In contrast, a number of quantitative indices are generally available and additional indicators can be developed by various means, including satisfaction scales and involvement levels. However, Lillis (2008) states that the knowledge that books and numbers have limitations as it doesn’t tell the whole truth.

Conversely, qualitative indicators are less readily available. A research design that includes a collection of these indicators is important for numerous reasons. Firstly, qualitative research can lead to the findings of unanticipated data that wasn’t previously expected. Secondly, qualitative methods can also assist the decision makers whose main desire is to gain an understanding to what the people studied actually think and why they think that as well as the values and motivations to that particular thought and behaviour (Van Maanen, 1983 cited in Howard et al, 2001). Furthermore, Bryman and Bell (2007) identify qualitative research as too subjective, on a person’s opinion, their perception could be based on a poor experience however, overall perceptions from others could be different. The data is also difficult to replicate, which is therefore a huge difficulty in analysing, unlike quantitative research (Veal, 1998).

To summarise, there is always going to be conflict between the contrasting methods and that both methods have advantages and disadvantages, yet each can be realised when used to research different topics. Furthermore, the author concurs with the opinion of Van Maanen suggesting that qualitative methods provide access to deep-routed answers.

3.3 Approaches

In the approach to deciding upon the research method, two means have been identified including both inductive and deductive approaches (Veal, 1998). Qualitative research takes on the inductive approach, in which a collection of data and a development of theory is a result of data analysis owing itself to paradigms of interpretivism. Whereas, quantitative research uses a deductive approach, in which theory and/or a hypothesis is developed to design a research strategy to test that hypothesis which owes itself to positivism (Saunders et al, 2007).

Although, both approaches provide contrasting paradigms and that they are divided rigidly, Saunders et al (2007) suggest that it is misleading and that not only is it perfectly possible to combine the approaches, but it may be advantageous to do so. However, as the author is aiming to understand why something is happening, rather than being able to describe what is happening, it is more appropriate to undertake the research, inductively.

3.4 Strategies

After exploring both Bryman and Bell (2007) and Saunders et al’s (2007) methods for research literature, the author noticed various techniques to devise a research plan. Taking a quantitative approach may include techniques such as questionnaires or experiments and provide statistical evidence. However, the approach taken by the author to conduct the research is via a qualitative approach and therefore its emphasis upon specific strategies such as observations, interviews and focus groups.

Further strategies may include Glaser and Strauss’ (167, cited in Bryman and Bell, 2007) Grounded theory whereby an alternative strategy for linking both theory and research is available suggesting that the research may build up a collection of theory throughout the ongoing process of research. An additional technique known as archival research makes use of administrative records and documents as the principle source of data. Furthermore, the data is part of an archival strategy and is analysed because they are part of the day-to-day activities (Hakim, 2000 cited in Saunders et al, 2007). This may become relevant for the purpose of the study as it assists qualitative methods of research within suitable environments, such as observations.

3.5 Choices of method

Reference List

Adoption of e-commerce in SME: Lessons from the stage model: Ada Scupola, 2003.

Office for national statistics 2002

Critical factors affecting intermediary web site adoption: understanding how to extend e-participation. Tina Harrison & Kathryn White, 2005.

A classification model to support SME e-commerce adoption initiatives: Rosemary Stockdale & Craig Standing, 2006.

E-Commerce: the challenge for UK SME’s in the 21st century: Michael Quayle, 2002.

Barriers to e-commerce and competitive business models in developing countries: A case study. Nir Kshetri, 2007.

Adoptions intentions and benefits realised: a study of e-commerce in UK SME’s: Elizabeth Daniel & Hugh Wilson, 2002.

E-Commerce operations management: Marc Schniederjans and Qing Cao, 2002.

Management issues regarding e-commerce and the internet: Nilpa Shah and Ray Dawson, 2000.

A study of planning and implementation stages in electronic commerce adoption and evaluation: Chad Lin, Yu-An Huang and Shu-Woan Tseng, 2007.

SME’s and internet adoption strategy: who do SME’s listen to: M Beckinsdale, 2004.

Innovating business through e-commerce: Exploring the willingness of SME’s: Husnayati Husiin and Rafidah Mohamed Noor, 2005.

The internet and SME’s internationalization: Promises and Illusions: Elie Chrysostome and Philip Rosson, 2004.

ICT infrastructure and E-readiness: Assessment report, Estonia. Andre Krull, April 2003.

Beyond the hype: the truth about e-commerce internationalization: Mendoza, Powell, Gezelius, Hellstrom and Klevmarken, 2001.

Barriers to internationalisation: an investigation of the craft microenterprise: I Fillis, 2002.

Make the web world wide: a road for globalization of e-commerce: M Sawhney and S Mandal, 2000.

Commercial internet adoption in China: H Riquelme, 2002.

M-Profits: Tomi Ahonen, 2002.

The Mobile commerce prospects: A strategic analysis of opportunites in the banking sector: R Tiwari and S Buse, 2007.

Broadbank: e-commerce consumer report 2010

Wireless internet: the future is here: I Raicu, 2001.

Emerging trend and challenges in information technology management: Medhi Khosrow-Pour, 2006.

An investigation into the antecedents of organizational participation in business-to-business electronic markets: R Grewel, J Corner and R Mehta, 2001.

Exploring SME internet adoption: Towards an intercontinental model: M Levy and P Powell, 2003.

A investigation to e-commerce adoption profile for small and medium enterprises in Bury, Manchester, UK: B QI, 2007.

Analysis in the state of e-commerce adoption by SME’s: LV Kiong, 2004.

E-commerce adoption support and advice for UK’s SME’s: M Simpson, 2004.

Business research methods: Alan Bryman and Emma Bell, 2007.

Research methods for business students: Mark Saunders, Philip Lewis and Adrian Thornhill, 2009.

Balancing qualitative and quantitative information for effective decision support: Richard Howard and Kenneth Borland Jr, 2001.

Research methods for leisure and tourism: A practical guide: A J Veal, 2008.

E-readiness rankings report, 2009.

IRMG Capgemini, 2010.

DTI, 2001b.

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Free Essays

Environment-behaviour relationships have been systematically studied by psychologists

Introduction

Environment-behavior relationships have been systematically studied by psychologists and a discipline was produced which known as ‘environmental psychology’, however, rarely attention was directed to the retail store environment. Meanwhile, there was a growing appeal to explain the variation in buyer behaviour by situational influences due to limitations in the ability of consumer characteristics. Thus, the purpose of this thesis is to analyse and understand the effect of store environment on shopping behaviour. First, some important issues applied in this area should be clarified. One is related to the description of store environment. The other is about the Mehrabian-Russell model, which played a vital role in the study of store atmosphere. Then the paper proceeds by summarizing and comparing some findings related to the relationship between three emotional states aroused by the environment and shopping behaviours. In the next chapter, it is concerned other previous findings, such as multiple effects of store environment and the moderated role of consumer characteristics in this relationship. The final part of the essay will give rise to thinking of the methodology authors used and the statistical validity of those findings.

Some Important Issues in Previous Studies

A concept of the store environment

An adequate concept of the store environment is the premise of the study of situational influence in consumer behaviour. Although there is not a complete definition of environment, it is widely accepted that environment is an extended concept which at least includes situations and behavioural settings. A situation comprised a point in time and space was proposed by Belk (1975a) and according to Barker (1968), a behaviour setting is not only bounded in time, also by a complete sequence of behaviour or an action pattern. Additionally, Mehrabian and Russell (1974) also attempted to develop three comprehensive situational descriptors (pleasure, arousal and dominance) in their model; however, none of them depicts a satisfying array of situational dimensions. On the basis of Belk’s (1975b) definition which comprises five groups of situational characteristics, the store environment could contain the physical and social surroundings of a store, the temporal dimension (ranging from time of day to season of the year), task definition features (an intent or requirement for a general or specific purchase) and antecedent states (momentary moods and conditions).

The Mehrabian-Russell environmental psychology model

A leading environmental psychology approach, the Mehrabian-Russell (M-R) model, was firstly introduced by Donovan and Rossiter (1982) in the retail context. It has become the basis of most research about the impact of environmental factors on shopping behaviour since that time. This model is based on the Stimulus-Organism-Response (S-O-R) paradigm, relating features of the environment (S) to approach-avoidance behaviours (R) within the environment, mediated by the individual’s emotional states (O) aroused by the environment; but this model mainly focuses on the O-R aspects and proposes a general measure of S. Mehrabian and Russell (1974) also proposed three basic emotional states (pleasure, arousal and dominance, acronym PAD) which mediated approach-avoidance behaviours in the environment and were adopted in majority of studies in emotional respond.

The Relationship between Emotions and Shopping Behaviours

There are some debates in the study of the relationship between emotions induced by a particular environment and shopping behaviours in this environment. The rest of the chapter will respectively exam the related findings based on three emotional states proposed in the M-R model.

Pleasure

Donovan and Rossiter (1982) concluded that store-induced pleasure was a powerful determinant of approach-avoidance behaviours within the store and also showed moderate relationships with specific within-store behavioural intentions: time (Coefficient=.51) and spend (Coefficient =.40). Afterwards, Donovan et al. (1994) extended that study and demonstrated shoppers’ emotional states within the store can predict actual purchase behaviour, not only just attitudes or intentions. That is, pleasure is significantly related to extra time and unplanned spending in pleasant environment. What the foregoing suggests is that pleasantness has a consistently positive effect on shopping behaviour in the literature.

Arousal

Arousal dimension, refers to store-induced feelings of alertness and excitement, was found not consistent with the two studies between Donovan and Rossiter (1982) and Donovan et al. (1994). In Donovan and Rossiter’s (1982) study which involved different types of retail stores, arousal was not significantly related to approach-avoidance behaviours, but according to the M-R model, arousal should be hypothesized to interact conditionally with pleasure. After given a pleasant store environment, arousal emerged as a significant predictor of approach intentions for time (Coefficient=.40) and the regression coefficient for spend (Coefficient=.18) was also in the right direction but did not reach significant. In other words, inducement of arousal amplifies approach behaviour in pleasant store environment and enlarges avoidance behaviour in unpleasant store environment. Hence, emotional states sometimes can be presented by some combination of two major dimensions: pleasure and arousal. However, Donovan et al. (1994) failed to confirm this relationship in the study conducted only in discount stores. First, arousal was not significant in pleasant environment. Second, arousal approached significance for unplanned spending, but in the negative direction. From Kaltcheva and Weitz’s (2006) point of view, this inconsistent finding implied arousal effects might be moderated by a previously unidentified situational variable, namely, the consumers’ motivational orientation. They have conducted two experiments using ANOVA on those three elements, motivational orientation, arousal and pleasantness to confirm the interactive effect. Finally, it was concluded that arousal and motivational orientation had an interactive effect which was mediated by pleasantness on shopping behaviour. Specifically, high arousal environments, which create rich shopping experiences, have a positive effect on pleasantness for recreation-oriented motivational consumers. Conversely, arousal had no significant effect on shopping behaviour intentions with regard to task-oriented consumers.

Dominance

The dominance factor is usually been deleted when using the M-R model. Although Donovan and Rossiter (1982) retained the initial tridimensional (PAD) classification, the analysis indicated that the dominance dimension was not significantly related to any of the approach-avoidance measures apart from the general regression results. Furthermore, a slight negative relationship between dominance and spend was shown, but that result was very tentative because it was based on two of the weakest measure (Coefficient Alpha < .7). In contrast to regarding the role of dominance as unimportant, several authors supported that future theory development should include it as a vital emotion influencing shopping behaviour. One reason for that is a new relationship between dominance and shopper behaviour has found in certain types of consumers. As Babin and Darden (1995) stated, feelings of dominance could significantly alter shopping behaviour among those in self-regulation and it only affected state-oriented shoppers who possessed a cognitive structure guided more by social and emotional elements of some internal or external state. The other reason attributes to the poor scope of consumer settings was employed which leaded to the disappointing results for dominance (Foxall and Greenley, 1999). After employing Mehrabian-Russell’s approach to environmental psychology based on a systematic theory of consumer situations, namely the Behavioural Perspective Model (BPM), the relationships between dominance and approach (positive) and dominance and avoidance (negative) appeared. Therefore, those results support the adoption of the BPM model in environmental consumer research, which makes a contribution to the selection of a range of consumer situations and the distinction between open and closed consumer behaviour settings.

To summarize, two generally recognized findings were drawn in the study of the relationship between emotions induced by a particular environment and shopping behaviours. First, shoppers’ emotions can be largely represented by the pleasure and arousal factors (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982; Donovan et al., 1994) and the dominance dimension seems to be important for certain types of shoppers and retail settings (Babin and Darden, 1995; Foxall and Greenley, 1999). Second, those three emotional states, mainly pleasure and arousal dimensions, affect a variety of shopping behaviours and outcomes, including extra time spent and actual unplanned spending (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982; Donovan et al., 1994).

Discussion of Other Previous Findings

Apart from some important findings discussed in the previous chapter, issues of multiple effects of store environment and moderating role of consumer characteristics were also considered in the previous research. Meanwhile, several propositions for future research will be suggested.

Multiple effects of store environment

The effects of store environment elements could be complex and they could influence shoppers’ behaviours through their impacts on emotion (PAD), cognition (attention, evaluations, information search, etc.) and physiological state (Lam, 2001). With the exception of Donovan et al. (1994), all studies discussed in this thesis are only focus on the emotional effects of store environment on behaviours. In Donovan et al.’s (1994) research, they investigated the multiple effects (emotional factors and cognitive factors) of store environment simultaneously. By adding the emotional variables to the cognitive variables to predict the change in extra time, the variance accounted for increased from (a non-significant) 5% (F=1.72) to (a significant) 21% (F=3.62), and to the prediction of unplanned spending, went up from 18% (F=4.34) to 35% (F=6.40) (both significant). Hence, those results explain that the effects of the emotional factors of pleasure and arousal can be additional to cognitive factors such as quality, variety, specialing and value for money. It was displayed that some environmental elements may have multiple impacts on shoppers’ behaviours. Therefore, it is worth studying the single and hybrid effects and analysing which is the primary effect in a particular environment.

Moderating role of consumer characteristics

Due to the fact that researchers used the environment of different stores as manipulations in their analysis, many considerable works about store-based emotions’ consequences were addressed (Lam, 2001). Though Donovan and Rossiter (1982) suggested that the impact of individual differences should also be pursued especially in the same physical environment, relatively little attention been given to the effect of personal characteristics on the relationship between shoppers’ emotions and behaviours in the environment. Donovan et al. (1994) only considered that effect at the stage of collecting the data. They selected shoppers who were relatively unfamiliar with the store as their sample to minimize self-selection effects on their findings. In addition, Babin and Darden (1995) regarded this topic by concerning the role of individual differences and ultimately examined consumer self-regulation as a partial explanation for the variance in consumer behaviour and postshopping evaluations. In sum, the moderated role of consumer characteristics has extended the knowledge concerning the effects of retail environment on behaviour. However, consumer self-regulation is just one of the factors of consumer characteristics, so many other elements could be developed in future research, for example, consumer shopping experiences with the store. Variable reactions in the same environment may be performed between new consumers and regular consumers. New customers may more rely on some tangible cues and merchandise because of their little knowledge or experience about other attributes of the store environment.

Methodology

It is widely known that the correlation between explanatory variables and the experimental design will has an influence on the power of hypothesis testing and validity of the conclusion. In terms of the data analysis, although all the journal articles reviewed here used quantitative methodology, qualitative methodology was also adopted by others (Lam, 2001); for example, using the method of in-depth interview with shoppers or participant observations to record their responses to the environment.

With regard to sample selection and situational manipulation, methods applied in earlier studies were limited in three aspects. Firstly, the sample was confined to student (Donovan and Rossiter, 1982; Kaltcheva and Weitz’s, 2006). Second, verbal descriptions of situations were employed or a simulated store environment was created rather than exposing respondents to actual consumer environments (Babin and Darden, 1995; Foxall and Greenley, 1999; Kaltcheva and Weitz’s, 2006). Third, the study is lack of theoretical coherence, relying on invented situations rather than conceptually linked environments. However, some authors have made some improvements in their researches. For example, Donovan et al. (1994) impressively overcame two of these limitations by using actual consumers (60 female shoppers) in real consumer settings (at two discount department stores), but the generality of their findings was lower because it was only conducted in one type of store environment. Likewise, Kaltcheva and Weitz (2006) improved two limitations by employing 142 actual consumers who responded to and selecting a range of consumer situations based systematically on the BPM framework. Although the coefficients of the test were small, all results of three emotional dimensions were significant and in the predicted direction, however, their research did not overcome all those three limitations. In order to increase the external validity, future research could incorporate actual consumer settings to the range of BMP-generated environment instead of simulated environments because verbal descriptions can be value-laden (Baker et al., 1992). Moreover, Belk (1975b) suggested that the best means of manipulation is to ‘combine written descriptions of features with visual and auditory input of physical and social surroundings.

References

Babin, B. J. and Darden, W. R. (1995), ‘Consumer Self-Regulation in a Retail Environment.’ Journal of Retailing, Vol. 71 (1), pp. 47-70.

Baker, J., Levy, M. and Grewal, D. (1992), ‘An Experimental Approach to Making Retail Store Environmental Decisions,’ Journal of Retailing, Vol. 68 (4), pp. 445-60.

Belk, R. W. (1975a), ‘The Objective Situation as a Determinant of Consumer Behaviour,’ in Mary Jane Schlinger (ed.), Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 2, Chicago: Association for Consumer Research.

Belk, R. W. (1975b), ‘Situational Variables and Consumer Behaviour.’ Journal of Consumer Research, Vol. 2 (December), pp. 157-164.

Donovan, R. J. and Rossiter, J. R. (1982), ‘Store Atmosphere: An Environmental Psychology Approach.’ Journal of Retailing, Vol. 58 (1), pp. 34-57.

Donovan, R. J., Rossiter, J. R., Marcoolyn, G. and Nesdale, A. (1994), ‘Store Atmosphere and Purchasing Behaviour.’ Journal of Retailing, Vol. 70 (3), pp. 283-294.

Foxall, G. R. and Greenley, G. E. (1999), ‘Consumers Emotional Responses to Service Environments.’ Journal of Business Research, Vol. 46, pp. 149-158.

Kaltcheva, V. D. and Weitz, B. A. (2006), ‘When Should a Retailer Create an

Exciting Store Environment?’ Journal of Marketing, Vol. 70 (January), pp. 107-118.

Lam, S. Y. (2001), ‘The Effects of Store Environment on Shopping Behaviours: A Critical Review.’ Advances in Consumer Research, Vol. 28, pp. 190-196.

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Business environment

Introduction

generally th it is to be understood by saying business environment is that circumstanse where business runs or do its operations generally business environment can be divided in tow sectors one of them is external environmentswhich is known as PESTEL to academics another is internal environment which is more familiar as SWOT.

Business environment show two kind of environment of business. Richman & Copensaysthat the most important two part of business environment is External environment and internal environment. Lanworthington and chrisbritton say two kind of environment are Macro and micro environment of business environment.

Internal Environment:

Business has got an internal environment that was first identified by French physiologist Claude Bernard (1813–78), Adrian palmer & Bob Hartley rightly said Micro environment and Macro environment is the part of internal environment. Richman and Copen, mention that Primary Activities and Support Activities are the part of internal environment.

Macro Environment

It is to be understood by macro environment is the outer elements of the business such as political, economical, social and so on, for most of the cases business has no control on macro environment.

Political Environment

Political environment has an important impact on the business. Political environment is not stable and can change quickly. The political environment in which the firm operates (or plan to operate) will have a significant impact on a company’s international marketing activities. The greater the level of involvement in a foreign markets, the greater the need to monitor the political climate of the countries business is conducted. Changes in government often result in changes in policy and attitudes towards foreign business.

Adrian palmer & Bob Hartley explain Political environment include PEST

Political System: The basic role of a political system is to integrate the parts of a society into a viable functioning unit, bringing together people of different ethnic or other backgrounds and allow them to work together to govern themselves. Political systems are founded upon political policies, which are established by combining different points of view that are articulated by key constituencies, such as politicians, businesses, or other special-interest groups.1.Totalitarian state, 2.Democratic State
Economic forecast: Business is a micro economic unit. The only function of economic forecasting is to make astrology look respectable. John Kenneth Galbraith
US (Canadian-born) administrator & economist (1908 – 2006)
Social forecast: The term Social Forecasting is not a recent addition to business vocabulary. The use of social forecasting stems from recognition that social pressures are becoming an increasing determinant for the success of any organization. The various indicators indicate that the society will be experiencing a total change in next few years. Some of these changes have to be anticipated and must be incorporated in any long-range plans of an organization. Economic forecasting is essentially concerned with modelling how people behave using financial criteria as a means for maximising welfare. It is dependent on certain assumption of people behaviour. Elements for social forecast is1.Identification of important phenomenon, 2.Selection of phenomena for deeper study, 3.A system of measurement, 4.A time-scale
Technology: Information technology refers to the management and use of information using computer-based tools. It includes acquiring, processing, storing, and distributing information. Most commonly it is a term used to refer to business applications of computer technology, rather than scientific applications. The term is used broadly in business to refer to anything that ties into the use of computers.

The Socio-Cultural Environment

This is perhaps the most difficult element of the macro-environment to evaluate, manifesting itself in changing tastes, purchasing behavior and changing priorities. The type of goods and services demanded by consumers is a function of their social conditioning and their consequent attitudes and beliefs.

Core cultural values are those firmly established within a society and are therefore difficult to change. They are perpetuated through family, the church, education and the institutions of society and act as relatively fixed parameters within which marketing firms are forced to operate. Secondary cultural values, however, tend to be less strong and therefore more likely to undergo change. Generally, social change is preceded by changes over time in a society’s secondary cultural values, for example the change in social attitude towards credit. As recently as the 1960s, personal credit, or hire purchase as is sometimes known, was generally frowned upon and people having such arrangements tended not to discuss it in public. Today, offering instant credit has become an integral part of marketing, with many of us regularly using credit cards and store accounts. Indeed, for many people it is often the availability and terms of credit offered that are major factors in deciding to purchase a particular product.

The Technological Environment

One example of how technological change has affected marketing activities is in the development of electronic point of sale (EPOS) data capture at the retail level. The ‘laser checkout’ reads a bar code on the product being purchased and stores information that is used to analyze sales and re-order stock, as well as giving customers a printed readout of what they have purchased and the price charged. Manufacturers of fast-moving consumer goods, particularly packaged grocery products, have been forced to respond to these technological innovations by incorporating bar codes on their product labels or packaging. In this way, a change in the technological environment has affected the products and services that firms produce and the way in which firms carry out their business operations.

So technology, has an great impact business its potential for the business to updated with the technology all the tme

Micro Environment

Customers

Organizations survive on the basis of meeting the needs, wants and providing benefits for their customers. Failure to do so will result in a failed business strategy.

Employees

The main element of micro environment is employees because it the force which move other resources of the organization, they have the controlling power of mobility.

Suppliers

su

Figure 1Micro Environmental Factor/Stakeholder Analysis

Supplier got the bargain power , that is why they are potential to the business. The have the power of controlling demands. Good relationship with supplier may facilitate business development.

Shareholders

Share holders for the public limited company and private limited company`s are important, because by law they are the partial owner of the organization, as result the got the voting power to select the governing comity those who run the business on their behalf.

Media

Positive or adverse media attention on an organizations product or service can in some cases make or break an organization. Consumer programmers with a wider and more direct audience can also have a very powerful and positive impact, forcing organizations to change their tactics.

Competitors

Business rivals are need to be consider in business environment, because their strategic plan promotion and policy affects the organization.

External Environment

A business does not function in a vacuum. It has to act and react to what happens outside the factory and office walls. These factors that happen outside the business are known as external factors or influences. These will affect the main internal functions of the business and possibly the objectives of the business and its strategies.

Main Factors

The main factor that affects most business is the degree of competition – how fiercely other businesses compete with the products that another business makes.

The other factors that can affect the business are:

Social – ultimate’s buyer, households and communities behave and their beliefs. For instance, changes in attitude towards health, or a greater number of pensioners in a population.

Legal –new legislation in society affects the business. E.g. changes in employment laws on working hours.

Economic –economy affects a business in terms of taxation, government spending, general demand, interest rates, exchange rates and European and global economic factors.

Political – changes in government policy might affect the business e.g. a decision to subsidies building new houses in an area could be good for a local brick works.

Technological – rapid pace of change in production processes and product innovation affect a business.

Ethical – what is regarded as morally right or wrong for a business to doFor instance should it trade with countries which have a poor record on human rights?

Changing External Environment

Markets are changing all the time. It does depend on the type of product the business produces, however a business needs to react or lose customers.

Some of the main reasons why markets change rapidly:

Customers develop new needs and wants.
New competitors enter a market.
New technologies mean that new products can be made.
A world or countrywide event happen e.g. Gulf War or foot and mouth disease.
Government introduces new legislation e.g. increases minimum wage.

Business and Competition

Though a business does not want competition from other businesses, inevitably most will face a degree of competition.

The amount and type of competition depends on the market the business operates in:

Many small rival businesses – e.g. a shopping mall or city centre arcade – close rivalry.
A few large rival firms – e.g. washing powder or Coke and Pepsi.
A rapidly changing market – e.g. where the technology is being developed very quickly the mobile phone market.

A business could react to an increase in competition (e.g. a launch of rival product) in the following ways:

Cut prices (but can reduce profits)
Improve quality (but increases costs)
Spend more on promotion (e.g. do more advertising, increase brand loyalty; but costs money)
Cut costs, e.g. use cheaper materials, make some workers redundan

Social Environment and Responsibility

Social change is when the people in the community adjust their attitudes to way they live. Businesses will need to adjust their products to meet these changes, e.g. taking sugar out of children’s drinks, because parents feel their children are having too much sugar in their diets.

The business also needs to be aware of their social responsibilities. These are the way they act towards the different parts of society that they come into contact with.

Legislation covers a number of the areas of responsibility that a business has with its customers, employees and other businesses. It is also important to consider the effects a business can have on the local community. These are known as the social benefits and social costs.

Conclusion

The topic was about Business Environment. Topic gives a brief of Internal and external environment and some critical analysis of them. Differentissue stand base of topics. How business environment runwhat r the process What based on business environment?

These were the assignment was about.

Bibliography
Drucker, Peter. Managing the nonprofit organization, New York: Harper Collins, 1990.
Frumkin, Peter. “Philanthropic leverage.” Society, Volume 37, p40, Transaction Publishers, September 2000.
The business and marketing environment / Adrian Palmer and Bob Hartley London; New York: McGraw-Hill, c1996. Xiii, 340 p.: ill. ; 25 cm. Bib ID- 2721834.
http://www.articlesnatch.com
Boone, L., Kurtz, D. 1992. Contemporary Marketing. Fort Worth, TX: Dryden Press.
“Developing Your Strategic SWOT Analysis.” Austrainer. 1999. http://www.austrainer.com/archives/1397.htm. (5 Dec. 1999).
Ferrell, O., Hartline, M., Lucas, G., Luck, D. 1998. Marketing Strategy. Orlando, FL: Dryden Press.
“SWOT Analysis- Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats.” PMI- Plus, Minus, Interesting. 1999. http://www.mindtools.com/swot.html. (5 Dec. 1999).
“Swoting” Your Way to Success.” BHC. 1999. http://www.bradhuckelco.com.au/swot.htm. (5 Dec. 1999).

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Free Essays

Companies’ behavior towards changes in the external environment

Introduction:

Ash from Iceland’s eyjafjallajokull volcano triggered an unprecedented shutdown of European airspace for six days until the 21st of April 2010, paralyzing many airports and trapping hundreds of thousands of tourists and business travellers. The flight ban was compulsory because ash can turn to molten glass in the high temperatures of an aircraft’s turbine and cripple the engine. The safety and security of travellers was the first priority of the airlines’ companies and accordingly they had to stop all their flights within Europe, which in turn affected the whole tourism’s industry including hotels. BBC, 2010)

However, each company had their own point of view on the best actions that can be taken in these types of situations and unique circumstances, depending on some of the business and economical theories and concepts. Nevertheless, to demonstrate and understand these actions Mrs. Judith Piggott’s experience with British airways and a local hotel is used. In this report, these theories will be presented and analyzed; in addition the way that the companies implemented them in this case will be exposed.

Supply and Demand and how do they effect the price and the Market Equilibrium:

To understand the local hotel’s attempt, which is lowering their price, the terms supply, demand and Market Equilibrium must be known. Firstly, the term demand means “the want or desire to possess a good or service with the necessary goods, services, or financial instruments necessary to make a legal transaction for those goods or services” (see appendix 1), and the relationship between price and quantity demanded is an inverse or negative relationship. This means that when price goes up quantity demanded goes down, and when price goes down quantity demanded goes up true for individuals, modules (e.g. Groups of consumers), whole markets. Secondly, the word supply in economics means “the amount of a product that the firm is able and willing to put on the market over a specified period” (see appendix 1). The market supply is the sum of the supply of all firms at any given price, there is a positive relationship between price and quantity, when price goes up quantity supplied goes up (Tucker, 2008). Finally and the most important term for our case is the Market Equilibrium, where the supply and demand intersect or in another words when the quantity of product supplied equals the quantity of product demanded at any given price (see appendix 2). (Wessels, 2006)

Therefore, the Market Equilibrium is the goal for any firm to avoid any surpluses (see appendix 3) or shortages (see appendix 4). By understanding these concepts we can recognise that the local hote were concerned that because of the ash clouds, the coming customers’ numbers will be less than usual adding to that the other competitors in the market which will even lower the numbers more, consequently minimising the hotel’s chare from the whole market. Therefore, the hotel had to lower their prices firstly to avoid surpluses of empty rooms, and secondly to compete with the other hotels in the market.

Gaining the customer loyalty:

The regular company in the UK wastes from 20-40% of its customers each year. By acknowledging this issue and its negative influence on the company competitiveness and profitability, a firm must swap from the long accepted market share strategy to a completely different long-term approach to business, which is building the customer loyalty (Bell and Patterson, 2004). Boosted loyalty can bring cost savings to a firm in at least six areas:

Reduced marketing costs (customer gaining or attracting costs require more pounds).
Lower switching costs such as contract negotiation and order processing.
Reduced customer turnover costs (fewer lost customers to replace).
Increased cross-selling success leading to larger share of market.
More positive word of mouth and better company image.
Reduced collapse costs.

Five advantages for making a first time customer a lifetime purchaser (Loyal customer):

Sales go up, because the customer is purchasing more from the firm.
The firm is strengthening their situation in the marketplace, when clients are buying from them instead of their competitors.
Marketing costs decrease when the firm doesn’t have to spend a huge amount of money to attract repeat customers, since they already have them. In addition, as satisfied customers they tell their friends (Word of mouth marketing) thereby decreasing your need to advertise. Therefore, decreasing marketing costs.
Avoiding price competition with competitors, because a loyal customer is less expected to be attracted away to another competitors by a discount of a few pounds.
Finally, a satisfied customer is expected to sample the firm’s other product lines thus helping to achieve a larger share of customers.

When a firm is spending less to attract new customers, it can afford to pay their staff’s better wages. Better salaries prompt a chain reaction, with huge benefits. If a company is able to maintain good workers, the company’s loyalty both internally and externally improves. Just as customer retaining has a positive influence on profitability, customer defection can have a negative influence. Defection by a long-term customer (Loyal customer) can cause an intense loss and affect the bottom line faster than defection by a new customer. Both of customer loyalty and satisfaction are two words that go into the Sales Strategic Plan. (Lawfer, 2004).

Both of British airways and Thomson’s holidays tried to gain the customer’s loyalty and expand their customers’ base by their actions. For example, British airways paid off their customers the extra nights hotel’s fees, and they did that in a short period of time. Whereas companies such as Ryan air refused to do so. In addition, Thomson holidays were so generous and caring with their customers they paid for the extra nights, food and they even send their cruises to pick their clients and return them home. While, other companies where so mean and untruthful to their clients, they promised to pay for the meals and then retreat and demanded money for them. Which had a negative impact on their customer base. Thus lowered the number of returning customers and that can be seen clearly from Ryan air customer’s feedback. Even though British airways and Thomson holidays lost a huge amount of money on the short run, but they gained their customer’s loyalty and trust. Consequently, expanded their customers’ base, which will recover their losses in the long run (Reichheld, 1996).

Conclusion:

To sum up, the Iceland’s volcanic ash had a strong impact on the airlines industry and forced the companies to stop all their flight within Europe, which in turn affected the tourism industry as a whole. Companies’ actions towards this incident varied from one to another, depending on some of the commercial and economical theories and principles. Some of the companies such as British airways and Thomson holidays were looking more on the future and tried to maintain their customer base and gain their trust, by being helpful and truthful with their clients. On the other hand companies such Rayan air and some of the other holiday’s firms, were dishonest and looked more on the present and how to avoid losses. Even though British airways and Thomson lost a huge amount of money on the short run, but maintaining their customer base will allow them to cover these losses in the long run.In terms of pricing strategies the local hotel depended on the great understanding of the economical terms supply, demand and Market Equilibrium. They pushed the price down so they can raise the demand up and achieve the Market Equilibrium, and in turn avoid surpluses or shortages in rooms. Moreover, pushing the prices down will able them to compete with other competitors in the market and expand their market share. In my opinion British airways and Thomson holidays made the right strategic decision and approached the right actions, because of the advantages of increasing the loyalty and maintaining loyal customers that I mentioned previously. In addition, I think the local hotel were also successful in their pricing strategies, because if they did not push the prices down there would had been a huge numbers of unequipped rooms, and their losses would had been even grater.

Reference list

BBC (2010) Icelandic volcanic ash alert grounds UK flights. April 15, 2010 [online]. Available from: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/8621407.stm [Accessed on April 22, 2011]

Bell, C. And Patterson, J. (2004) Customer Loyalty, Guaranteed: Create, Lead, And Sustain

Remarkable Customer. Massachusetts: Adams Media

Lawfer, M. (2004) Why Customers Come Back: How to Create Lasting Customer Loyalty. New Jersey:

The Career Press

Reichheld, F. (1996) The loyalty effect: the hidden force behind growth, profits, and

lasting value. Massachusetts: Harvard Business School Press

Tucker, I. (2008) Macroeconomics for Today. Ohio: Cengage Learning

Wessels, W. (2006) Economics. New York: BARRON’S

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Tourism is the activity of people travelling to and staying in places outside of their usual environment for not more than one than consecutive year for leisure

Introduction

Definition of tourism

“Tourism is the activity of people travelling to and staying in places outside of their usual environment for not more than one than consecutive year for leisure, for business and other purposes “(Youell 1998). It is about people travelling internationally to experience different cultures.

Hunziker and krapf, in 1941, define tourism as “the sum of the phenomena and relationship arising from the travel and stay of non-residents, insofar as they do not lead to permanent resident and not connected with any earning activity. In 1976 tourism society of England define it as tourism is the temporary, short term movement for all purposes.
According to the UNSRID (2001) there were 567m such travelers in 1995. Therefore any social or cultural chances will have an impact on the Tourism and Hospitality Industry. This essay is focus on the tourisms industry within European context but it will refer some cases to specific countries. It will consider how the economic growth of the 50th influence European society and run the development of tourism as a society activity become an integral part of the lifestyle in northern European.

Social impacts

Since the internet and World Wide Web is invented manyindustries have been steadily disrupted. Many businesses found theirselves unable to compete in the today’s digital world. Moreover social industry makes it easier to gather competitive intelligence than ever before. The companies who are ready to adapt these changes could get cost and differentiate advantages, said by Dess et al…2010. Because of this hotel can achieve benefits on both selling side and buy side. In effect it is more costly and time consuming to maintain the relationship with exchanging information about supplies needed, said by Laudon et al…2007.

According to the chaffey in 209, benefits of e-SCM comprise increased process efficiency and it reduces complexity and cost and also improves data integration and innovation. It is said by Hogast, an Australian purchasing association that it enables the hotels to combine their resources to improve process effectiveness. Now days hotels have to cope with perish ability and seasonality of their service offering. These days more than 70% of households in many European countries internet access. There is always a discussion on negative aspects’ of online intermediaries. However internet enables hotels to take over any intermediary and through developing their own channels online they can cut out the middleman. For example, customers were attracted from France Belgium by website by Austrian wellness hotel. It gives the benefits to the hotels that consumers are now used to this online approach. Nowadays more revelers rely on hotel reviews and their increasing seeks value of money. Some hotels are also accused of providing false reviews and information to increase their booking in short time. But in effect it spoils the hotel image of those hotels that provide fake information. There is no doubt that myriads of hotel reviews can have both positive and negative effects on costumer’s expectations. If hotels implements web software to avoid problems then it is the employee who has to learn properly how to use that service. For example, the intercontinental hotel group (IHG) advertises via Google ADWORDS and enables independent media owner to encourage their products in exchange for commission. Furthermore HIG hotels also increase their sales through mobile advertising and a dedicated mobile version of its website (Google 2011). There is also other online services provide by ebay.com, priceline.com, or groupon.com that can be integrated in yield management initiatives to increase customers demand, yet it must be born in mind that heavy discount might advertise affect brand equity (killian branding, 2011)

Cultural impacts

Culture tourism is the one of the largest growing global tourism market. Culture and creative industries’ are increasingly being used to destination and enhance their competitiveness and attractiveness. Travel for leisure in western European began from minority of privileges classes centuries ago and has develop to mass participation of the people in the post –warera. “In 1950 there were approximately 25 million international tourists and after that it reaches to 616 million in 1997”. This phenomenon was remarkable repaid and has been possible thanks to the economic reforms that follow the 2nd world war. In the UK. The lab our party introduce a massive “reconstruction” program under the supervision of Keynes, an economic adviser. Many locations are developing now for their tangible and intangible culture assets as mean to developing tourism.

The cold environment is not merely a setting in which a rich diversity people live, but rather it encompasses the essential resources upon which the lives and culture depends. Wide cultural differences occur between countries and sometimes between different regions within the same country. Indeed the existence of such difference may be the one principle stimulants of a tourism industry. According to the butler and hinch, 1996 in some developing countries traditional cultural behavior patterns of particular groups of people form one focus of the tourism industry.

The problem is exacerbated because tourists are by definition, strangers in the destination. There dress code and style pattern and behavior are the different to the residents and different from those that the tourist would display at home: shyness “is lean-to and the consequent problems of prostitution, drugs, gambling and sometimes vandalism ensure. All strangers tourist may fall in robbery and crimes perpetrated by the local community who may see these activities. Culture heritage included thought of built tradition building, archaeological heritage, and socio- culture heritage. Architectural heritage may be affected by the climate changing number of ways. The most obvious is the direct effect of rising sea level on those that are near the coast and may be damage by coastal impacts. Cultural change is included both of by factors which are internal and external to culture. Culture would change in the absence of tourism. A serious increase in tourism will cause a “cultural revolution” which result in whole new culture replacing the existing one. The leisure destination concept , with retail as its essential for many people provide a “one stop shop” for all their leisure needs. The sheer number of attracted by such complex give an indication of the importance of the retail tourism enhance by entertainment facilities. Fig 1 shows visitor numbers for retail attraction compared to more traditional UK visitor’s attraction.

Attraction Visitor numbersAttractionVisitor numbers
Trafford centre30 millionChester zoo1.25 million
Meadowhall30 millionBritish museum5.9 million
Blue water 27 millionFew gardens1.3 million
Cadbury world0.5 million

There are a number of reasons for the success of the retail attraction which include the following.

Large – scale complexes which can attract up to 35 million visitors annually.
Open for more than 15 hours per day, 363 day a year.
Free at point entry.
Safe, clean and air condition environment.
Multiple products base- shops, restaurants, bars and entertainment.

Megatrend influences on tourist market

The end of the twentieth century was a great time for transformation in all fields of life. There were many fast paced changes throughout social condition, the economy and technology, which brought many changes with in tourism. The fluxuation and competition within the tourist market not only requires constant observation and the ability to anticipate change, but also being able to react to the new trend before it becomes the norm. This shows the importance of the knowledge in the action of these megatrends which can be classified in to six basic groups; demographics, politics, social and cultural, economics technology and ecology. In each groups there are positive factors, which will either stimulate or dater the development of the tourism, each with variability in strength and effect.

The table of megatrends and tourism development.

In conclusion, with the culture and tourism change tourism industry is growing very fast. Everything is in our hand in which we can solve all the problems. Due to these changes tourism industry day by day and gaining benefits. Also tourist who are out of the country they see different things, different types of people and they also taste different type of food in those countries where they travel. With these companies government take benefits. So these culture and social changes carried many positive and negative impacts on the world which we discuss in my essay.

Bibliography

GLOBEL TOURISM 2ND EDDITION BY William f. Theobald

WWW. OPPAPERS.COM/ ESSAY / EUROPEAN, SOCIAL AND CULTURE RECENT EVENTS.

DR.KRISTIAN J. 2009 TRENDS AND ISSUES IN GLOBAL TOURISM, SPRINGER PUBLICATION.

Archer, B.H.: Demand forecasting and estimation, w: Travel, Tourism and Hospitality [Ed. W.Ritchie & C.Goeldner], Wiley, New York 1989

GEOFFEY WALL, ALISTER MATHIESON TOURISM: CHANGES, IMPACTS AND OPPORTUNITIES.

Kusluvan, S., 2003, Managing Employee Attitudes and Behaviours in the Tourism and Hospitality Industry, Nova Publishers

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Free Essays

Study of the Organisation structure of SICT, business environment, description of projects and activities of Staffordshire County Council

Abstract:

This report is delivered in accordance to the experience gained from a year placement at Staffordshire County Council. It includes the organisation structure of SICT, business environment, description of projects and activities involved during the placement period. It also illustrates one’s interpersonal and technical skills acquired from the work experience. The report is produced in conclusion to what was learned and achieved by the end of the placement year.

1 Introduction

The role of Industrial Placement programmer was appointed in SCC as a part of sandwich degree for placement year on 21st June 2010. It was a fixed term contract until 21st of June 2011. The unit was ICT under Strategic Core Directorate. The contractual hour of work were 37 hours per week and was under probation period for 6 months. The assigned role was of a student placement Programmer in MIS Team. This offered role provided an opportunity to gain exposure in providing business analysis support, working on technical specification, completing new developments and supporting existing systems within a team environment.

A year placement in SCC has turned out to be the first step into a professional world. It was an opportunity to experience a wider variety of work in a diverse working environment and knowledge of an organisation structure. There were opportunities to deal with the business and clients directly and understood the importance of delivering services to them efficiently and within the given timeframe.

2. Background

Fig 1: Staffordshire County Council Logo

Staffordshire county council first came into existence on 1st April 1974 when the Local Government Act 1972 came into force. During the restructuring of an existing local government structure, entirely new ‘two-tier’ system replaced an administrative counties and county boroughs and created metropolitan and non-metropolitan counties.

Staffordshire county council is situated in Staffordshire, seventh largest shire county in England which is in the West Midlands with a population of over 800,000. It is a big organisation and Staffordshire’s largest employer with 32,279 jobs. Besides serving the large population its responsibility include more than 400 schools, libraries, a wide range of complex social services in very different urban and rural communities, an extensive road system, and some of the country’s most important natural areas. For the better improvement of the prosperity, health, safety and environment of the whole county, it works with other partner organisations such as district and parish councils, police, and fire and health authorities. Some partner Local Authorities in Staffordshire are as follows:

Cannock Chase District Council • East Staffordshire Borough Council
Lichfield District council • Newcastle Borough Council
South Staffordshire District Council • Stafford Borough Council
Staffordshire Moorlands District Council• Tamworth Borough Council etc.

The organisation structure of SCC consists of three directorates which are “Development Services”, “Children, Young People and Families” and “Social Care and Health” along with Strategic Core which is made up of the Chief Executive’s Office, Finance, ICT, Communities and Culture and Law and Governance. More focus has been given to Customer Services and strategy by concentrating on ‘People’ and ‘Place’ rather than in current structure providing the needs of customer better than ever before.

2.1 Aim

The aim of Staffordshire County Council is to provide high quality services providing value for money and focused on, and delivering around the needs of our customers and communities. To provide better services to the customers, SCC’s new Strategic Plan 2010 – 2015 called “Staffordshire Unites” has been set which intends to achieve the vision of SCC i.e. “Through pride and passion in our county we will maximise opportunities for improved wealth, health and well-being. Staffordshire County Council is here for Staffordshire People.”

2.2 Staffordshire ICT:

SICT is the central unit of SCC. SICT works in collaboration with other council services and partners to improve the delivery of services through the efficient use of ICT. SICT Service Management, SICT Improvements and Staffordshire Learning Technology (SLT) are the three main functional areas identified by SICT for delivering the requirements of the authority in an efficient way.

SICT service management takes responsibility of management of ICT infrastructure and its daily services such as Help Desk function, desktop function, desktop equipment, applications etc for the whole SCC, including schools and council’s partner. SICT Improvements develops ICT services such as project management, tendering services and system development of the ICT systems which add value to the business by helping them to transform their services. ICT services are delivered to all County schools and the other education establishments on a trade basis by Staffordshire Learning technology.

2.2.1 Organisation Structure of SICT:

The current organisational structure of SICT is mainly divided into three functional areas in order to enable the transformation of the services throughout the Staffordshire by the efficient use of the ICT.

All of these service areas report to the Director of ICT Sander Kristel.

Refer to appendix E – pg no. 24

2.2.3 ICT Delivery Model

Fig 2: ICT Delivery Model (sourced from intranet)

3 Hardware and Software System

3.1 Hardware:

The approved hardware packages used in SICT consist of standard equipments such as thin Client devices, laptops and desktop PCs for design application which include 22” inch TFT, keyboard and mouse. Standard printers in use are HP DeskJet 7000(manual), HP LaserJet 3015dn, and HP LaserJet CP3535dn etc.

3.2 Software System:

SCIT provides standard SCC Desktop Software Applications for ICT devices which includes software packages that are approved and available as additional cost options.

The standard SCC Desktop Software Applications are listed below:

Standard SoftwareName and version of product Additional

SoftwareName and version of product1) Operating SystemMicrosoft Windows XP Professional1) Project

SoftwareMicrosoft Project 20032) Office SuiteMicrosoft Office 2003 Professional2) Design softwareMicrosoft Visio 2003 Professional3) Internet BrowserInternet Explorer 83) IXOSIXOS4) PDF File viewerAdobe Acrobat Reader 8.04) TRIMTRIM

5)Anti-Virus ProtectionMacAfee Virus scan Enterprise 8.05) AutoCADAutoCAD6) Desktop Support Remote Control eLANDesk 8.7

The additional software packages downloaded for work purpose are listed below:

SoftwareName and version of product
1) NetbeansNetbeans 6.0
2) Microsoft Visual Studio1) Visual studio 2008

2) Visual studio 20103) Microsoft SQL Server Microsoft SQL Server 20084)SAP1) SAP BW (3 environments : development, QA, Production)

2)SAP NetWeaver Portal 7

3)Reporting Tool :

a) Report Designer,

b) BEx Query Designer

c)BEx Web Application Designer and BEx Analyzer

4) ECC6

5) SAP CRM5) Microsoft Visual SourceSafeMicrosoft VSS 2005

3.3 Business Environment

3.3.1 SAP Services:

The SCC runs SAP as its corporate ERP and is implementing a SAP Children’s Social Care Solutions which were first introduced in 2003. The core SAP ERP Services of SCC are HR, Payroll, Finance and Procurement whereas the SAP Social Care Solutions are based on CRM, RM, BI and adobe forms. SCC also uses SAP Security based on Roles and authorisation. The SCC runs the following systems which require SAP interfaces; SAP SCUK, ECC6, TRIM, Respond, LG45/SAP CRM, FACE, Trojan, Contact point, Capita One Range of Service. The main objective of integrating these systems with SAP is to provide ‘single source’ of information more system integration in future improving the performance and productivity level of the services provided the customer.

Fig 4: SAP Social Care – Technical environment (sourced from intranet)

3.3.2 System Development:
There are currently over 200 application range of in house written and purchased system used in SCC to provide different services. Among them several application systems are used corporately, within Directorates or for specific group. These applications are designed and created with the effective use of wide range of technologies such as dot NET, Java, Oracle and SQL database. There are several application systems that are used corporately, within Directorates or for specific group.
GIS/ Local view – graphical information systems
ONE/SIMS- education management system
Web- CMS, collaboration
Oracle LG45 CRM – CRM system for Staffordshire connects partnership
The major system developments are related to SAP, Customer First, Traffic management, Adult and children case management system

4 Work Placement

4.1 Job Description:

The job title was Student placement programmer, involved working with senior developers of MIS team and Solution Design team and reporting to the placement supervisor.

4.2 Daily Basis Tasks:

The day to day jobs included updating appointed tasks in SharePoint (a web application to record projects and task done or appointed to an individual), recording the hours of work done in Time Recording system, monitoring scheduled data load in BW and updating it in the web portal, helping customer with their problems through remote connection to their machine and reporting the work to the appointed business client.

4.3 Responsibilities:

Scheduling Data Loads and Maintaining Process Chains in BW

BW is one of the application systems of SCC that are relevant to “Information”. Extraction, Transformation and Load (ETL) Layer is responsible for extracting data from a specific source, applying transformation rules and loading it into the Data Warehouse. The master and transactional data from different source systems are loaded into BW InfoObjects such as DSO, Info cube, Multiprovider etc. The InfoObjects are used to extract data out for creating reports. The data load in BW is performed by using process chains which need to be scheduled so, that the data load runs automatically on its scheduled date and time. Data load was scheduled every month for daily, weekly and monthly ones and all the jobs automatically get cancelled on bank holidays.

Maintaining Consistency between all environment in BW System

The SAP BW Solution operates on three tier system as follows:

DEV (Development)
QA (Quality Assurance and Test)
PRD (Production)

All the developments were carried out and tested first in development environment before transporting developed objects across QA for further testing. After successful testing in QA, the objects are transported again from development to production environment for publishing live updated data. For better performance and future reference it was necessary to maintain all three environments inline as automatic updates are only available for production system. Consistency between all environments were maintained regularly by manually carrying out data loads in DEV and QA environments and adding missing objects which already exist in production system.

Managing BW transport

Normally in SAP BW , the objects that are either installed from Business content or developed in DEV systems can be transported from DEV systems to QA and Production systems.SAP BW allows to transport works like configuration, objects, roles, and business Explorer(BEx) objects. Transports can be internal transport i.e. between different systems of BW or external transport which is between source systems such as ECC6, CRM to SAP BW system and takes place using RFC (Remote Function Call) during uploading. Internal transportations are carried out according to the need of the user at anytime whereas external transportation takes place only in certain days and has to be informed b filling the transport request form.

Transport packages created in DEV environment has its own transport ID which is needed to identify one’s transport to avoid conflicts. The results of either successful or failed transports are displayed in BW system that enables to manage transport across different system.

Meetings with team members, business client and placement tutor

Team meetings in MIS team were held normally twice in a month whereas in solution design team it used to be once in a week where team manager will notify the latest happenings and news of the SCC, any projects that is going to be start, any health and safety matters, feedbacks of the customer on the ongoing or released projects and other work related issues

The meetings with business clients were attended to discuss about the specification and requirements of the products they requested and the deadlines when they want it to be delivered and feedback of the finished product.

The placement visit from our placement tutor took place in the office twice in a year. The visit was very beneficial as the tutor tracked down the progress of our work by consulting with our supervisor and team member. The assessment and the advice from the tutor were very helpful to find the state of one’s capability to carry out job and encouraging oneself to keeping up the hard work.

Attending inductions, trainings and demos

SCC organises inductions and trainings for all the internal employees for their benefits and to maintain their standard of working. In the beginning of the placement period, induction had to be attended where briefings were given about the organisation structure, health and safety policies, rules and regulation, equality and diversity, security policy and other work related issues. In accordance to the job role, ICT Training centre of SCC also gave ICT induction to provide the information on standard equipments and software, computer security, electronic filing and corporate software which helped to get on with the job during first stage.

Any applications developed or changed had to be presented to the customer for which demos were conducted upon the request of customer.

Creating, Maintaining and Deploying BW Reports

In accordance to report specifications reports were designed and created using BEx query analyser and BEx web designer. The web templates were later published into SAP web portal.

Writing new applications and maintaining existing system

As a developer’s main responsibility, new application were designed and written upon the request of business and also maintained the ones which are already in use. The maintenance required addition of new functionality and validation, updating the version of software and implement further testing. Reuse of code, performance issues, functionality and robustness were the major points to be implemented whist developing a new application.

Implement Testing

Implementations of testing were required to ensure the functionality and robustness of the applications and reports created for business clients. Unit testing were done for the block of codes written in java or visual basic for applications in accordance to the test plan designed by the development team.

Helping Customer with their problems and issues:

Customers were provided all the information and solutions to their queries and problems. If necessary they were given further help through remote connection to their machine or through individual phone calls. The issues like setting up customer’s account in ECC6 system, installation of software and showing how to use application functionality were dealt whist providing customer the easy and effective way to solve a problem.

5 Project Descriptions:

5.1 PISCES Reporting:

PISCES is the new Social Care solution for Children’s system which went live on 25th of April 2011 after the successful migration of business partner cases into the system from CISS database system. Reports for PISCES system are produced using SAP BW suite of reporting tools. The reports are accessed via the SAP Portal, using standard Internet Web Browser.

Two of major reports of PISCES namely “Children Subject to CPP Statutory Visits” and “Looked after Children Statutory Visits” was created in accordance to the given specification from CYP& F directorate. The reports were created using the BEx Query Designer and BEx Web Analyser which were later published into Web portal for user access.

Refer to Appendix B- pg no 21

5.2 ECC6 Upgrade Testing:

SCC upgraded SAP R/3 source system to SAP ERP central component ECC6 which went live on 25th of October 2010. SCC uses ECC6 as the main enterprise resource planning software for Human Resources, Payroll, Finance and Procurement to collect and combine data from these different modules and provide to the organisation under one instance. The main reason behind this upgrade was to enable products to function upon foundation of central component.

SAP BW uses ECC6 as one of its main source system and projects the source system changes. It is necessary to ensure that upgrading the source system on SAP BW environment would not impact the data modelling object built-in SAP BW system. To implement the changes in production system, tests were first required to carry out in development environment followed by QA environment.

In this project, the assigned role was of a tester and the responsibility was to implement testing in accordance to a test plan designed by BW analysts. The test involved switching of the source system, data reloading to have the initializations and deltas to come from the new system. During test the old source system (both transactional and master) were deleted in the BW system before reloading data from ECC6 to ensure the consistency in the data from a system. After the successful completion of testing in BW Development and QA environment, the upgrade was finally implemented in production system which was also tested after the go live process.

5.3 In House Applications Development:

The system development areas involved adding functionality to the existing applications, rewriting codes for the existing system, analysing business requirements, designing, implementing and testing the new systems, writing user guides and technical manuals. The software development team use Agile Software development to develop their new system and maintain existing system. The advantage of Agile based approach is modification of the requirements which is often applicable in a fast changing environment and deliver functionality rapidly to ensure customer satisfactions.

5.3.1 Time Recording

The Time Recording application is an electronic time recording system used by SCC’s staff to record their flexi time. It allows user to know the duration of time they have worked, whether they are up or down on their time. Using this application senior managers calculate the average working pattern and needs of their staff of to see the true cost of projects and resources. It provides a central repository of the time recording information and an easy interface with level of functionality to the user. This application comprises of custom frontend developed by using Java programming language making it user friendly and SAP backend architecture providing the scalable and robust underlying architecture.

For this existing application, it was required to add a new functionality to the system which allows user to filter the list of products and its related activities from the frontend and restricts user to input any times following the 30th April for any given financial year. A new custom filtering form was created to implement these functionalities.

Refer to Appendix C – pg no. 22

5.3.2 School Crossing Patrol

School Crossings is an application designed and developed for Road Safety Office to manage the information about school crossings, patrols that staff a school crossing and the physical location of the actual school crossings. It was required to design the new system to replace the existing Access database which did not meet most of the needs of the School Crossings Patrol service and was not supported by ICT. Thus, this application was rewritten as it is crucial to the running of the service both operationally and from a performance management perspective.

The new system consists of a web based frontend written in Visual Studio 2010 IDE using ASP.Net and Visual Basic (VB) and the backend uses a Microsoft SQL Server 2008 database. There is an integration of SAP into the new system to avoid data duplication. The database for this system was designed and created which was then integrated with the frontend application. Designing of basic framework, applying windows authentication and validations, adding functionality such as establishing hyperlinks, creating menus for web page, data grid views, adding, editing and removing data from the frontend were the tasks involve during implementation of this project.

6 Benefits:

The placement was beneficial in regards to development of personal and technical skills. More self-confidence was build to face any real time problems and challenges.

6.1 Interpersonal Development:

During the placement period, working with two teams with a wide range of members enabled to successfully initiate, maintain and manage positive social relationships with them in a range of contexts.

Providing good customer services in a manner that customer is provided all the required information and quality products in time.
Working cooperatively and effectively as a part of a diverse professional team contributing more effort with best conduct.
Improvement of communication skills and ability to communicate confidently with the seniors and other colleagues about the work related problems and query.
Ability to prioritise time during work to fit around study commitments and social life.
Understanding of the establishment and functions of organisation structure. Analysing business requirements and importance of delivering quality services before deadline.

6.2 Technical Skills Acquired:

A year experience in SCC has enhanced the technical knowledge and skills in programming and developing systems.

Sound knowledge of SAP software, architecture and its modules such as ECC6, CRM, BI and SAP NetWeaver.
Better understanding of Business Intelligence, analytical, reporting and Data Warehousing solution provided by SAP BI System. Efficient use of reporting tool “SAP NetWeaver BI” and a web browser “SAP NetWeaver Portal”.
Introduction to the ABAP programming language specifically used in SAP modules.
Practical experience of using object oriented programming language, utilising the concurrency/multithreading concepts and implementation of Hash table in java for better performance and memory management purpose.
Integration of SAP ECC6 with java application by the use of Remote Function Calls (RFC) modules from the java platform.
Use of ASP.net programming language to create web based GUI application and adding a windows authentication for security.
Creation and population data tables, views using SQL statements and design database diagrams in Microsoft SQL server.

7 Conclusions:

In conclusion, an experience of a year placement at SCC has been invaluable and memorable moments of the life. It has been very beneficial providing knowledge of organisation structure, working environment and methodologies, customer services and development of both technical and personal skills. There is a strong belief that everything learned during this period will contribute in final year project on analysing requirements, managing time, selecting the suitable programming language and IDE for developing application, utilising new programming and testing methodologies. It will help in the accomplishment of future career goals i.e. to stand out as a successful developer in any competitive business market.

References and Bibliography:

1)Staffordshire County Council History

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Staffordshire [accessed 09/04/2011]

2)Staffordshire County Council (2011) Organisation Information

http://www.staffordshire.gov.uk/yourcouncil/home.aspx [accessed 10/04/2011]

3)SAP NetWeaver Business Intelligence

http://www.sap.com/services/education/catalog/netweaver/bi.epx [accessed 10/04/2011]

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/SAP_NetWeaver_Business_Intelligence [accessed 10/04/2011]

Categories
Free Essays

PESTEL analysis of Quick Service Restaurant and identify the key economic and social factors within that environment.

Introduction

PART A: Undertake an analysis of the environment in which your organization (or one with which you are familiar) is operating and identify the key economic and social factors within that environment. Explain how these are likely to impact on the business strategy and operations of the organization.

There is no organization that exists in isolation without an environmental interaction[AM1] . Strategy planning in any organization will enhance competitive advantage in which the external environment needs to be well understood. To do this, there are different factors that affect business strategy and operations of an organization, though it depends on the organization and the environment they are. Since organizations are operating in a very dynamic environment, they will need to address issues relating to competitive strategy in order for them to gain competitive advantage and to maximize profit. According to Worthington et al (2004[AM2] ,) the external environment comprises of spatially diverse influences, economic, political, legal, and social, technological which affects business activity in different ways and impact on all aspects of the transformation process of the law. Worthington et al (2004) also stated that the environment of a business organization is the totality of forces, factors, or institutions which are potentially relevant in carrying out of company’s operations; hence relationship between a business organization and its surroundings is very symbolic in nature. That is, it is two way relationships – environment interacts with organisation and vice versa.

Environment analysis is an evaluation of the possible effects of an external forces and conditions on an organisation’s survival and growth strategies[AM3] . PESTEL (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors) is one of the major techniques for identifying factors which impact on business organisation; some of which span more than one element – example, a mix of economic and environment though, external forces require an organisation’s response as well.

Mr Biggs is one of the Quick Service Restaurant and a subsidiary of United African Company (UAC) Nigeria Plc; a very successful quick service restaurant business in sub region Africa, established in August 1986, provides the largest fast food restaurants retailers in West African countries that has 180 branches in Nigeria and have spread over to Accra, Ghana with many branches in 2003.

In scanning the environment in which Mr Biggs operate, the economic and social factors will be closely looked at.

Boddy (2008) highlighted economic factors as having serious effect on the business organisation, some of the key factors being interest rate, inflation, recession, corporation tax, VAT, GDP.

“Inflation is the persistent increase in the general prices of goods and services” Wyplosz and Burda, (1997). BOGOF(Buy-one-Get-One-Free) which is one of the strategies used by Mr Biggs, can be affected by inflation. Inflation aid in increasing suppliers costs, which inversely push up the prices of Mr Biggs products hence. This trend will in turn affect the general operations of Mr Biggs in sales, in that sales will drop due to the increase in prices.

Also, interest rate which is the rate at which company pays on their loans, affects the business. Generally, the higher the interest rate, the lower the company borrows.This will affect the operations and strategy of Mr Biggs in that the cash flow needed to augment the day-to-day activities like paying wages, restocking etc, will be affected to a large extent. The company strategy will alsochange to securing a low cost supplier, which normally implies compromising the quality of products supplied.

High unemployment rate can have adverse effects on Mr Biggs sales for it will affect the purchasing power of the buyers and thereby reduce the effective demands for their products. Mr Biggs strategy will be forced to switch to strategies that will encourage repeated purchases from existing customers. This will mean management absorbing the cost of most operations; hence this will have a multiplier effect of reducing profit.

These economic factors are largely outside the control of the company, but their outcome on performances and the marketing mix can be profound.

SOCIAL FACTORS

These includes population changes, aging population, differences in national culture and health issues. People are more conscious of health; their consumption attitude is changing drastically for they have freewill to choose. Mr Biggs, being a socially responsible member of the community in Africa; they support schools – both secondary and tertiary institutions in their social programs. Everyday of the year, Mr Biggs always make something exciting happening because of their creating relationships. By supporting young people in schools, it create more social intimacy between Mr Biggs and the students for younger people tends to visit the restaurants more than the aged ones because they have higher consumption power than the older ones. It is on record that Mr Biggs gives out bursary to poor students from Primary, Secondary, Polytechnic and University levels. It[AM4] is noted, that younger people have power and more access to online shopping than the older ones. The types of food demand by the consumers are constantly changing because they are more aware of health issues. Mr Biggs believes in creating relationships, they usually do something to improve the lives of their immediate communities every week or every other day even if it is just a ‘smile that we put on somebody’s face’; this start from their security officers to the top managers. The

Core purpose and values define how Mr Biggs do its business, how they value and treat their customers. Their responsibilities are well defined and perfected to meet the needs of communities where their business operates and strengthened the relationship between them and the environment in which their business strategy continues to deliver strong results. Their philosophy of “have a bigg experience” expresses these wide-ranging responsibilities. They recognise their impact on society and are trying to sustain the benefit they bring to society. Whatever they do, the principle of treating ‘customers as a king’ is highly imbibed in Mr Biggs for they put their customers at the heart of everything they do.

Conclusively, Armstrong, (2008[AM5] ) opined “companies need to be good to customers to gain sustainability which means environmental and community stewardship. It also needs permission from government to operate within the confines and the organisation would get a good status”. Beyond reasonable doubt, Mr Biggs satisfy the opinion of Armstrong school of thought as it has recorded tremendous growth and remarkable success through its total commitment to the satisfaction of its teeming customers. This is helping this organisation in no small way as it is becoming the main issue in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa in Quick Service Restaurant Business. Mr Biggs has been enjoining good patronage in its environment and they have been giving back to the society that shot them to limelight in form of their welfare package. By this, it will strengthen and sustain the relationship between Mr Biggs and its environment.

Part B: Explain how the business strategy and operations might change in order to respond effectively to the factors that you have outlined in Part A.

Drucker, (1999[AM6] ) defines strategy as “…purpose is to enable an organisation to achieve its desired results in an unpredictable environment. For strategy allows an organisation to be purposefully opportunistic.” Business strategy encourages great success and develops to monitor the progress of an organisation by taking into consideration the customer’s interest as well as shareholders and employees. In the view of Burnes, (2009[AM7] ) “Strategy is an act of maintaining the position of sustainable competitive advantage in the environment where business organisation operates.” Strategic approach to be deployed by organisation is based on the managerial choice within their limit in terms of national, organisational and environmental factors. An organisation that is profit oriented can only achieved their aims when they motivate and stimulate their employees. This will help them to perform more effectively and efficiently towards achieving profitability and organisational goals and objectives. Most organisations are trying to improve and review strategy frequently as there is a rising need if organisation would want to gain competitive advantage.

In Nigeria, the environment is very unstable and in year 2003; Mr Biggs embark on franchising in order to respond effectively to the volatile environment where it is to enhance its stipulated goals. Besides they continually updated their strategy to compete with their competitors and based on their quality stuff, it makes it more outstanding among their competitors like Tantalizer Restaurant and The Chicken Restaurant. Strategy could be initiated to enhance business breakthrough in a very volatile business competitive environment. In this regard, Mr Biggs involves modern machines by the dictates of technological evolution to meet challenges that may come up as a result of change in customers taste.

It is very important for a company to have an idea of its competitors’ strengths and weaknesses together with their characteristics. This will help them in planning and updating their strategies – for instance, making their products a unique one such as differentiation in pricing and products design. Most organisations used to compare their prices with their competitors, having comparism site like “Go Compare” make it easier for customers to make their choice. Where organisations expand externally, vertical integration needs to be encouraged. Mr Biggs is planning for expansion to two different countries in 2011 including UK as per on-going discussion with UK firms (Businessday, Dec.14 2010). Rodger and Mac Culloch, (2001) opined that “firms develop through internal growth and in appropriate circumstances.” This is true because organisation is in total control of all units of production and they can do substantially without borrowing with the support and cooperation of all departments. This will bring a sustainable help during unexpected high interest rates. This will increase and controls the business profit margins, reduce cost of transportation and improve the supply channel and also creates barriers to competitors. Mr Biggs, being the biggest fast food business in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa embarking on rebranding process aimed at delivery as much they spend on increased value to its customers (Businessday, 2010). Mr Biggs was voted as the most trusted fast food brand in year 2010 in Nigeria due to their excellent strategies and performances.

Strategy Reassessment – Mullins (2003) is of the view that “in today’s fast-changing world, strategy reassessment may happen much more quickly, as competitive and technological developments cause firms to quickly change their entire strategies and business models.” This is based on periodic assessment either quarterly or annually whereby companies evaluate their performances in line with the external environment. Mr Biggs used to reassess their performances in intervals, for instance, they are trying as much as possible to involve new marketing strategy that is in tune with the dynamic nature of business globally.

Additionally, Porter (1980) in Boddy, (2008) identified three types of generic strategies among which Mr Biggs adopted by focusing on corporate customers, families, adults and children by fully involve in schools social functions and every children from kindergarten to higher institutions, for example Universities. Little kids identify their big ‘B’ logo and forces their parents to the restaurant all the time. Apart from this, they utilises differentiation strategy by standardize their products and make it of higher quality than their competitors. Though some customers are not bothering about how much they spend on quality, but all they really concern about is to get quality products. Mr Biggs always produce quality foods that meet International Standard Organisation requirement for human consumption – that are hygienic and nourishing to promote good and healthy living.

In conclusion, business strategy, operations plus activities in Mr Biggs are being affected by austerity measure, government budget review – that affect the purchasing power of consumers; population change, different national culture, government budget review, change in consumers’ taste, modernisation (technological evolution). These require the business to change their strategies in order to take advantage of the opportunity and respond to the challenges within the business environment. An articulated and integrated strategy must be in continuous use and part of it be preserved as this will go a long way in providing organisation with the treasure of strategy and reserved techniques that germane to the enhancement of the organisational goals and the environment, (Emphasis mine).

REFERENCES
Armstrong, M. (2008) Strategic Human Resources Management: A Guide to Action. 4th Edition. London and Philadelphia.

Boddy, D. (2008). Management: An Introduction. 4th Edition. Harlow: Financial- Times Prentice Hall.

Burnes, B. (2009). Managing Change: A strategic Approach to organisational Dynamics. 5th Edition. Harlow: Financial Times-Prentice Hall.

Businessday (2010): How Mr Bigg’s Nigeria plans to compete in European market. Retrieved from www.businessdayonline.com/NG/index….

Drucker, P.F (1999) Management Challenges for the 21st Century. Great Britain: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

http://www.mrbiggsonline.com/

Pettinger, R. and Frith R. (2000) Mastering Organisational Behaviour. London: Macmillan Press Ltd.

Rodger B.J and Mac Culloch, A. (2001) Competition Law and Policy in the EC and UK. London and Sydney: Second Edition: Cavendish Publishing Limited.

Mullins, Walker, and Boyd. (2003) Marketing. 3rd Edition. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.

Worthington, I., Briton, C. and Rees, A. (2004) Economics for Business: Blending Theory in Practice. UK: 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall.

Wyplosz, C. and Burda, M. (1997). Macroeconomic. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.

There is no organisation that exists in isolation without an environmental interaction[AM1] . Strategy planning in any organisation will enhance competitive advantage in which the external environment needs to be well understood. To do this, there are different factors that affect business strategy and operations of an organisation, though it depends on the organisation and the environment they are. Since organisations are operating in a very dynamic environment, they will need to address issues relating to competitive strategy in order for them to gain competitive advantage and to maximise profit. According to Worthington et al (2004[AM2] ,) the external environment comprises of spatially diverse influences, economic, political, legal, and social, technological which affects business activity in different ways and impact on all aspects of the transformation process of the law. Worthington et al (2004) also stated that the environment of a business organisation is the totality of forces, factors, or institutions which are potentially relevant in carrying out of company’s operations; hence relationship between a business organisation and its surroundings is very symbolic in nature. That is, it is two way relationships – environment interacts with organisation and vice versa.

Environment analysis is an evaluation of the possible effects of an external forces and conditions on an organisation’s survival and growth strategies[AM3] . PESTEL (Political, Economic, Socio-Cultural, Technological, Environmental and Legal factors) is one of the major techniques for identifying factors which impact on business organisation; some of which span more than one element – example, a mix of economic and environment though, external forces require an organisation’s response as well.

Mr Biggs is one of the Quick Service Restaurant and a subsidiary of United African Company (UAC) Nigeria Plc; a very successful quick service restaurant business in sub region Africa, established in August 1986, provides the largest fast food restaurants retailers in West African countries that has 180 branches in Nigeria and have spread over to Accra, Ghana with many branches in 2003.

In scanning the environment in which Mr Biggs operate, the economic and social factors will be closely looked at.

Boddy (2008) highlighted economic factors as having serious effect on the business organisation, some of the key factors being interest rate, inflation, recession, corporation tax, VAT, GDP.

“Inflation is the persistent increase in the general prices of goods and services” Wyplosz and Burda, (1997). BOGOF(Buy-one-Get-One-Free) which is one of the strategies used by Mr Biggs, can be affected by inflation. Inflation aid in increasing suppliers costs, which inversely push up the prices of Mr Biggs products hence. This trend will in turn affect the general operations of Mr Biggs in sales, in that sales will drop due to the increase in prices.

Also, interest rate which is the rate at which company pays on their loans, affects the business. Generally, the higher the interest rate, the lower the company borrows.This will affect the operations and strategy of Mr Biggs in that the cash flow needed to augment the day-to-day activities like paying wages, restocking etc, will be affected to a large extent. The company strategy will alsochange to securing a low cost supplier, which normally implies compromising the quality of products supplied.

High unemployment rate can have adverse effects on Mr Biggs sales for it will affect the purchasing power of the buyers and thereby reduce the effective demands for their products. Mr Biggs strategy will be forced to switch to strategies that will encourage repeated purchases from existing customers. This will mean management absorbing the cost of most operations; hence this will have a multiplier effect of reducing profit.

These economic factors are largely outside the control of the company, but their outcome on performances and the marketing mix can be profound.

SOCIAL FACTORS – These includes population changes, aging population, differences in national culture and health issues. People are more conscious of health; their consumption attitude is changing drastically for they have freewill to choose. Mr Biggs, being a socially responsible member of the community in Africa; they support schools – both secondary and tertiary institutions in their social programs. Everyday of the year, Mr Biggs always make something exciting happening because of their creating relationships. By supporting young people in schools, it create more social intimacy between Mr Biggs and the students for younger people tends to visit the restaurants more than the aged ones because they have higher consumption power than the older ones. It is on record that Mr Biggs gives out bursary to poor students from Primary, Secondary, Polytechnic and University levels. It[AM4] is noted, that younger people have power and more access to online shopping than the older ones. The types of food demand by the consumers are constantly changing because they are more aware of health issues. Mr Biggs believes in creating relationships, they usually do something to improve the lives of their immediate communities every week or every other day even if it is just a ‘smile that we put on somebody’s face’; this start from their security officers to the top managers. The

Core purpose and values define how Mr Biggs do its business, how they value and treat their customers. Their responsibilities are well defined and perfected to meet the needs of communities where their business operates and strengthened the relationship between them and the environment in which their business strategy continues to deliver strong results. Their philosophy of “have a bigg experience” expresses these wide-ranging responsibilities. They recognise their impact on society and are trying to sustain the benefit they bring to society. Whatever they do, the principle of treating ‘customers as a king’ is highly imbibed in Mr Biggs for they put their customers at the heart of everything they do.

Conclusively, Armstrong, (2008[AM5] ) opined “companies need to be good to customers to gain sustainability which means environmental and community stewardship. It also needs permission from government to operate within the confines and the organisation would get a good status”. Beyond reasonable doubt, Mr Biggs satisfy the opinion of Armstrong school of thought as it has recorded tremendous growth and remarkable success through its total commitment to the satisfaction of its teeming customers. This is helping this organisation in no small way as it is becoming the main issue in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa in Quick Service Restaurant Business. Mr Biggs has been enjoining good patronage in its environment and they have been giving back to the society that shot them to limelight in form of their welfare package. By this, it will strengthen and sustain the relationship between Mr Biggs and its environment.

Part B: Explain how the business strategy and operations might change in order to respond effectively to the factors that you have outlined in Part A.

Drucker, (1999[AM6] ) defines strategy as “…purpose is to enable an organisation to achieve its desired results in an unpredictable environment. For strategy allows an organisation to be purposefully opportunistic.” Business strategy encourages great success and develops to monitor the progress of an organisation by taking into consideration the customer’s interest as well as shareholders and employees. In the view of Burnes, (2009[AM7] ) “Strategy is an act of maintaining the position of sustainable competitive advantage in the environment where business organisation operates.” Strategic approach to be deployed by organisation is based on the managerial choice within their limit in terms of national, organisational and environmental factors. An organisation that is profit oriented can only achieved their aims when they motivate and stimulate their employees. This will help them to perform more effectively and efficiently towards achieving profitability and organisational goals and objectives. Most organisations are trying to improve and review strategy frequently as there is a rising need if organisation would want to gain competitive advantage.

In Nigeria, the environment is very unstable and in year 2003; Mr Biggs embark on franchising in order to respond effectively to the volatile environment where it is to enhance its stipulated goals. Besides they continually updated their strategy to compete with their competitors and based on their quality stuff, it makes it more outstanding among their competitors like Tantalizer Restaurant and The Chicken Restaurant. Strategy could be initiated to enhance business breakthrough in a very volatile business competitive environment. In this regard, Mr Biggs involves modern machines by the dictates of technological evolution to meet challenges that may come up as a result of change in customers taste.

It is very important for a company to have an idea of its competitors’ strengths and weaknesses together with their characteristics. This will help them in planning and updating their strategies – for instance, making their products a unique one such as differentiation in pricing and products design. Most organisations used to compare their prices with their competitors, having comparism site like “Go Compare” make it easier for customers to make their choice. Where organisations expand externally, vertical integration needs to be encouraged. Mr Biggs is planning for expansion to two different countries in 2011 including UK as per on-going discussion with UK firms (Businessday, Dec.14 2010). Rodger and Mac Culloch, (2001) opined that “firms develop through internal growth and in appropriate circumstances.” This is true because organisation is in total control of all units of production and they can do substantially without borrowing with the support and cooperation of all departments. This will bring a sustainable help during unexpected high interest rates. This will increase and controls the business profit margins, reduce cost of transportation and improve the supply channel and also creates barriers to competitors. Mr Biggs, being the biggest fast food business in Nigeria and Sub-Sahara Africa embarking on rebranding process aimed at delivery as much they spend on increased value to its customers (Businessday, 2010). Mr Biggs was voted as the most trusted fast food brand in year 2010 in Nigeria due to their excellent strategies and performances.

Strategy Reassessment – Mullins (2003) is of the view that “in today’s fast-changing world, strategy reassessment may happen much more quickly, as competitive and technological developments cause firms to quickly change their entire strategies and business models.” This is based on periodic assessment either quarterly or annually whereby companies evaluate their performances in line with the external environment. Mr Biggs used to reassess their performances in intervals, for instance, they are trying as much as possible to involve new marketing strategy that is in tune with the dynamic nature of business globally.

Additionally, Porter (1980) in Boddy, (2008) identified three types of generic strategies among which Mr Biggs adopted by focusing on corporate customers, families, adults and children by fully involve in schools social functions and every children from kindergarten to higher institutions, for example Universities. Little kids identify their big ‘B’ logo and forces their parents to the restaurant all the time. Apart from this, they utilises differentiation strategy by standardize their products and make it of higher quality than their competitors. Though some customers are not bothering about how much they spend on quality, but all they really concern about is to get quality products. Mr Biggs always produce quality foods that meet International Standard Organisation requirement for human consumption – that are hygienic and nourishing to promote good and healthy living.

In conclusion, business strategy, operations plus activities in Mr Biggs are being affected by austerity measure, government budget review – that affect the purchasing power of consumers; population change, different national culture, government budget review, change in consumers’ taste, modernisation (technological evolution). These require the business to change their strategies in order to take advantage of the opportunity and respond to the challenges within the business environment. An articulated and integrated strategy must be in continuous use and part of it be preserved as this will go a long way in providing organisation with the treasure of strategy and reserved techniques that germane to the enhancement of the organisational goals and the environment, (Emphasis mine).

REFERENCES

Armstrong, M. (2008) Strategic Human Resources Management: A Guide to Action. 4th Edition. London and Philadelphia.

Boddy, D. (2008). Management: An Introduction. 4th Edition. Harlow: Financial- Times Prentice Hall.

Burnes, B. (2009). Managing Change: A strategic Approach to organisational Dynamics. 5th Edition. Harlow: Financial Times-Prentice Hall.

Businessday (2010): How Mr Bigg’s Nigeria plans to compete in European market. Retrieved from www.businessdayonline.com/NG/index….

Drucker, P.F (1999) Management Challenges for the 21st Century. Great Britain: Elsevier Butterworth-Heinemann.

http://www.mrbiggsonline.com/

Pettinger, R. and Frith R. (2000) Mastering Organisational Behaviour. London: Macmillan Press Ltd.

Rodger B.J and Mac Culloch, A. (2001) Competition Law and Policy in the EC and UK. London and Sydney: Second Edition: Cavendish Publishing Limited.

Mullins, Walker, and Boyd. (2003) Marketing. 3rd Edition. Berkshire: McGraw-Hill.

Worthington, I., Briton, C. and Rees, A. (2004) Economics for Business: Blending Theory in Practice. UK: 2nd Edition. Prentice Hall.

Wyplosz, C. and Burda, M. (1997). Macroeconomic. 2nd Edition. Oxford University Press.

[AM1]This seems to be a bold statement with no theoretical underpinning. You always need to back up your statements with what an author(s) have said.

[AM2]

[AM3]

[AM4]You will need to support your statements with evidence from an article, journal or so please

[AM5]Page no please

[AM6]Page no

[AM7]Page no????

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How does Nonverbal communication have a great influence over our social environment and the whole communication process?

Introduction

Communication is a process in which people verbally or non-verbally share information and ideas. Nonverbal communication can be best defined as a silent form of communicating with a person or party without using any form of speech to grab an audience attention or to exploit a message. Nonverbal communication is often used to make an expression of a thought or thoughts and make your message more appealing and interesting to whom you are speaking. Nonverbal communication has a great influence over our social environment and the whole communication process. There are many types and functions of nonverbal communication. Nonverbal communication regulates relationships and can support or even replace verbal communications in many situations. Different genders and cultures use nonverbal communication differently and these differences can impact the nature of interpersonal communication. Nonverbal communication can become a barrier or tear down barriers to effective communication.

I conducted my own observation of nonverbal communication in a restaurant which is done on a daily basis. Nonverbal rules may differ according to the situation, and each situation determines its set of rules. The restaurant is located in Waynesboro, Ms, where I live. The patrons of the restaurant consisted of all types of cultures and class of families. The distinctive patterns of the customers were very noticeable. Different types of patrons had very different yet distinct sets of nonverbal communication behaviors. I observed three different groups, the older adults, the younger adults, and the children. I observed them differently to determine the differences that age and gender play a role in nonverbal behavior rules. Many different types of nonverbal communication were observed such as body language, hand movement, facial expressions, and eye contact.

There are four important functions of nonverbal communication. These functions can complement, regulate, substitute for, or accent a verbal message. In addition to the functions, there are many types of nonverbal communication. Those different types include paralanguage, body movement, facial expressions, eye messages, attractiveness, clothing, body adornment, space and distance, touch, time, smell and manner. There are cultural and co-cultural variations in each case of what are acceptable and unacceptable practice (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

In describing the functions with complementing, one might use body language in an effort to support or add credibility to your words, and if that body language is seen as genuine then the overall message is strengthened (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). If the body language is perceived as fake or misleading, however, then it moves into the category of conflicting. In regulating, the body language serves the function of pacing and regulating communication (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). For instance, in a group of people, there are a number of non-verbal cues indicating when one person is finished speaking and it is another person’s turn. The function of substituting uses body language to replace verbal communication (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). For example, if you are caught in a conversation with someone who just keeps talking and talking, it is difficult to come out and tell that person you are tired of the conversation. Instead, you might substitute body language such as glancing away or stepping away. The last function of accenting is a type of body language that emphasizes, accentuates, softens, or otherwise enhances your verbal communication (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). You might point your finger to direct attention to the subject of your words, or you might reach out and touch the hand of a child whom you are correcting or disciplining.

Paralanguage refers to the non-verbal elements of communication used to modify meaning and convey emotion. Paralanguage may be expressed consciously or unconsciously, and it includes the pitch, volume, rate, and the quality. Sometimes the definition is restricted to vocally produced sounds. The study of paralanguage is known as paralinguistic cues. Body movements or kinesics are referred to all forms of body movements are important part of non-verbal communication behavior. The transport of body movement has many specific meanings and the interpretations that may be a bound of culture. As many movements are carried out at an unawareness level, the body movements carry a risk of being misinterpreted in a different culture communications situation. Some related words for body movement may be emblems are substitute for words and phrases, illustrators accompany or reinforce verbal messages, display of feelings show emotion, regulators controls the flow and pace of communication, and adaptors release physical or emotional tension (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

Facial expressions can show happiness, sadness, fear, and anger that are easily identifiable across cultures. In addition, facial expressions play an important role in closeness. Eye messages are messages given only with the eyes. In the American culture, eye contact is a sign of honesty, credibility, warmth, and involvement. Other cultures require eye contact. Conversations without eye contact represent disinterest, inattention, rudeness, shyness, or deception. Eye messages show connection to others, attentiveness, involvement, immediacy but prolonged stares show negative and intimidating expressions. Eye messages have a delightful and wondrous aspect in the rolling of the eyes because it is known for flirting (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

The perception of nonverbal communication started during the first year of life, when we learned how to communicate without words as infants. Infants learned very early the difference between a scowl and a smile and they soon learn how to convey their own feelings through non-verbal communication. The way nonverbal cues are perceived and interpreted in relationships can make all the difference between a positive and a negative impression. Paralinguistic enforces the old adage; it is not what you say but how you say it. No matter the rate of speed, the faster the communicator speaks, the more competent they may appear. The speakers with a high and varied pitch come across as more competent; a constant low pitch voice is associated with strength and maturity, while a constant high pitch voice signals tenseness and nervousness. Those who speak loudly are generally seen as aggressive and domineering, and speakers with soft voices are perceived as timid and polite. How individuals perceive nonverbal communication is often based on how they see themselves. If an individual takes everything personally, they may take offense to some nonverbal cues that are being used, whether they are intentional or unintentional. To avoid miscommunication, it is essential that speakers become more aware of the nonverbal cues that are used (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

In the workplace, effective communication can be used to improve performance and to produce desired results. There are many non-verbal cues that are used everyday in the workplace, most of which are stronger that spoken language. Professionally speaking, a handshake can make a strong first impression, whether it is positive or negative. Men tend to have better handshaking skills and etiquette than women do; handshakes should be inviting, strong but not overpowering. Workplace touching is often discouraged due to sending out mixed messages, but handshakes are usually accepted and encouraged in most cases. Eye contact is yet another important non-verbal cue that can be used both positively and negatively in the workplace. In the United States, eye contact conveys honestly and sincerity; making eye contact is often an invitation to open communication, and signifies the need for feedback. In contrast, avoiding eye contact signals distrust, suspicion, or lack of interest; similarly, prolonged eye contact or a stare signifies aggression or flirting (Henman, 2009). In the workplace, dressing professionally is something most employers require, it shows confidence in oneself.Dressing professionally includes clothes that are worn, personal hygiene and not overpowering cologne and perfume. American businesses value being on time and being conscientious of this is crucial in business. Paying attention to all these non-verbal types of communication can prove successful in almost every business.

Nonverbal communication has the ability to strengthen and develop existing relationships or it can destroy them. A relationship can be regulated by nonverbal communication because it can support or replace verbal communication. Some of the contributing factors are the sending and receiving ability and accuracy, perception of appropriate social roles, and cognitive desire for interpersonal involvement. If the communicators are unaware of the types of messages they are sending and how the receiver is interpreting the messages difficulties can arise from nonverbal communication. If the perception of the receiver is not of the social norms for the particular situation could cause problems also. All the people involved must want the interaction to occur for reciprocal communication to be successful. Facial expressions can compel one to communicate interaction with another. Facial expressions can cause negative feelings if the other is evoked by them. Introduction and management rely on nonverbal communication in interpersonal relationships. Through research, interpersonal relationships have been successful through nonverbal clues (Dunn, 1999).

Nonverbal communication has an impact with gender and cultural differences. There are different views from society of males and females. Males are portrayed as aggressive, controlling, and having a take-charge attitude. Women are seen as sensitive, emotional, and passive. There is a difference how males and females communicate verbally and nonverbally. Women are more expressive when they use non-verbal communication, they tend to smile more than men and use their hands more. Men are less likely to make eye contact than women are. Men also come off as more relaxed, while women seem tenser. Men are more comfortable with close proximity to females, but women are more comfortable with close proximity with other females. In terms of interpreting non-verbal signals, women are better than men are (Coggins, 2006).

Culturally, there is a world of differences in nonverbal communication. In comparing the United States with Latin America, we can see many differences. The hand gesture we use to tell someone to come here is the hand palm up with the index finger extending out three or four times is different in Latin America. In Latina America, this hand gesture means you are romantically interested in a person and it is considered solicitation. To tell someone to come here in Latin America the palm is extended down and move all four fingers in and out together three or four times. When traveling on buses in Latin America the elders will hold their hand sideways with all four fingers extended to let one know there is a pickpocket nearby. In the United States, when visitors come to our country, we usually do not greet them personally. Latin Americans give hugs and the men greet the women with “besitos” meaning they touch the cheeks and make a kissing noise with lips (Institute of Languages, 2011).

Some barriers to nonverbal communication include cultural differences, deceptive gestures, inappropriate touching, negative nonverbal communication, and perceptual filters. The different cultural differences are ethnocentrism, stereotyping, prejudice, and discrimination along with the hand gestures, touching, and facial expression. Ethnocentrism shows that one culture fill their group is superior to all other cultures. Stereotypes show the distorted or oversimplified views of different races of cultures. When a culture is prejudice towards another culture or group, a negative attitude is shown based on little or no experience. To avoid or exclude oneself from another culture or group discrimination is shown (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

Different gestures often have vastly different meanings to people of different cultures. Nonverbal gestures can lead to misinterpretation. Touching can cause many problems in communicating if it is done incorrectly. A person may touch the other person during a conversation a lot and move close to them. Some people find touching as an invasion of their personal space. This is a barrier for all communication; people have a hard time communicating when they are uncomfortable. When a person displays negative nonverbal communication, it can also act as a barrier. For example, slouching, rolling of the eyes, moving quickly or slowly, or performing a variety of other negative physical behaviors, makes it difficult to communicate with them at all. This is because the person is creating a negative situation and when people feel uncomfortable they are unwilling to communicate. Facial expression can show frustration, anger, embarrassment, or uncertainty. They can contradict the verbal expression sending the real message that the speaker wants to send (Hybels & Weaver, 2007).

It is very important to learn how to improve nonverbal communication now that we have discovered that a communicator’s nonverbal communication can influence another’s perception of a message and that of the communicator. One must first monitor our own nonverbal communication skills. We should pay close attention when we are engaged in everyday routine conversations. It will help us to stay attuned to what we are doing and what kind of impression we are giving others. We need to ask ourselves these questions. Do we allow enough personal space so others are comfortableDo we show our interest by making eye contact with othersIs our face expression appropriate for the conversation at hand Is the voice tone appropriate for the situationBy being aware of these things we can improve our nonverbal communication skills.

In addition to those skills, we also must learn to be good discriminative listeners. It is relatively simple to hear a message, but we also need to be aware of nonverbal cues from others. We often get so preoccupied by what we are saying and what we are going to say as a response, that we are not sensitive to others needs. People often these express needs through their nonverbal communication, as opposed to what they are saying. Overcoming cultural barriers is another important step in communicating effectively. It is important to understand all aspects of communication (Hybels & Weaver, 2007). “Successful communication between people across cultures requires not only an understanding of language but also of the nonverbal aspects of communication that are part of any speech community” (Ha, 2008). It is more important to understand the non-verbal aspects of communication when people do not speak the same language verbally.

In conclusion, communication is complex and multifaceted. Nonverbal communication is a strong factor in today’s society and is used in many cultures. It gives insight to others true emotions and feelings, as well as their truthfulness and sincerity. Nonverbal communication can come in many forms, it can add to, or replace verbal communication, establish relationships and boundaries, and reflect different cultural values. It is symbolic, can be intentional or unintentional and differs between genders and cultures. Effective nonverbal communication can benefit us in interpersonal relationships, our careers and across cultures. It is our responsibility as effective communicators to understand the dynamics of this form of communication, and learn to use it so it benefits everyone involved. By tearing down any personal barriers or biases, and recognize our strengths and weaknesses, we can ultimately communicate in ways that decrease the likelihood of misunderstanding and increase our nonverbal communication as wells as verbally proficiency.

References

Coggins, S. (2006). Nonverbal Communication Between The Genders. Retrieved March 15,

2011 from http://www.shaicoggins.com/nonverbal-communication-between-the-genders/.

Dunn, L. (1999). Nonverbal Communication: Information Conveyed Through The Use of Body

Language. Department of Psychology. Retrieved March 14, 2011 from

http://clearinghouse.missouriwestern.edu/manuscripts/70.php.

Ha, M. (2008). Lessons in Intercultural Communication. Retrieved March 15, 2011 from

http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/art/2008/10/142_32870.html.

Henman, L. (2009). It’s Not Always What Say. Retrieved March 14, 2011 from

http://relationships911.org/experts/communication/notalwayswhatyousay.htm.

Hybels, S. & Weaver, R. (2007). Communicating effectively (8th ed). New York: McGraw-Hill.

Institute of Language (2011). Spanish and Nonverbal Communication, Latin America vs. United

States. Retrieved March 15, 2011 from

http://www.spanishprograms.com/spanish-culture.htm.

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discussion on implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in the environment of SMEs (Small and Medium Size Enterprises)

Abstract

The present study contributes to the discussion on implementation of ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) in the environment of SMEs (Small and Medium Size Enterprises). The yield of an enterprise can be accumulation of integration system for creating a competitive advantage in present times. The integration of enterprise systems is achieved by project management and risk management is the respective organizations. With such compilation, often the risk management and project management helps to supervise the management of firms to assess the occurring deadlines and problems. Once the risks are identified and handled properly then the project can be even more implemented smoothly. The theoretical section entailing the literature and research methods offers a better understanding of the enterprise resource planning along with risk management and project management. The theoretical section helps to analyze how they meet the objectives stating the various techniques used in project management to lessen the risks and even the implementation of successful ERP systems in the SMEs. They help the researcher to choose an appropriate research method to obtain the accurate results from the observed data which is collected from the secondary research. The results from the obtained study show the successful and unsuccessful enterprises which adopts the suitable project management techniques to diminish the risks.

Chapter 1: Introduction

Evaluating the present Enterprise System and highlighting the significant issues with suggesting and implementing different ways for improvement in terms of risk management and project management. This also tries to meet the business objectives and also in assessing the small and medium enterprises risk’s. It is very common for the organizations to move to an ERP (Enterprise Resource Planning) proposal without initially conducting the required planning and due attentiveness to make successful project. For every organization it is important to get the complete information through which they can analyze exactly what is their role in the organization and in what role they want to be in future and this also helps in getting the information of weaknesses and strengths, the areas that need to be improved and the core competencies. This process helps in creating the community plan of effective business and this helps in developing the management of business continuity. For the making the business process successful some steps need to be followed such as, developing the strategy, rehearsing the plan, analyzing the business, assessing the risk.

There are various risks that can be identified and can be learned in those below there are six risks that can be learned.

ERP and its related software: what kind of omissions and errors happen in the development and configuration of the software suite of ERP?

Business Fit: This checks if there is an alignment among the abilities that the system of ERP is expected for providing the abilities that is probably ends up providing?

Quality of data: What kind of problems will be run into the process with the timeliness, extent or structure, accuracy of the primary information that is loaded into the system of ERP?

Project management: In this the issues that are steaming from the schedule, contracts, staffing or budget of the program which has to be managed.

Organizational Readiness: This checks whether the organization is sufficiently prepared for the people those who use the novel system of ERP for which they have to experience?

The holistic approach to the risk management of ERP includes:

Developing the plans of risk management for those, which has a high priority and this deepens the understanding of likelihood, causes, and the potential impact.

Developing a company plan of learning that includes learning of novel skills and the different way of working and mastering of novel software and hardware and for the people on the program of ERP team and managing of the large magnitude changes.

Articulating of a clear vision of the organizations success and this provides an encouragement that helps the program to keep on track, this happens during the implementation time and a typical for moderating the achievement at the end.

1.1 ERP

The programs of Enterprise resource planning are very disreputable level to the execution of difficulties. Most of the organizations overrun their schedules or slip their budgets, or dissatisfy their sponsors or all the above. The failure rates of program are differently estimated to be at least 60%. The reason for understanding the ERP program risks and significant to mitigate them have to be a basic concern for any kind of program manager. There are six learned risks that can be implemented in the implementation of ERP.

1.2 Rationale

This project gives the reason of why the project is significant and why increasing success and reducing the risk is significant in the Enterprise systems involvement in the enterprises of small and medium size.

1.3 Problem Definition

The main reason of increasing success and reducing risk in the integration of enterprise system with the organizations of small and medium sized is to either take advantage of the required risks or to either prevent risk from issue development. This helps in converting the opportunities, the concerned risks can build up into issues and similarly few issues or risks can be turned to opportunities. The techniques and tools that are used in the process of risk management and this play a significant role in the project’s success.

This is very interesting to keep a well track that defines process of risk management which exists in almost every organization, in regard to that, failures still occur.

Why the processes of Research Methodology fail with the existent process
Are the correct techniques and tools are being used in the correct process of PRM

1.4 Aims and Objectives of Project

Aims

The significant aim of this concerned project is to develop a novel model of project management and this is to assist the integration and implementation of the technologies of enterprise system successfully in to the small and medium enterprises.

Objectives

For the completion of this project the author has to follow the below objectives:

Conducting a literature review on the implementation of enterprise systems, project management techniques that include PMBOK, PRINCE2 and SCRUM and the methodologies of IT based risk management.
Conducting a review of the unsuccessful enterprise system and successful enterprise system integration of the projects inside the UK based small and medium enterprise and has to compare it as the best in the whole world.
To develop a model that is theoretical to help the integration of successful enterprise system by evaluating the present techniques and technologies of the risk management.
To conduct a review into the issues and requirements that small and medium enterprises face when the enterprise system integrate into the concerned organizations.

Chapter 2: Literature Review

2.1 Project management

A project is considered as any work which occurs only once, that has a lucid initiation and ending. It is mainly intended to produce a unique knowledge or product. A project entails single or thousands of individuals and it may take days or years to get completed. At the same time project management is considered as the usage of skills, knowledge, techniques and tools to plan the activities so as to exceed or meet the requirements of stakeholder and anticipations of a project. Sometimes, a project manager is considered as a project leader or coordinator who controls the details of given project as per the daily basis. It is referred as an ongoing challenge that needs an appreciative contextual project environment and the capability to balance the inconsistent demands among existing expectations and resources, different priorities of stakeholders; recognized requirements and scope of project; quantity and quality.

Auspiciously, different varieties of tools and techniques for project management are being enhanced for the above purpose that is described in below sections.

2.2 Project Management Techniques

2.2.1 PMBOK

The PMBOK is the Project Management Body of Knowledge and this is recognized internationally and this mainly deals with the application of the tools, skills, techniques and meets the requirements of the project. The PMBOK usually defines the life cycle of the project, 9 areas of knowledge and 5 process groups. For any kind of projects in small and medium enterprises there has to be a flow in which the process has to go. PMBOK is one of the project management techniques and this can be followed in any organization.

To start with the work the employees has to divide into teams and for every project the team has to operate in 9 different areas of knowledge and also with few basic process and this is summarized below:

Integration: Initially a charter has to be developed and with this plan and scope of the statement is also essential and even managing, monitoring and controlling of change in project.

Scope: Definition, control, verification and WBS (Work Breakdown Structure) creation.

Cost: Control, planning of resource, estimating of cost and budgeting.

Time: Sequencing, Development of Scheduling, estimating duration, and sequencing.

Human Resources: Hiring of project members, planning of human resources, managing and developing of the project team.

Quality: Controlling of quality, Assurance of quality, and quality planning.

Communications: Managing of stakeholders, performance reporting, distribution of information, communications planning.

Risks: Risk controlling and monitoring, Identification, planning of risk, Risk analysis which is quantitative or qualitative and risk response.

Response: Contracting and acquisition plan, selection, contract closure, contract administration, seller’s response.

The technique of PMBOK is mainly used in the applications of General management programs, Product development in marketing department, Processes that are specific to industry, Government programs, Development programs in the international firms, and this mainly can be used in the applications of small and medium enterprises (Duncan Haughey, 2011).

2.2.2 SCRUM

The methodology of SCRUM is some kind of distinctive representative of responsive methods. This approach can be used as an alternative process for the project management and the reasons for this are discussed below:

The SCRUM is one of the kinds of Meta model project and this allows for deciding how the process of design, analysis, testing and implementation are carried out. All these processes are not specific to any kind method or process. This process can be applicable to any kind of techniques. The process of SCRUM mainly consists of three kinds of major phases they are the development phase, post game phase and pre game phase.

These are developed in a sequence process and discussed below in that sequence process.

Pre game process: In the process of pre game phase majorly two activities can be taken place that is planning of activities can be carried out in such that they can define the developed systems. This process can be achieved by backlog list creating and this list usually contains all the requirements which are well known. In the complete process of software development the backlog list is changed. The present backlog list will be improved according to the requirements when the novel knowledge is available and this reflects according to the requirements of the novel product. The process of backlog list is the instrument of central planning this is because it serves as the part of standard for updating the assessments and establishment of the priorities regarding the requirements that has to be implemented and this can be does in the next increment.

This phase of pre game also integrates the phase of architecture and in this process the system architecture of high level is changed and developed. This means that the changes in the backlog list are completely reviewed from perspective of design. The main importance here is on how clarified or additional requirement that can make changes if required in the part of design.

Development Phase: The phase of development is carried out in the sprints and these are the iterative cycles through which the functionality is enhanced or developed and this process is done to produce novel increments. In this each sprint comprises of the conventional phases of the development of projects which is implementation, design, testing, analysis, delivery and requirements elicitation. Usually the sprints last for only 30 days. It is to put into practice for which the increments functionality is only determined in the planning meeting of the Sprint, where management, customers and users decide which functionality and goals has to be implemented in the next sprint. At the time of execution of the process of sprint, there are few meetings of Scrum and these are organized in well manner for keeping track of the Scrum team progress continuously. This process is done for deciding the next process and discussing the reviewed problems. The Scrum results will be held on the sprint’s last day and this can be concluded with the review meeting of Sprint to the users, management and customers. The review is used for assessing the increment of the product and also helps in making decisions regarding the activities that are subsequent. This can also happen when the changes are mainly made to the way of the system that is being built.

Post Game Phase: The phase of post game is only entered at the time of agreement arrival and this is given only among the stakeholders and to those who doesn’t have kind of requirements are left or these must be incorporated in the release. The phase of post game typical activities of deployment like system testing documentation and integration are taken place.

These phases are very much important for project management and this also helps in managing of risk (Reinhold Plosch, 2004).

2.2.3 Prince2

The technique of Prince2 mainly deals with the project management and this does not insist on specifically any kind of technical approach which usually varies from project to project. The method Prince2 can be used in the amalgamation with the other development technology or design technology and this can be used even if the management association to the defined technology has taken a different form of the technology of design. Prince2 doesn’t involve in purchasing or outsourcing of the project management techniques. The method of Prince2 mainly assumes that the concerned project will only proceed in the limits of the contract. This process of contracting is not completely a part of the Prince2 but this is the part of the activities that are technical and which can be controlled by using the method. The data established in different managing documents and those that are within PRINCE2 usually provide an intrinsic source, excellent for monitoring and for the preparation of the required contracts.

The main theme of the Prince2 is the process of managing the project, the connection and interaction among the projects environment and project, deployment of resources and staff. For all kinds of project management Prince2 cannot be used. Communicative and social skills and techniques like Gantt charting, supporting of software projects and network planning are not from this part of the method. This also proves to be a advantage for the method. This method can be used in all kinds of the projects as this Prince2 method is not bound to any kind of the project. This method can be used in any kind of organization and with every combination and with all the various other types of techniques and this also supports various packages of software. The complete project management is for people and this cannot be used as a recipe book but has to be used in the various combinations of the common sense and with the correct social and technical skills. Even though the prince2 doesn’t respond and involve to the social skills, and this support the preferred social behavior that is required to manage the projects effectively. This shows that a perfect structure only support the required behavior.

The main significant aspect of the method prince2 is the Interaction and this is much secured in terms of responsibilities, authorities and tasks in the roles of the project. This process can be controlled more effectively and efficiently and colleagues can relate and understand everyone’s responsibilities and these roles can be easily established.

The method Prince2 distinguishes eight components and eight different processes and only three different techniques that are change of control technique, review of quality and product based planning. Consider if any organization is having efficient change technique in controlling or/and a process for checking the project documents quality after this they can be used in terms of relevant techniques of PRINCE2. On the other hand the technique of product based planning is recommended strongly. The reason for this is, it supports most of the good features of the project, the other techniques and procedures are kept completely outside the process of method. There are four different theories in the Prince2 which form a foundation for the complete method and they are

The project will be successful only if all the required stakeholders are completely satisfied with the outcome of the project: Stakeholders are none other than users, the suppliers, executives and the staff of the concerned project. Every time it will be not possible to satisfy all the stakeholders and not possible to supply the terms on time which were discussed before and even within the budget. This was not an opinion was from the executive who play as a role of stakeholder but all the stakeholder experience the same. The important part of the project management is to satisfy all the parties of stakeholders and managing their expectations.
The projects that are successful are business driven: For every project there will be a basic need and this particular basic business need must be consider as the initial part of the project. As a part of the project progress, there has to be regular checkups of the basic requirement and is very important. If the staff found that the basic requirements are not clear then this will form as an obstacle for sustaining the management’s involvements and generating the required funds and they try to promote the project in the environment. There will be a framework by the business case and this will be within the user’s requirements and will be based on the support and use of the results that has to be delivered.
All the projects must be carried out in the environment that is changing: The changes in the internal organization, market changes, increasing of user’s insight etc. initiation of project changes and these particular changes may again affect the requirements of the project. The projects have to be setup in such a way that they can easily change in a manner that is completely controlled.
For a project to be successful the corporation is important: For implementing the change all the projects must be setup in particular order. In this process corporation is a very significant factor. When all the required stakeholders are involved in the management and the setup of the project then the outcome acceptance will always be higher.

These four are the main points which affect the management and setup of the project and are responsible for translating the project into organization.

2.2.3.1 Characteristics of Prince2

The method Prince2 always differentiates in different number of ways when compared with the other methods of project management. They are

At the project management level creation of stakeholder involvement: In every project the main involvement has to be from suppliers and users and apart from that the suppliers and users have to represent the project management level. There has to be a good communication level among all the stakeholders and it is essential that there has to be a commitment among these parties. The method Prince2 understands this process by including the suppliers and users as the project board representatives and in the role of senior supplier and senior user.

Focus of Justification: While undertaking the project business case forms the justification and this forms the foundation for carrying and starting out a new project. The business case helps the project in starting and carrying out the complete project. After the delivery of the project an evaluation process is undertaken and this determines if the project outcome has really delivered the actual benefits of the customer.

The management of the risk is completely included into the projects lifecycle: The risk of management of the method Prince2 is not an independent approach but this is an integral part of the management process of Prince2. This indicates the process of how the risks can be managed during the complete process of project and also indicates who is responsible for what.

Stages of Management: The method Prince2 differentiates among technical stages and management stages. The stages of management are driven by time coupled with a clear no go decision or go decision regarding the projects progress. The stages of the management setups are very significant in putting the concerned management by exception into practice (Bert Hedeman, Gabor Vis van Heemst and Hans Fredriksz, 2006).

2.3 Small and Medium Enterprises

For reducing poverty and accelerating growth, some of the international agencies and World Bank Group are provided some of the targeted help to the SME’s (Small and Medium Enterprises) and this is done in the economies that are developed. The process of this kind of policy is completely based on the three basic arguments, initially the advocates of Small and medium enterprises advocates have argued that the enhancement competition of Small and Medium Enterprises and the entrepreneurship and based on this they have few external profits on innovation, growth of comprehensive production and efficiency that is economy wide. Based on this the support from direct government for small and medium enterprises mainly helps various countries that exploit the social profits from greater entrepreneurship and competition. Secondly, the small and medium enterprises proponents usually support the SME’s which are usually with the huge productive than some of the large firms but in the market of finance and in some of the institutional failures impede the development of small and medium enterprises. Therefore pending institutional and financial improvements and direct financial support from government to the small and medium enterprises as this can boost the economic development and growth. Lastly some of them argue that the expansion of Small and Medium Enterprises boost the growth of employment in large scale when compared with the large firms, this is because the small and medium enterprises have intense labor. According to this perspective subsidizing of SME’s might represent a tool of poverty improvement. There are four unconvinced questions that has a great value for this policy (Biggs and Tyler, 2002). Initially some of the authors have stresses the benefits of the large organizations and challenges the hypothesis that are underlying the view of pro-SME. Particularly it is said that large firms can exploit the easily take the costs that are fixed and make use of economies of scale that are associated with the department of Research and Development with the positive effects of production (pagano, patrizio and schivardi, 2001). Furthermore few of them say that huge organizations provide more constant and hence they provide jobs that are high quality when compared with the smaller firms with the positive consequence for the improvement of poverty (Brown et al, 1990).

The other view usually challenges the required assumptions that are underlying the arguments of pro-SME. Particularly few researchers found that small and medium enterprises are neither have a perfect option for job nor have more labor intensive. In addition to that some of the recent works have found that under developed legal and a financial institution doesn’t hurt small and medium enterprises. Indeed these researches have found that institutions that are under developed constraint organizations from increasing to their sizes effectively.(Beck, et. Al, 2002). The next set of views mainly questions the legality of size of the firm which has to be considered as the part of exogenous determinant of the growth of economic.

2.4 Risk Management

Risk is generally considered uncertainty of an obtained outcome which is omnipresent as well as present in every walk of life. Risk is mainly present in business sectors, in particular the SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises). Risk management is considered as an ongoing process which assists to enhance the operations, making sure of regulatory compliance, prioritizes resources, enhances the financial stability, attains performance targets and eventually prevents damage or loss to the entity.

2.4.1 Planning Risk Management:

The intention of planning risk management process is to create a plan for risk management; but it is different from risk planning. The plan of risk management is how to deal with the risks that are related to a project. It illustrates how it is defined, monitored and controlled all the way through the project. Such plan also explains how knowledge is implemented, observes and managed throughout the project area (Kim, 2005).

2.4.2 Risk Identification:

This process entails the identification and documentation of all risks that are entailed and which may impact the performance of a project. It entails categorizing risks, reviewing documents of project, reviewing the checklists, utilizing methods like brainstorming in order to recognize risks and eventually creating the list of project entailing risks.

2.4.3 Risk Analysis:

It is the process of entailing the activities like verifying the impacts of risk, probability of occurrence as well as prioritizing according to the significance of risk. The most effectual way is to plan such risks is by explaining them by risk impact and probability in an easy way by high, medium and low scales. Such probabilities are followed by confidence levels which are typically worked out with the help of internal experts; however the impact is a problematic issue. At times the external experts and directors are entailed.

2.4.4 Risk control and monitoring:

The intension of process of risk control and monitoring is to react to the risks that take place, track and observe recognized risks, asses the plans for risk response for gaining effectiveness, determine new risks and make sure of appropriate procedures for risk management which are being considered and defined in the plan of risk management.

Risk monitoring is considered as the last level in the process of risk management. The organization must give importance for continuous updating and reviewing its processes of risk management since the industry atmosphere shows it with an ever changing and dynamic atmosphere particularly when considering the single projects as well as their several requirements. Regular monitoring offers directors and management with a guarantee that the system of risk management is working appropriately to lessen the risks and assisting to maintain a track of the determined risks, entailing the list of observation. Main purpose of risk monitoring is a traditional view to allow proactive corrective activities. Risk monitoring helps the company to review and monitor risk process in a better place and to deal with unexpected events causing the failure of project behind the plan. An environmental change in the company may impact available risks and even result in new risks, therefore the companies must follow the steps in the process of risk management in order to determine the risks occurring in a while (Desheng, 2010).

2.5 Strategy of Risk Management

The initial step is to produce a plan for risk response in order to determine the risks that may influence the project. Managers, partners and staff of a project must brainstorm which refers to the charter, budget, and calendar of actions to recognize the probable risks. Individuals involved in the project can identify risks often according their experience. Information from published resources is even accessible to determine risks in different areas of application.

The different risk types as per the common sources are mentioned below:

Technical risks – like unverified technology

Risks in project management – like poor allocation of resources or time

External risks – like changing precedence in partner organizations

Organizational risks – like resource problems with different activities

2.6 Developing the strategies for risk response

One cannot mitigate or prepare the probable risks; however risks with high impact and high priority are expected to worth immediate action. The successful planning identifies whether the risk decreases or increases for the objectives of a project. Following are the available strategies for risk responses;

Avoidance: modifying the plan of project in order to reduce risk or safeguard the objectives from its influence. Utilizing a recognizable technology in spite of an innovative one is example of avoidance.

Transference – changing the risk management and its consequence to the third party. The transfer of risk always entails premium payment to the party enchanting on risk. Contract for services of consultants who are offered with fixed price is considered as an example for transference.

Mitigation – diminishing the consequence and/or probability of an undesirable risk event to a satisfactory threshold. Considering the early actions is more successful than attempting to repair the results after the happening of risk. To augment the financial resources of a provided project by means of searching for additional partners in project is an example of mitigation.

Acceptance – coming to a decision that project plan will not be changed to deal with the occurred risk. No action is required by the passive acceptance. An active acceptance can entail enhancing the contingency plans for taking plan of action. Producing a list of qualified instructors and who can be called up for replacing them in last minute for the requirement of project is considered as an example of active acceptance (HRDC, 2003).

2.7 Features of an effective project

In support to the application process, it is clear to define objects of any project, require partnerships with companies of same objectives as well as a thorough plan for the project. Such an accomplishment will lay a basis for its success, following traits must be considered as the features for an effective project (HRDC, 2003).

Clear objective: An effective project requires clearly mentioned objectives

Project plan: A cautiously studied plan will serve two main purposes. Initially, it enables everybody to involve understanding and carrying out their work part of project. It represents the responsibility of people involved and anticipates how much equipment, people, time and money will be needed for the competition of project. Secondly, it acts as a tool for monitoring, enabling the individuals to take appropriate actions to face the upcoming problems.

Communication: Generally, a project is considered as a combined effort among organization and individuals involved. It is essential for them to work together so as to sustain a continuous and effective communication among different parties.

Managed scope: Several issues can take place in the project and many of them may not add to the on the whole objectives. To stay focused is a significant priority with some amount of time or attention wasted.

Support of stakeholder: typically, projects entail different stakeholders who invest resources and time in the project. Maintaining support from stakeholder all the way through project is significant so that the team of project can meet the proposed objectives.

2.8 Implementation of ERP in Business

For this the examples of successful and failed ERP projects are considered.

Organization with successful ERP: The successful stories of ERP will expose that they were made potential by means of planned and hard work. The evaluation of defense enterprise planning and enterprise planning resources are the significant tasks in present context. The success stories of ERP do not essentially means that a company requires to be competed with what they have attained. They should think of enlarging the capacity of enterprise functions so that several and by this means maintain a role model for achieving the success stories of ERP. Generally, the success stories illustrate how the organizations are being facilitated by ERP to attain their milestones. It can be explained in different ways. They say that the existing steps are needed to be considered in an organization to reach utmost ERP benefits.

WinManp controlling the Athena, this organization is a good example as well as an existing proof to validate the fact considering the steps that an organization requires to acquire and is not supposing that a more ERP implementation will offer essential impetus for organizational success.

The main factor for organizational success of WinMan is supported since it is believed that software is considered as a means and not regarded as a solution for the problems raised in enterprise. This is supported by the information that the organization effectively merged the business practices with the software nuances. Such a process took place when the organization faced crucial time that s when they experienced a unexpected depreciation of profits.

This organization had an effective partnership with the Win Map software in order to set free the solutions of the organization. The affable work environment between the two existed over any disasters. These organizations experienced an augment in the profit levels as well as different business aspects like cost reduction, inventory management etc. The figures and facts were astonishing and would not have occurred when the organization had not utilized the result like a dais for exploiting their greatest and understanding the main mistake of not bring into line with software by means of business process (ERP, 2008).

2.9 Organization with unsuccessful ERP Implementation

Enterprise Resource Planning (ERP) is a process utilized globally by several organizations. Such system can assist and organize the organization that requires determining novel solutions in order to meet all the necessities. Even though, the organizational process utilized effectively for the successful implementation of ERP. At the same time, an unsuccessful implementation of ERP can occur because of various reasons and can happen too any sort of organization. One of the reasons is that minimum sixty percent of all ineffective implementation of ERP is because of inadequate planning. Also the best organizational plans can go off track and such condition can be accepted by most of them. The ineffective implementation of ERP is mainly due to lack of willingness, lack of plan to become flexible with particular plans associated. Flexibility is mainly the significant key to an important program to work with the necessities of an organization and to meet their necessities.

From the initiation of a project, often the organization creates a timetable and budget. One may staunchly adopt such plans and do not compensate them from the occurring problems. There are several problems which may happen during accomplishment of a project and these should possess a flexible budget and schedule hence determining the implementation of ERP.

When the resources are provided to deploy ERP this may rigidly result in project failure. In initial stages of a project, an organization may not invest adequate money as well as decline to make some changes. Also a small project of ERP can be completed in twenty five thousand dollars, and an organization not interested to spend such money must avoid the process of searching. It generates a pressure in the consultants who try to set up the software and employees who try to maintain all smoothly moving.

For the successful and unsuccessful implementation of ERP one main reason is flexibility. An ineffective implementation of ERP is mainly due to firm, inflexible and rigidity in their plan or timeline. For controlling an organization many questions rise and such are not anticipated in principle nor can they be planned. Think that a programmer who enhances a mononucleosis case and cannot work longer on that. Such project is considered as default. The organization struggling from bit flexibility in programming the difficulty can be removed and hence can avoid the successful implementation of ERP. There exist several reasons for successful implementation of ERP; however the main reasons are combined to a rigid attitude of budget and planning. The organizations possessing successful ERP have flexible planning (Matt D Murren, 2011).

Chapter 3: Research Methodology

3.1. Overview

This chapter examines the principles of methods, rules and postulates for research methodology. Basically, people think that research is the process of gathering the information but according to Wayne, G. and Stuart, M. (2007), research is just about answering the unanswered questions which are not answered earlier. In this particular researcher, researcher makes use of huge amount of secondary information and this study is mostly carried out depending on the secondary data. Mostly the research is limited with various constraints such as time, flexibility, etc. Thus, it can be said that this section guides the reader about the way researcher identifies the information for the research project.

3.2. Types of Data

In general, data is defined as the raw information where this information can be gathered through various methods known as data types. Mostly the structure for a research can be predictable based on the type of data. Research can be successfully completed only when the information collected for the study is accurate. So to carry out the research, the researcher needs to depend more on the data that exists from different sources. Further it enlightens that for any research, first and foremost aspect that needs to be considered is the different types of the information which are helpful in assessing and further understanding the business activities. Basically, researcher can collect the data in different ways and mostly these types are categorized into two types, which are (Fredrick G. Crane, 2009):

Primary data type
Secondary data type
3.2.1. Primary Research

Primary data basically concentrates more on the research objectives and focus mostly on solving the research aim and objectives. The information collected through this type is gathered only for the present study by interacting with the various respondents and takes their opinions, motivations, etc. based on the goals of the research. Information through this type can be collected through various methods like personal interview, observation method, telephone interview, executive interview, self administrative questionnaires, etc. (Panneerselvam, R., 2004). Some of the benefits that are provided by the primary data type are (Blurt, n.d):

There are numerous ways for gathering the information.
It includes a large population and wide geographical coverage.
It’s cheap and doesn’t require any prior arrangements.

Thus, it can be said that primary data is referred as the better way as it provides a realistic view to the researcher about the research and also the topics under consideration. However, even this type has some drawbacks such as (Blurt, n.d):

Includes some design problems like in what way the surveys need to be designed, etc.
Questions must be prepared simple.
Some participants fail to provide responses within the time period.
There is chance that the data send by respondents are fake or it may cover the fact.
Hence, primary research is useful for the researchers in gathering the information for the research but researchers need to takes some steps to eradicate the problems that are faced through this method.

3.2.2. Secondary Research

Information gathered through this type is considered as the backup data since it is collected through various secondary resources such as research study, journals, online books, etc. Simply this data is defined as the information that is collected for some other purposes. Mostly, this type is used in study to understand the basic necessities for conducting the research. Some of the advantages that are offered by this research type are (Slideshare, 2011):

Easy to gather the data when compare to primary data.
Consumes less time.
Longitudinal study may be possible.

Mostly the secondary research linked with the convergent and divergent methods. So within these two methods, researcher makes use of only one method among these two methods for the current study. These two methods are just the thinking skills where both include the important aspects such as intelligence, problem solving and critical thinking.

3.2.2.1. Convergent method

Here, this method enables the researcher to bring both facts and data together from different resources. Once the data is gathered these were applied logically and with that knowledge the problems were solved and can easily achieves the research objectives by making informed decisions. The main benefit of selecting this method is that it comes up with a correct answer that is the information that is provided will be in a clear and precise way and also encourages the people in learning the research in a direct path (Sarah Lipoff, 2011). Thus, from this context it can be stated that it is an approach which allows the researcher to think in a wider way in selecting the resources. Even though this process consumes more time yet the results obtained through this method are accurate.

3.2.2.2. Divergent method

Another method is divergent method where it allows the researcher to just think outwards instead of thinking inward while gathering the information for the research. It’s just an ability which develops the original and unique thoughts of a researcher and then comes up with a solution for a particular problem or else attains the research objectives (Problem Solving Techniques, 2011). This method permits the researcher to learn the research through their creative ideas so it indirectly encourages the researcher to take risks, learn how to be flexible and also to make use of their imagination. Thus, it can be stated that this method allows the researcher to think in a creative way for solving a particular problem in the research.

Hence, secondary research mainly enables the researcher to gather the data from various secondary resources. Collecting the information from these resources can be achieved through either a convergent method or divergent method.

3.3. Type of Research chosen for current study

For the present study, secondary research has been selected as the suitable data type for the research as this study more concentrates on the risks faced within the small to medium sized enterprises and also the increasing success in these enterprise system integration within these enterprises. Primary research is not suitable for this research since researcher may fail to identify the accurate data on the risks that are faced by the enterprises as mostly these were kept more confidential in order to compete with the other organizations. Within this secondary research, it’s better to prefer the convergent method for gathering the data from various secondary resources. Since this convergent method allows the researcher to first identify the research problem and then gathers the information accordingly and further it was applied to that particular problem. Mainly the researcher converge all the related resources onto solving the problem at hand. This way mainly preferred by the scientists and mathematicians. This convergent process permits the researcher to narrow down the search and recognizes the best chances for success (Sheena, 2010). So, in this manner the information is gathered for the present research and in order to clearly analyze the research in an effective manner, two organizations were being considered in current study where in which one organization selected is a successful enterprise systems and other is an unsuccessful enterprise systems. Two firms are being selected in order to analyze the risks that are being faced by the organization and how effectively each of the firm attained their stability in the real time environment. Two firms selected for the present study belongs to a UK IT Small and Medium Enterprise systems are illustrated below:

BIW Technologies
Richlyn Systems Limited
BIW Technologies

BIW Technologies is generally a privately held British company offering supply chain integration services to its consumer’s right from its establishment. The management of these technologies deploy, host and manage the access to SaaS applications from centrally managed facilities. The core services of this organization were developed in partnership with the UK universities, government and various other construction industry clients, contractors and professionals. Right from its establishment, the growth of the firm has been increasing rapidly and became the accepted market leader during the year 2003 and further strengthened its position over next two years. In 2006, it even won the prestigious Building Entrepreneur of the Year award for its achievements and also due to its adoption of systems continued it’s accelerate into a period of sustained profitability (BIW technologies, n.d). As of every organization, even this firm has been facing some risks due to uncertainties in project failures, financial market, disasters and natural causes. However, this firm stabilized all the risks that are mostly occurred in the firm through the implementation of project management techniques. Presently, there are various project management techniques but mostly PRINCE2 technique is being used by this firm as it is a process driven method of project management that contrasts with all the reactive or adaptive methods developed by Office of Government Commerce. Basically this project management includes various steps such as planning, initiating the project, directing the project, controlling the stage, managing the product delivery, managing stage boundaries, and finally closing the project. Thus, with this project management BIW Technologies manages the risks before its occurrence and also to further improve its growth globally. Because of all these reasons, BIW Technologies is considered as the successful enterprise systems in the present study.

Richlyn Systems Limited

It is a UK based software and website development company. This organization was introduced during the year 1983 and has being providing website solutions and bespoke systems to its client base. Richlyn systems have made superb reputation for the software it has developed and its close working relationships with its clients. This firm developed and introduced a Property Integrated Management and Accounting System (PIMS), and now-a-days it is regarded as one of the best in the industry by most of its clients. Right from its establishment, this organization continuing its development in innovative systems and further improves its growth gradually. For instance, some of the latest additions that were integrated to its bespoke software portfolio are Integrated Paint Manufacturing System, Stock Control and Order Processing and Accounting System. Based on the requests of numerous clients, this firm formed a website development team during the year 2003 in order to provide quality data driven websites for operating client’s data in a real time environment (Richlyn systems, n.d). As this firm expanding its team of developers for providing a wide range of products and services for their clients, Richlyn systems improving its growth but the management failed to stabilize their growth level because of various risks that that are mostly occurred in the organization. Although this company has taken various steps to reduce the risks, the risk management fails to identify their risks before its occurrence and even unable to categorize the risks based on the probability of its occurrence. It’s very necessary for every firm to know the potential threats that mostly occur during the project apart from reaching its objectives since these risks may reduce their growth and even its stability in maintaining its value in the market. Due to this reason, this firm is referred as the unsuccessful enterprise system integration projects.

3.4. Summary

This section is considered as the main part in the research as the total research can be absolute only if the selected methodology is proper to execute the functionalities in a right direction. Mostly this methodology deals with the critical justification of the chosen approach since there are numerous methods involved in the current market. In this research, secondary data type has been selected in which further convergent method has been chosen for collecting and accurate information for the research by reviewing numerous secondary resources. The method selected in this research is very helpful for the researcher as it enables them to obtain the accurate result for the research with proper facts.

Chapter 4: Results

4.1. Overview

This section illustrates the facts that are gathered through the convergent method and produces the precious information for the readers. Examiner first analyzes the result of the research by clearly examining the gathered data from various resources on the two organizations. Later, the performances of both the firms were compared and highlight the importance of implementation of PRINCE2 project management techniques in their firms.

4.2. Analysis

Researcher selected the convergent method in current study in order to identify the importance of PRINCE2 project management technique in an IT industry. Here, the researcher selects two UK Small and Medium Enterprises related to IT firms. These organizations are chosen based on the implementation and lack of PRINCE2 project management techniques. Two UK firms selected in this research are BIW Technologies and Richlyn Systems limited where BIW Technologies implements the PRINCE2 project management technique where as the other firm that is Richlyn Systems doesn’t implement any type of project management techniques and just concentrates on providing services to their clients and leads to creation of various risks within the firm. Performances of both the firms are being discussed below:

4.2.1. BIW Technologies

BIW Technologies is one of the UK’s leading providers of web-based construction collaboration systems and have won the Entrepreneur of the Year award in the industry during the year 2006 Oscars, the building awards. It was being awarded in front of a 1500 audience for a wide spread adoption of its technologies across the UK construction businesses. Over past five years, this firm has been improving from its strength to strength. During the past five years, the turnover of this organization is raised to 33% by not content with concerning 25% share of a market for an internet-based information exchange within the construction industries. This raise is due to long back of relationship with the great and good of clients’ world. Colin Smith (BIW chief executive) has said that “we believe collaboration technologies are increasingly a key element in the delivery of today’s construction projects, and we are delighted that our achievements since 2000 have been recognized by this major award” (Entrepreneur, n.d, p.1). BIW is considered as the market leaders based on the independent research carried out by e-business consultancy Compagnia. These specialists said that from their research, it has been proven that this firm has a share of 26.4% in the UK market for construction collaboration systems. This enterprise even had the largest user group (that is 23000) of nine providers, this was revealed when surveyed during the year 2003 in March and even this firm received a higher user rating (that is out of 10, it scored 8.5) between the pure collaboration providers (Market, n.d, p.1). Right from its establishment, this company has been improving its firm gradually in a step by step manner by concentrating on both its mission and vision and along with that it also concentrates on the risks that may occur due to the introduction of new policy in their firm. These organizations faced various risks while introducing the new methodology in their firm yet in these situations also it standardized its level in the market by maintaining a long-term relationship with their clients. All this improvement in the organization is being carried out successfully through the implementation of project management techniques mainly these firm implements a PRINCE2 technique for stabilizing the firm by eliminating all the risks within their limited period. In some cases, the management people even eradicate the risks before its occurrence.

Figure 4.2: Shows the raise of profit during the period of 2007 and 2008 (Profit, n.d, p.1).

From the latest financial figures, it can be seen that BIW Technologies attained the revenues of ?7.3m that covers the 12 months to 30the September 2008. In the year 2007, there was a ?560,000 pre-tax profit on turnover of ?5.7m whereas the latest turnover is higher that is ?8.4m. Thus, BIW Technologies sees a profit double to ?1.1m (Profit, n.d, p.1). Hence, from this analysis on BIW Technologies it can be stated that this organization is improving its growth rapidly through the implementation of project management techniques by reducing the risks and also further improve its share in the market.

4.2.2. Richlyn Systems Limited

It is a UK based website development and software company which developed a Property Integrated Management and Accounting System (PIMS). This developed system was being widely used by most of the companies like HBOS, Valad Property Group, Wykeland property Group, Evan Easyspace and Even Property Group. This company has been enlarging its firm by developing other systems like Integrated Paint Manufacturing System (IPMS) and Integrated Stock Control order Processing and Accounting System (SCOPAC) where these two are the latest additions to its portfolio. Based on the client’s request, the management introduced a website development team in 2003 for operating the client’s information and in 2007 the management developed and maintained the NOGG and FRAX websites based on the requests of Sheffield University. Based on the requests of various clients, different websites are being developed and to maintain these sites a separate team has been formed in this organization. The demand for this firm is more in the present market but the management fails to utilize the opportunity as the introduction of every new scheme evolves some risks and just disturbs all the fields of management and thus in turn reduces its growth. This was mainly due to the lack of handling the risks in a right manner.

Figure 4.1 : Shows the shareholders funds during the year 2009 and 2010 (Annual Accounts, 2010, p.3).

If 2010 balance sheet of Richlyn Systems Limited has been considered for the present research then one can seen the reduce in the growth during the year 2009 and 2010. The net asset during the year 2009 is ?53,385 whereas in the year 2010 its value is reduced to ?33,728. During the year 2009 and 2010, even the share holder funds have been reduced to ?19,657 (Annual Accounts, 2010, p.3). Thus, from this analysis it can be stated that due to lack of implementing the correct project management techniques in the organization, Richlyn systems fails to improve its growth and further even decreasing its share in the market.

4.3. Summary

This section summarizes that implementation of project management techniques like PRINCE2 improves the growth of the firm and even helps the organizations in managing the risks efficiently. Thus, those organizations are referred as the successful enterprise systems integration projects within the UK SME’s. Here, in this research BIW Technologies is considered as the successful organization when compare to other firm (like Richlyn system) as it successfully implements the PRINCE2 technique and improves its growth rapidly.

Chapter 5: Discussion of results

From the above results it can be said that a project management is enhanced by means of successful implementation of project management and risk management that is the integration of enterprise system with various tools and technologies into the Small and medium Enterprises. There are set of questions which are required to be addressed in critical analysis of risk management techniques: what are the different ways to reduce risk for attaining a successful organization; how they can be dealt; what are the different methodologies adopted in risk management; how to deal with the provided confined data;

At the same time there are other issues to be addressed they are: How the project management techniques are utilized in the present project; how the risks are reduced by the integration of enterprise systems; how the successful implementation of ERP is achieved in the organization.

These above questions are well illustrated in the literature and how well they are useful for achieving the objectives of the project. On the other hand, some research methods are being followed in the present project. As the research is confined with several constraints like flexibility and time, the researcher adopted secondary research since it enables them to gather data for various purposes. The project management techniques and risk management techniques are being obtained from the research study, books or journals etc. At the same time unsuccessful and successful implementation of ERP is being obtained from the same. From this it is clear that secondary research helps the researcher to gather data easily which is not even time consuming. Divergent and convergent are the two methods associated with secondary research where one among them is considered. From the obtained results it is assessed that convergent method is adaptable as it helps to identify and search data for effective analysis.

Generally research methods are being adopted to gather data. The research method chosen for this study is secondary research as it focuses on the risks that are faced by SMEs as well as the integration of enterprise systems effectively by the chosen enterprises. It is analyzed that primary research is not applicable for the present research as it is found that researcher may not be successful to recognize the correct information regarding the risks that are being faced by the enterprises. Most of the enterprise data is kept secret so it is not possible to collect data by means of primary research. But with the help of secondary research, it is observed that the convergent method has been selected to gather information from various sources. From the above research methods we observe that the convergent method enables us to recognize the research problem and hence according to that the information is gathered to apply it for the specific problem. All the associated data are converged to solve the problem. From this discussion it is clear that primary research may not be adopted as the secondary research helps to gather data for current study so as to lucidly evaluate the research in a proper way. Therefore, the research methods are considered as the significant part in the process of conducting the research the entire research is found to be accurate when the opted research method is appropriate to carry out the operations. A critical evaluation is made in the research methods for choosing an appropriate approach as there are several methods entailed in present market. A clear analysis of the results is made so as to justify that appropriate research methods are opted for further continuation of research. From the above discussion a critical reflection of the research methods area being shown and the effect of appropriate research method had on the obtained results.

To attain the appropriate results we have taken the help of research methods. For analysing the present research two organizations are considered one among them is an effective enterprise system and other is an ineffective is enterprise system. For evaluating the risks two organizations are being selected and it is assessed that how effectively every organization achieved their firmness in environment of real time. For the present study, two UK organizations which are IT related SMEs are observed they are Richlyn Systems Limited and BIW Technologies. In the results the performances of these two technologies are being compared and emphasized regarding the importance and implementation of project management technique PRINCE2 in the respective organizations. From the research methods, it is clear that a convergent method has been opted for the research so as to determine the significance of project management technique PRINCE2 in the IT based SMEs. These firms are selected as per the lack of implementation of project management technique PRINCE2. This technique is utilized by them to face the risks in an appropriate manner. From the chosen two SMEs the Richyln Systems limited implements the project management technique PRINCE2 and the other firm BIW Technologies does not apply any of the project management techniques but it just focuses on offering different services to its customers and hence leading to generation of numerous risks itself in the firm. For improving its growth rapidly BIW Technologies has successfully implemented the PRINCE2 technique which helps to risks as the organization suffered from handling the risks in appropriate manner. On the other hand, Richyln Systems Limited has enhanced various accounting systems as the request of clients. It even introduced several management websites as per their requests. But it could not reach the client’s demand as it failed to use the chance of all schemes entailing the risks that disturbed the various management fields. Hence lack of project management and lack of project management techniques has let this firm to an unsuccessful implementation of ERP.

Chapter 6: Conclusions

In this dissertation, a clear evaluation is made on the Enterprise systems which highlight the key issues in SMEs. The different ways for enhancing the risk management as well as the project management are being discussed. The present study tries to meet the proposed aims and objectives by evaluating appropriate tools and techniques of both project management and risk management. The conclusions from each chapter are drawn to evaluate whether the aims and objectives of the present study are met.

Firstly, the introduction focuses on briefing the entire project with sufficient data gathered for illustrating and meeting the aims and objectives. It offers a reason for choosing the project which is significant stating the reason for augmenting the success and lessening the risks entailed in the enterprise systems including enterprises SMEs. It articulates a clear idea of the organizational success and it even offers an encouragement helping the researcher to carry on the program on a smooth tract. It is achieved by implementing and scheduling time for moderately achieving the success at the end.

Secondly, the chapter literature review illustrates the various focused areas for completion of the study. Initially, the SMEs (Small and Medium Enterprises) are mainly intended for achieving the profits, growth of comprehensive production, innovation and efficiency of the enterprise economy. They help to increase and exploit the social profits as well as facing the greater competition and entrepreneurship. In this chapter the SMEs are compared with the larger organization regarding how they differ from each other to achieve success in their specific markets. The enterprise system integration is achieved by considering the risk management and project management tools and techniques. Next is regarding the risk management which arise in firms whether it could be SMEs or other larger organizations. Risks are mainly considered as the uncertainty that is mainly found in SMEs. For this the stated solution is the risk management which helps to develop the functionalities, ensuring the regulatory compliances, improving the financial stability, prioritizing the resources, and so on. The risk management methodologies are helpful for any organization which entails the planning of risk management, risk identification, analysis of risk, monitoring and controlling of risk. Strategies of risk management help the individuals to identify the risks easily in different types of risks like technical risks, organizational risks, external risks and project management risks. The strategies for risk response are enhanced to reduce the evolving risks in the organization. The available strategies for the risk management are avoidance, transference, mitigation and acceptance. At the same time, project management is being discussed in this chapter which presents an illustration of project management and its technologies. Project management is considered as an ongoing process that requires an appropriate and appreciative environment for contextual project and which balances the inconsistent demands from the available resources and anticipated results. The project management gives a clear vision on the project objective, project plan, communication among the members, scope of project and support from the stakeholders. The different project management techniques are PRINCE2, SCRUM and PMBOK. These techniques are helpful for the SMEs to other larger organizations as they help to achieve in the successful implementation of ERP that is they make easier for the organizations to reduce risks. From these techniques PRINCE2 is chosen in the next chapter.

Thirdly, the chapter of research methods helps to examine different rules, postulates and methods for the continuation of the study. As this research requires confined constraints like flexibility and time, hence it helps to chose suitable research method. Secondary research method is considered as it helps to gather data easily from the resources like books, journals, articles etc. With the help of secondary resources a convergent method is preferred as it helps to easily identify the research aim and search the resources to reach the best opportunities of success. This way the data is gathering for clearly analyzing the research where two firms are considered for evaluating the successful and unsuccessful implementation of ERP. They are chosen to analyze the risks which are being faced and how efficiently managed with the help of project management techniques.

Next is the chapter of results, which is derived from the research methods chapter i.e. two firms are being selected which belongs to UK Information Technology based SMEs. They are BIW Technologies and Richyln Systems Limited which are shown as examples one for successful enterprise system and other for unsuccessful enterprise system. The PRINCE2 project management techniques are adopted by the BIM Technologies which helped the organization to achieve effective profits by lessening the risks. On the other hand, the Richyln Systems Limited has not implemented any of the project management techniques to reduce the risks. It just followed the business as per the request of the clients for better services, as the demands increased it could achieve them at the same time it could not diminish the risks entailed in the organization thus inefficient and less profit margins are obtained.

Next is the discussion of the obtained results, it helps to draw the critical analysis from the results that are derived from the literature and other research methods like secondary research including the convergent method. It helps how the results supported to achieve the objects and it even presents a critical reflection of the research methods influencing that had on the attained results. Following this section, the appropriate recommendations are provided for the study.

6.1 Recommendations

In the small and medium enterprises the issues have been increased in the present time. This research has discussed the risks and which project management techniques can be used for increasing the success in the small and medium enterprises. There are various methods which can be used as those are very significant for any kind of organizations. In this every risk has to be identified and the risk has to be described so that can be solved. The overall risk has to be established by the department and there are some vital risks that has to be identified they are the actions and strategies of the risk management treatment, there has to be deadline for the accomplishment of the treatment actions and strategies and for this the department head has to be answerable for the implementation. The organizations have to be prepared for the risks and have to be planned in an aligned manner and have to make sure of the resources that can be allotted. A formal process has to be granted for every key and this is to monitor and review the concerned risks and its management treatments and the organizations have to be ensured that the strategies are effective. In the small and medium enterprises the risks assessments have to be presented so that this will be useful in next time. Before undertaking any kind of project it is very much recommended that the audit in the internal part of the organization must be discussed in terms of purpose of the criteria. In the organization it is very significant that staff has to report to the department head regarding the fraud of the audit, department, evaluation committee in concern with the progress of the implementation of the treatment actions and strategies and the risks that are emerging. These must also be reported to the higher officials and the concerned managers. These risks have to be monitored and have to be planned and managed so that all the required obligations can be cleared. For monitoring the risk management a score card has to be maintained and developed for the progress of the grants.

For some kind of significant risks the department has to identify some steps they are

There has to be a time limit for the accomplishment treatment actions and strategies, the departments head has to be responsible for the accomplishment.

In spite of improving the issues of implementation some issues are still address and these follow after defining the ERP:

The market players ability so that they stay in alter with the ERP
Its services and usages
The requisite for innovating the applications of software
The means and ways in implementing the business applications
To get profit from the same so that it can gain a competitive edge
Well-liked information systems
References
Annual Accounts (2010) “Richlyn Systems Limited”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Bert Hedeman, Gabor Vis van Heemst and Hans Fredriksz (2006), Project Management Based on Prince2, Edition 3, Van Haren Publications.
BIW technologies (n.d) “About us”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Biggs and Tyler (2002), Is Small Beautiful and Worthy of SubsidyLiterature Review, IFC mimeo.
Blurt (n.d) “Advantages and Disadvantages of Primary Data Collection To A Researched Study”, [internet] available at URL: < http://www.blurtit.com/q130762.html>, [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Brown, Charles, James Medoff and Jay Hamilton (1990), Employers: Large and Small, Cambridge, MA.: Harvard University Press.
Desheng, D. W. (2010) Modelling Risk Management in Sustainable Construction, Business & Economics, Springer Publishing.
Duncan Haughey (2011) “The Project Management Body of Knowledge (PMBOK)”, [internet] available at URL: < http://www.projectsmart.co.uk/pmbok.html>, [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Entrepreneur (n.d) “Entrepreneur of the Year”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
ERP (2008) ERP Success Stories, [Internet] available at URL: , [Accessed on 16th May, 2005].
Fredrick G. Crane (2009) Marketing for Entrepreneurs: Concepts and Applications for New Ventures, SAGE.
HRDC (2003) Introduction to Project Management Principles, [Internet] available at URL: , [Accessed on 15th May, 2005].
Kim, H. (2005) Project manager’s spotlight on risk management, John Wiley and Sons Publishing.
Matt D Murren (2011) Unsuccessful Stories of ERP Implementation, [Internet] available at URL: , [Accessed on 10th May, 2011].
Market (n.d) “BIW 26.4% of UK Market”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Pagano, Patrizio and Fabiano Schivardi (2001), Firm Size Distribution and Growth, Bancad’Italia Working Paper.
Pannerselvam, R. (2004) Research Methodology, New Delhi: PHI Learning Pvt. Ltd.
Problem Solving Techniques (2011) “Divergent and Convergent Thinking”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Profit (n.d) “Contract Journal”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Reinhold Plosch (2004) Contracts, Scenarios and prototypes; an integrated approach to high quality software, Springer Publications.
Richlyn systems (n.d) “About Richlyn”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Sarah Lipoff (2011) “Divergent Teaching Vs. Convergent Teaching in Preschool”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Sheena (2010) “Divergent and Convergent Thinking Techniques”, [internet] available at URL: , [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Slideshare (2011) “Primary and Secondary Data”, [internet] available at URL: < http://www.slideshare.net/gulsweet/primary-data-secondary-data-presentation>, [accessed on 20th May 2011].
Wayne, G. and Stuart, M. (2007) Research Methodology: An Introduction, 2nd edition, Lansdowne: Juta and Co.Ltd.

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Free Essays

How does biodegradable polymer upset the balance of the environment compared to synthetic polymer?

Introduction

The use of plastic is now being limited due to environmental concern. In many countries and regions, uses of plastics are restricted as they pollute the air with toxic gases like carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases. The greenhouse effect from these from these toxic gases are increasing pollution and rising global warming. Nevertheless the use of plastic continues. [1]

Plastic are polymers used for application such as packaging, building materials and commodities. There are mainly two types of polymers: one is naturally occurring polymers which are biodegradable and the other is synthetic polymer which is man-made. [2] Natural polymers are biodegradable and therefore it is observed that it has lesser negative impact on the environment than synthetic polymer.

Definition, Properties and their uses

Synthetic polymers are made artificially from chemical substance in industries. They are non-biodegradable polymers and do not decompose easily. These polymers are produced from non-renewable resources, petroleum by the process polymerization. [3] They have useful properties as they do not react with alkali and acid and they are light but strong. Its shape and color can be altered easily and it is a good insulator of heat and electricity. Due to its properties and as they are cheap, they are used in place of metal, wood and other materials. They are most commonly used as plastic bags. As they are good insulator of heat and electricity they are used for coating wires, they are also used to make cups, bowls, containers, toys, etc.

Even though synthetic polymers are cheap, its resource, petroleum is becoming more and more limited. And a large amount of energy is required to recycle them. Therefore the process of recycling them is not energy efficient. As its resource it finite and it is expensive to recycle them, and it cannot be easily decomposed, scientist introduced a different type of polymer alternative to them. These polymers are more beneficial to use and less harmful to the environment as they are biodegradable, even though they are more expensive.

Natural polymers are biodegradable. They are formed naturally in all living organism, both in plants and animals. [2] They can be made from elements such as carbon, hydrogen, nitrogen and oxygen. In animals natural polymers are found in muscles skin, silk, hair, wool and fur. Natural polymers are produced from starch and cellulose from plants and vegetables like potatoes, maize, sugar cane, corn. Complex hydro-carbon polymers can be produced by the help of bacteria and fungi. [4]

Another type of polymer is synthetic biodegradable polymers. These are chemically derived natural polymers, mainly from plants. They are modified to improve the biodegradability and other properties. They can decompose under natural; condition by bacteria or fungi. [1] They can also be degraded biologically with enzymes and other living organism. Biodegradation takes place by the process oxidation, photo degradation, hydrolysis or biotic reaction which is followed by bio- assimilation of the polymer fragments by micro-organisms and their mineralization. [3]

Types of biodegradable polymers:

Natural polymers or biopolymers which exists in plants and animals
Natural polymers from renewable resource monomers synthesized with chemicals
Polymers formed by microorganism and bacteria
Polymers with hydrolysable backbone
Polymer with carbon back bone

There is also petroleum based biodegradable polymer. These are produced from petroleum polymer to increase its biodegradability and to reduce the use of petroleum. These are made by mixing petroleum with starch and other substances so that it can be decomposed by bacteria, light and by other processes where less energy is needed. [1]

Since 1990, synthetic polymers which are completely biodegradable, for example compounds like poly (lactic acid), polypro lactone and poly (hydroxyl butyrate-valerate), have been available commercially. Polymers produced from starch are useful in cosmetics and pharmaceutical industries. The use of biodegradable polymers is mainly performed in medical application, agricultural fields and for packaging food and other goods.

In medical application the use of biodegradable polymers are needed for surgical sutures, bone fixation devices, vascular grafts, adhesion prevention, and artificial skin and drug delivery systems. [1]

Polymers are used in agricultural application to improve the condition of the soil and to control the release of pesticides. They are also used for nutrients. [1]

For packaging the quality and the properties of the polymer depends on the type of good which will be packed.

Advantages and Disadvantages of Synthetic Polymer and Biodegradable Polymer and their Impact on the Environment

Biodegradable synthetic polymers are now being widely replaced by synthetic polymers even though synthetic polymers cost lesser. This is because synthetic polymers are unfavorable to the environment as they are unable to decompose. As a result they remain in the environment for hundreds of years. This polymer wastage pollutes water and block drainage systems and rivers. This causes flash floods. The populations of mosquitoes increase as these plastic wastages are good breeding spot for the mosquitoes. As a result diseases are spread by them which cause people to have malaria and dengue fever. Therefore number of aquatic animals is reducing due to the pollution made by the synthetic polymers.

Used polymers which are petroleum based are often burned in open space producing poisonous that causes acid rain which disrupts the balance of the environment. These also cause greenhouse effect.

Compare to synthetic polymers, biodegradable synthetic polymer are environmentally friendlier. And the demand for biodegradable polymers is increasing as their costs are falling. People prefer biodegradable polymers as they can decompose or decay naturally and biologically, they are found in large range and its resource is renewable.

Biodegradable polymers also improve agriculture by making the soil more fertile. It can be used to minimize the growth of weeds. It can increase the temperature of the soil and keep a constant level of moist in the soil. This increases the growth rate of the plants and vegetables.

Recently the production of biodegradable polymer is increasing as the demand for sustainable packaging is ascending. Consumers are more interested in eco-friendly products. As a result the demand for petroleum base polymers are descending.

Conclusion:

Even though a huge range of the area is used to grow plants and vegetables to make polymer we can conclude from the above information and an explanation, biodegradable polymers upsets the environmental far less than synthetic polymers.

Reference:
Leon P.B.M. Janssen and Leszek Moscicki (Eds), (2009). Thermoplastic Starch. Wiley-VCH.

http://www.chem1.com/acad/webtext/states/polymers.html

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Free Essays

Environmental Architecture and how we adapt to live in the surrounding environment

Chapter 1
INTRODUTION

The Environmental Architecture is not new. It has appeared in the ancient civilizations in the aspects of human attempts to adapt and live in the surrounding environment. These aspects of adaptation were varied in different ways such as: the use of construction materials available in the local environment and the methods used to deal with the elements of the environment and their determinants like rain, wind, sunlight etc. For example, the human civilizations of ancient Egyptian used local materials like wood, brick and papyrus in their architectural systems such as housing for workers while they used natural stone and carved in the mountains such as temples. Other civilizations went to several environmental processors such as domes, vaults and interior spaces, and all this was in the context of human adaptation to its environment. This trend was prevalent throughout the ages and times and the environment was not ignored at all, as various ways were tried to cope with the environmental elements until the industrial revolution.

With the beginning of the Industrial revolution in the nineteenth century all theories of traditional architecture has changed, and full and strong concentration on the function and economic efficiency as a source of the design had been emerged. As a result, architects ignored to satisfy the human physical needs such as temperature, humidity, light intensity and non-physical needs such as social, psychological and cultural aspects. The physical comfort of humans greatly depends upon the following physical factors; temperature, air quality, lighting environment and acoustic environment. Architects tended to unify the architectural vocabulary of the world and treated buildings as a machine. Hence, a wide gap between architecture and environment came into being. Those who interested in studies of nature and environmental balance called this architecture as ‘Destructive Architecture’ because of its negative impacts on the environment. The rise of science in the Renaissance led to the Industrial Revolution which has enabled environmental engineers to produce reasonably comfortable conditions in almost any building in almost any climate. Some of the most visually powerful architecture of our era has taken technology and pushed it to the limits of its capabilities. The engineering systems associated with this architecture, however, have required high-grade energy to deal with the environmental problems resulting from the building design.

In Europe, in the mid-nineteenth century, industrialization urges steps as well as scientific discoveries reform the human understanding of nature. There was scientific development in construction techniques and architecture, especially in the use of glass and metals and development in the techniques of artificial lighting and air conditioning. John Ruskin, the English art critic and one of the first who observed the environmental degradation caused by industrial progress, proclaimed that architecture should respond to the environment. He stated “God gave us earth to live upon for some time, but its ownership should devolve to our children and grandchildren, so we have no right to ignore them and involve them in punishment for crimes they never committed or even to deprive them of the blessing of their God-given.”

Modernity, in general, is the antithesis of nature and is also a global response to the technical progress. Modernity, in the twentieth century, has appeared in this sense clearly in the work of some architects like Walter Gropius, Mies van der Rohe and Phillip Johnson. It also included the intuitive design and the organic trend in the work of some other architects like Le Corbusier, Alvar Aalto and Frank Lloyd Wright. Those architects had been considered as giants and the founders of modernism. Despite the fact that each of them had a contrary view of architecture, they put the first stone and the core of the contemporary environmental architecture.

The interaction between humans, architecture and the environment is a major manifestation of human civilization. During the Industrial Revolution there was a misunderstanding of that interaction as humans believed that they have to demonstrate their ability to conquer nature using the tools and technical capabilities and they did not discover their mistakes until the environment crises emerged. Destructive Architecture did not destroy only the environment, but also destroy the identity and cultural characteristics of the place. Therefore, architects have begun to redefine the word ‘Green Architecture’ to convince buildings users its advantages and its ability to meet the functional needs of the buildings, but the problem is that green architecture concentrate always on the rationalisation of energy consumption and to achieve physical comfort for users.

Green Architecture aims to reduce consumption of natural energies and to use natural materials in buildings construction. Such architecture achieved two important goals at the same time. Firstly, it reduces pressure on natural energy resources, and secondly, it promotes and increases the efficiency of architectural systems. Consequently, green architecture is a sustainable method of green building design. It is design and construction with the environment in mind. Thus, green architecture generally works with the key concepts of creating an energy efficient environmentally friendly house.

The world’s population is now more than 6.8 billion and continues to grow by 83 million people per year. This extreme growth in human population is mortally taxing the Earth and its resources. During the second half of the last century, the world’s urban population has increased tremendously. According to the UNFPA, “in the 1950s there were no more than 200 million urban residents, but by the end of the century their total number was close to 3 billion and it is expected to increase to approximately 5 billion by 2025” (Ghiaus C. & Allard F. 2005). These figures highlight the need for more housing developments around the world to cope with the population growth, but that means more energy consumption and environmental degradation. In the book “The Energy Saving House”, Salomon and Bedel stated, “Without energy, there would be no life and no technical development.” (Salomon T. & Bedel S. 2007) In the UK, approximately 50% of the whole carbon dioxide emissions can be attributed to buildings, in which of 27% originate from residential housing. However, housing is vital to us all – to our economy; our environment; to every individual and family for whom a home represents so much more than just a place to live. From this point of view, the architectural design will be a highly powerful tool in ensuring new housing developments are built to minimise their impacts on the environment, contribute to the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. As long as humanity only used the energy it needed for survival and for its primary needs, the world’s energy consumption will be stable.

Finally, Le Corbusier stated “Architecture is one of the urgent needs of man, for the house has always been the indispensable and first tool that he has forged for himself,” and also claimed “the house is a machine for living in.” (Le Corbusier, 1923) From this point of view, it is possible to say that designing a house is something like manufacturing a new car, which needs a planner, experts and tools to be finished and must be tested before being used.

Chapter 2
METHODOLOGY

This chapter focuses on the qualitative research method has been used to gather an in-depth understanding of sustainable architecture. It was crucial to identify what type of method should be used to arrive at the aim of the research. The decision was made to gather the relevant information from specified individuals dealing with the similar challenges. The best method to achieve the target was questionnaire paper being emailed to each one. The questionnaire paper focused on specific matters such as: sustainability, architectural design and the relationship between them. This means a non-numerical data collection and explanation based on sources of data must investigated and analysed to come up with results at the end of the research.

2.1 Research Aim and Objectives

Architects, designing buildings, considered extreme impact of the environment on buildings and how a building can be protected from the environmental effects. Environmental scientists are concerned as to how much buildings impact upon the natural environment. Where there is mutual influence on each other, it is important to establish the impact of buildings on the environment. Housing forms a fundamental part of a nation’s building stock, hence research in this area will have a significant effects in protecting the environment especially in the conservation of energy consumed in these buildings and consequently, reducing emissions of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere.

“The goal of sustainable design is to find architectural solutions that guarantee the well-being and coexistence of three constituent groups land, buildings or building products, energy,” (Jong-Jin, K. 1998). This study aimed to diagnose housing problems to find out what has been done and what can be done in the future and then find the architectural solutions of these problems that will be considered as main principles of a sustainable design in order to meet the targets of the government strategy. In 2008, the UK Government confirmed that all new homes will have to be zero carbon from 2016.

The aim of this study is to help architects and designers put into practice ideas and approaches that allow them to design homes in an ecological and sustainable way. By following principles of sustainable design that are the results of the research laid out in the following chapters and creating a method to assess architectural design (table of assessment), architects might be able to meet the following objectives:

Organise the interior and exterior spaces of the house to better effect.
Assist both the environment and the house occupier by saving energy and money.
Create a healthy and affordable environment.
Choose structural types and materials that are environmentally friendly.
Avoid resource depletion of energy, water and raw materials.
Prevent the degradation of the environment caused by facilities and infrastructure throughout their life cycle.
Create a successful high – performance building.
Identify the principles of sustainable home design that meet this target.

In conclusion, architectural design is a highly powerful tool ensuring new housing developments are built to minimise their impacts upon the environment, contribute to the energy efficiency and carbon dioxide emissions. The principal objective of this study is to find principle of sustainable design used as a guide by architects to evaluate their design. Thus an evaluating method would be designed to be used as an assessment tool.

2.2 Research Method

To meet the objectives of this study, the research methodology adopted require gathering relevant information from specified individuals facing the similar challenges and compiling databases to analyse these knowledge and opinions thereby arriving at a more complete understanding of how well-designed sustainable housing benefit the environment. The target population are architects who reside in the UK and are involved in architectural practice or the academic training of architects.

Data collection will consist of surveys with architects using a questionnaire method sent by email to a number of them. This kind of survey was made because it was possible get the names and email address of the target people. This is a rapid means of gaining information. Although, questionnaires often seem a logical and easy option as a way to collect information, they are actually rather difficult to design in such a way to be understandable and easy to answer. A structured questionnaire with six questions was developed to aid in collecting the requested information. The aim was to send emails to approximately 100 architects who undertaken a range of roles and who come from different communities and universities within the UK. Followings are the questions that structured the questionnaire paper through the research:

1) How can an architect support the environment?
2) How would you define a sustainable housing design?
3)From your experience, what are the principles of sustainable design?
4)In what way nature can be used as a guide for any design?
5)What are your key concerns as a designer interested in sustainability?
6) How do you judge the success of a building in the green age?

These questions highlight the importance of interrelationship between architecture and sustainability in terms of environmental conservation. Professionals’ answers to these questions assist the research key findings and results at the end of the study and played a main role in creating the principles of sustainable design, which is the main objective of the research.

2.3 Questionnaire Responses

The survey identified 102 architects selected to form the sample selected from four universities. These were including Cardiff University, Bath University, Sheffield University and Brighton University. There were two reasons for choosing these universities, firstly, they have a school of architecture with respected staff of architects, and secondly, they originate in different parts of the UK. It is perceived this might help attain different points of view and attain a range of answers. Twenty seven architects responded the email representing an overall response rate of 26.4%. A total of 16 out of 27 responses answered the questionnaire representing 59.2% and the rest gave different reasons for not answering the questionnaire, for example, five of them have no time; three are not practicing architectural design and the last three are involved in other kind of studies like history of architecture and interior design.

Figure 2.1: Questionnaire answers rate.

Within this poor response rate and the small group who responded, the return answers of the questionnaire provided significant information that would be one of the bases to put the structure and principles of this research. After collecting the data, answers for the questions above could be summarised as follows:

1. How can an architect support the environment?

Reasons underlying the use of this question were that the role of architecture as a responsible profession is of far reaching significance. Architects contribute to protecting the environment by designing environmentally responsive buildings that have less impact on the environment. Architects can assist at every stage. As they can shape the environment physically, they have the ability to influence how people live, whether they walk or cycle, whether they recycle and how much energy they use. The consequence is architects can generate new forms of architectural expression that are closely linked to local conditions, such as; microclimate and topography, natural resources and the cultural heritage of a certain region.

2. How would you define a sustainable housing design?

Sustainable design means doing the most with the least means. It is about ideally using passive architectural means to save energy rather than relying on wasteful mechanical services. Sustainable design aims to meet present needs without compromising the stock of natural resources remaining for future generations. Sustainable design can be defined as ecological design that integrates seamlessly with the ecological systems in the biosphere over the entire life cycle of the built system. Sustainable housing deign has less dependency on fossil fuels on terms of its energy demand, uses low impact materials for construction, mostly self sufficient in terms of its energy usage, has facility to conserve water and dispose waste sustainably.

3. From your experience, what are the principles of sustainable design?

Sustainable design can be summarised as embracing: energy efficiency, the choice and provenance of materials, sources of energy, consider energy implication in site selection and building orientation, take advantage of natural ventilation, specify efficient HVAC and lighting systems, water control, affordable design and efficient use of spaces, healthy indoor environment, landscape and infrastructure, building systems and structure, sustainable dispose of waste and planning design. These answers would be the cornerstone of proposed principles of sustainable design.

4. In what way nature can be used as a guide for any design?

We can learn from nature in terms of adapting to climate which can be a guide for any design. Bio mimicry is the examination of nature, its models, systems, processes, and elements to emulate or take inspiration from in order to solve human problems in habitation. Nature provides inspiration, information and analogy. Nature should be imitated and our built systems should be mimetic ecosystems. Very often there are rich architectural traditions that work with, and are not against nature. Many of the principles appear to have been forgotten over time. In the Glass House at the National Botanic Garden of Wales near Carmarthen, the architect Lord Foster buried the structures in the ground to integrate them within the landscape and make passive use of the thermal mass of the soil to reduce energy demands for space heating.

Figure 2.2: Glass House at the National Botanic garden of Wales

Source: (http://www.flickr.com/photos/iqbalaalam/3719205123/)

There are other lessons to be learnt from nature with regard to the efficiency, performance, adaptability, variety and tremendous beauty which organisms display when under close observation. Considering that nature obeys the same physical laws as man- made objects, this should be seen as encouraging making it worthwhile to study principles and mechanisms.

5. What are your key concerns as a designer interested in sustainability?

Dr. Hasim Altan, lecturer in Sustainable Environmental Design at School of Architecture of Sheffield University, claimed “My main concern is that buildings are being designed without any consideration to climate change impact and adaptation to changing climate, and therefore we will be repeating same mistakes over and over again, and will be left with a building stock still unsustainable for future generations.” Sarah Mc Cormack, MSc Teaching Assistant at Welsh School of Architecture of Cardiff University, stated her concerns as “The lack of will to make sustainable design a key priority and the lack of knowledge of most Architects to design sustainably and holistically.” Prof. Chris Tweed, BRE Chair in Sustainable Design of the Built Environment at Welsh School of Architecture of Cardiff University, expressed concern at the integration of people and the designed built environment. He believes that this integration would assist society achieve the desired/necessary environmental conditions without using excessive amounts of energy or causing irreparable damage to the environment.

Others concerned about varies topics linked to the issue of sustainability such as: the choice and the provenance of materials and the energy needed for their transport and refinement; the integration of technologies and components to use renewable energy in a satisfying way especially one that controls the impact on and potential for the appearance of the building; designers should be aware of the connectivity of all systems in nature and these should be integrated as part of the built system’s processes; designers should also beware of making excessive claims about the sustainability of their designs because ecological design is still in its infancy.

6. How do you judge the success of a building in the green age?

Some of the architects who responded to the questionnaire said that the success of indoor environment, use of low impact materials, self sufficiency and operational sustainability. Others said it is economically, environmentally and socially sustainable, and also being full of beauty and delight, whilst others believe that the success of a building is all about minimal operating energy, and embodied energy, while providing optimal conditions for its occupants. The success of a building is dependent on its overall performance including its utility value, but the beauty and design is an important as its usability and function.

2.4 Data Analysis

As mentioned before, the objective of this study is to design an evaluating tool, which can be used to assess any housing development in term of sustainability. Analysing the data collected from the answers above sorts the following results:

A successful green building is one that integrates seamlessly with the natural systems in the biosphere, with minimal destructive impact on these systems and maximum positive impact.
The buildings that are currently being constructed are not even prototypes for a green age. They are only minor attempts at sustainability and this is an evident that completely new thinking of green architecture is required. Ideally, a building should be designed, constructed and operated in sustainable way.
In fact, most buildings still do not perform completely sustainable because of the way in which they are designed. Using sustainable materials, renewable energy resources, energy efficient appliances and managing the waste is not quite enough to make a building performance sustainable.
There are more and more to do in terms of environmental architecture. Today we have to tackle climate change and global warming, to improve human life and to enhance economic systems. We therefore, need to be answering our sustainability agenda by addressing environmental, social and economic factors in the architectural design to minimise the negative environmental impact of buildings.
In doing this so, we will create sustainable urban environment with sustainable communities. This can be done by creating principles of sustainable design, which can be used as a guide by architects and designers.
New urban developments, at any scale should be designed to help residents create thriving community that draws upon local resources whilst reducing its ecological footprint and environmental impacts.

In conclusion, analysing the data has led to investigate the most appropriate and effective factors that affect buildings performance in the design stage. Some of which may not seem as much important for the first time, but with deep investigation we can find the real impact of each one. Thus, the research aims to define these principles in the following chapters.

Chapter 3
LITERATURE RIVEW

3.1 Introduction

“The construction industry has a significant impact on the environment,” (Boussabaine, A. and Kirkham, R. 2004). Environmental impacts can be classified into two main categories: atmospheric and resources. Atmospheric impact includes the greenhouse effect and ozone layer depletion, whereas resource impact includes contamination of air, water and Earth. The impact of construction on the environment could take place across a wide range of its activities loosely grouped into offsite, onsite and operational activities. “Offsite activities include the mining and manufacturing of materials and components, transport of materials and components, land acquisition, project definition and design. The impact on the environment can be significant in the following areas,” (Uher, T. E. 1999):

Consumption of renewable and non-renewable resources such as minerals, water and timber for building materials and components. This may also lead to the loss of biodiversity.
Pollution of air, water and land from manufacturing and transportation.
Committing land for a new facility may lead to deforestation, loss of agricultural land, expansion of urban areas with associated transport and social problems, more demand for water, electricity and other services, and loss of biodiversity.
Decisions about project goals influence the design, construction and operation of the facility in areas of resource usage, quality of indoor environment, traffic issues, recycling, waste management, maintenance and life of the facility as well as social environment.

In environmental terms, housing accounts for about 27% of UK CO2 emissions through energy use, with all buildings contributing to around 60% in total. “Under Government plans, from 2016 all new homes will be built to a new zero carbon standard, and by 2050 the nation’s entire housing stock will be virtually zero carbon,” (Energy Saving Trust). House building in the UK is a major activity – delivering about 150,000 new houses per year with an enormous impact on human lives in almost every way (http://www.goodhomes.org.uk).

The UK Government believes that there must be a commitment to the common good in house building and reformation for both policies and activities in the context of Building Regulations and that this commitment must look to reduce environmental impact at the same time as enhancing human health, community cohesion, quality of life, and national economics, (DEFRA). Despite all the Government policies and commitments, at present energy use in buildings continues to grow rather than lessen, with potentially devastating consequences for climate change and fossil fuel dependency. The construction sector in the UK is considered as the largest user of material resources of any sector and is also the highest producer of waste. With high-quality design, well-versed practice and authentic commitment there will be a distinguished opportunity for new housing to make a most important contribution to solving these issues. Therefore, new homes must be designed and constructed with human health in mind, carefully planning the financial costs and avoid profound impacts on the environment. To understand the meaning of well-designed and sustainable housing, there are three fundamental subjects that should be searched in detail to identify the principles of sustainable design that can protect and benefit the environment. From this point of view, the followings are the three main pillars of sustainable design:

followings are the three main pillars of sustainable design:

Figure 3.1: The three pillars of sustainable design

3.2 Environmental Issues

Environmental issues can be defined as negative aspects of human activity on the biophysical environment. The significance of environmental issues throughout society has raised its profile. It is also becoming much more recognised as a subject to study in universities and colleges around the world. The most important environmental issues currently taken into account may include climate change, pollution, environmental degradation, and resource depletion. These issues and much more others have concentrated the attention of architects and designers on the environment and they believe that additional action and superior care are required to be taken. Consequently, those involved in housing design are persuaded to respond and find out alternative and improved accommodation solutions, in which development can be undertaken in an environmentally efficient way. The need to provide additional shelters (building more houses) and infrastructure for a growing population will have further impact upon the environment and make a stronger case to search for ways to make the housing design more sustainable.

“The three main environmental problems currently facing the planet are climate change, loss of biological diversity and population,” (Langston C. & Ding G. 2001). Stuart Johnson stated: “Having an appreciation of these fundamental environmental topics is a prerequisite for effective decision making to enhance the environmental performance of our buildings,” (Johnson S. 1993).

3.2.1 Climate change

Environmental scientists define climate change generally as a long-term change in the statistical distribution of weather patterns over periods of time that range from decades to millions of years regardless of cause. Climate change continues to be a subject of intense public and political debate. It may be a change in the average weather conditions or a change in the distribution of weather events with respect to an average, for example, greater or fewer extreme weather events. Climate change may be limited to a specific region, or may occur across the whole Earth. In recent usage, especially in the context of environmental policy, climate change usually refers to changes in modern climate and generally known as global warming.

Global warming

The Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) predicts temperatures will rise between 1·5-5·8°C this century. A 3°C rise in temperature will

melt the Greenland ice sheet. It may take thousands of years to melt completely but if it does, global sea levels will rise by seven metres. According to the IPCC, global sea level is likely to rise by 10-90cm over this century. Low-lying coasts will flood, affecting many human settlements, including some major cities. Some natural habitats will be lost. Many areas will have more extremely hot weather, like the unprecedented European heat wave of 2003 which caused around 30,000 heat-related deaths. The UK is also predicted to see heavier rain falls, with an increased risk of flooding.

Figure 3.2: Global average temperature 1979 – 2011.

Source: Dr Roy Spencer, NASA Scientist, (www.drroyspencer.com)

The greenhouse effect

The natural greenhouse gases effect is to trap heat emitted from the Earth’s surface, keeping the climate system in balance and the temperature about 30oC warmer than it would otherwise be warm enough to support life. The main greenhouse gases that affect the planet are carbon dioxide, methane, nitrous oxide, and water vapour. The amounts of these greenhouse gases in our atmosphere have been increased by human activities especially burning fossil fuels like coal and oil, industrial process, waste disposal and treatment, agricultural, and residential and commercial developments. This is throwing the climate system out of balance and causing global warming. Carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere have increased from about 280 ppm in the mid 18th century – the start of the industrial revolution – to around 379 ppm today.

Figure 3.3: Global anthropogenic greenhouse gas emissions broken down into 8 different sectors for the year 2000. Source: IPCC

There is a danger that if societies do not considerably control emissions this century we will reach a point when, even if we stop all emissions, the Earth will continue to warm. One of the solutions is to reduce all the carbon dioxide emitted from housing sector and this could start form the housing design stage. This method of reducing emissions to the atmosphere is called sustainable housing and is now being carefully considered in the UK, especially by architects and designers who are responsible for all buildings design.

On the other hand, “Carbon dioxide is good for the environment,” (Carlisle J. 2001). in fact, far from being a poisonous gas that will cause destruction on the planet’s ecosystem, carbon dioxide is arguably the Earth’s best friend in that trees, wheat, peanuts, flowers, cotton and numerous other plants significantly benefit from increased levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide. Increased atmospheric carbon dioxide does not just make a plant bigger, but also makes plants more resistant to extreme weather conditions. Another benefit of enhanced atmospheric carbon dioxide is that it helps the tropical rainforests. Consequently, it is very important to keep the climate system in balance with all its greenhouse gases.

3.2.2 Loss of Biological Diversity

Biodiversity is the grade of variation of life forms within a specified ecosystem, biome, or an entire planet. Biodiversity is a measure of the ecosystem health, and this means greater biodiversity implies greater health. Biodiversity is in part a function of climate. Biological diversity or biodiversity is a term we use to describe the variety of life on Earth. It refers to the wide variety of ecosystems and living organisms: animals, plants, their habitats and their genes. Biological diversity can have many interpretations. It is most commonly used to replace the more clearly defined and long established terms ‘species diversity’. Biologists most often define biodiversity as the entirety of genes, species, and ecosystems of a region. This definition has an advantage, which is that it seems to describe most circumstances and presents a unified view of the traditional three levels at which biological variety has been identified:

Species diversity.
Ecosystem diversity.
Genetic diversity.

Biodiversity supports ecosystem services including air quality, climate (e.g. sequestration of CO2), water purification, pollination, and prevention of erosion. Biodiversity’s relevance to human health is becoming an international political issue, as scientific evidence builds on the global health implications of biodiversity loss. This issue is closely linked with the issue of climate change, as many of the anticipated health risks of climate change are associated with changes in biodiversity (e.g. changes in populations and distribution of disease vectors, scarcity of fresh water, impacts on agricultural biodiversity and food resources etc.). Due to human activity the world’s biodiversity continues to diminish at an increasing alarming rate, in Britain alone, over 100 species have been lost since 1900.

While it has been acknowledged at various levels that the target to halt biodiversity loss by 2010 has not been met, setting the target has certainly increased public awareness. Over the past 10 years, both policies addressing biodiversity loss and indicators assessing progress have been improved significantly. Biodiversity policies promote the protection, conservation, and sustainable use of biologically diverse ecosystems and habitats. In doing so, they create significant public benefits and contribute to social well-being. However, the implementation of biodiversity policies will often benefit different groups to a greater or lesser degree. At times, some groups in society lose out under certain policies. For example, in establishing a proper right to facilitate the management of a biodiversity-related resource, people who previously had unrestricted use will be adversely affected.

Figure 3.4: Status of Biodiversity Action Plan priority species and habitats in the UK: 2005 Source: (DEFRA).

Deforestation:

Deforestation is the removal of a forest or stand of trees on a massive scale where the land is thereafter converted to a non-forest use. It is often resulting in damage to the quality of the land. Forests still cover about 30 percent of the world’s land area, but the world’s rain forests could completely vanish in a hundred years at the current rate of deforestation. Examples of deforestation include conversion of forestland to agriculture or urban use. It is one of the primary reasons for global warming.

There are many causes of contemporary deforestation, and forests are cut down for many reasons, but the biggest drivers for deforestation are the corruption of government institutions, the inequitable distribution of wealth and power, population growth and overpopulation, and urbanization. Deforestation causes multiple social and environmental issues. Recently, there has been a growing recognition that immediate and short-term of deforestation jeopardise our lives on Earth. Therefore, it is imperative for us to understand the effects of deforestation on our lives and environment, and utilise the knowledge in with effective solution. First of all, deforestation contributes to an alternation of local and global climate through disruption of natural cycle.

Figure 3.5: The effects of deforestation, disruption of natural cycle.

Source: Lyrfutures08’s Weblog.

There are two types of consequences of deforestation:

Positive Consequences.
Negative Consequences.

For the positive consequences, deforestation has made possible the needs of the social groups. Forests always are in the way for residential houses, buildings and factories. Roads, which are built for trading and easier transport, may have negative impact on forests. Economically deforestation contributed much and made positive changes in the lives of humans.

There are also a lot of negative consequences, such as: exposing soil, flooding, drought, disruption of water cycle, loss of biodiversity, climate change, desertification, increased population, and irreversible environmental changes. So, there is an urgent need to prevent or at least control deforestation. There are some suggestions which should be considered.

Reforestation/Plantation.
Wildlife sanctuaries: not only save the wild animals, but also the woods and trees.
Commercial forestay plantations.
Water management: improper water management causes the deforestation. This should be controlled.
Use recycled items.
Farming practices.
Support conservative organization: support the organization through donation, money, time etc.

In conclusion, there are direct and indirect causes of deforestation. One of the major direct causes of deforestation are logging, is urbanization and construction. Not everyone recognises that construction is one of the primary causes of deforestation. Many experts have put forth convincing arguments that forests are cleared for growing population and raising building developments more than for any other reason. This issue should be kept in mind while selecting a site for new development is required.

3.2.3 Population Growth

Under the UN medium scenario, by the year 2050 human population is assumed to reach nearly 9.2 billion up from nearly 6.7 billion today. This assumption is based on the continued fertility declines that my happen today and in the future. Otherwise, world population could reach 11.9 billion by 2050 if fertility remains constant at today’s rates.

Figure 3.6: UK Population Projections.

Source: ONS (www.thenextwavefutures.wordpress.com)

Population is not the only force applying pressure to the environment and natural resources. As the number of people continues to increase, the environmental challenges humanity faces in this century and beyond will become harder to address. Today, the richest areas in species diversity and the most threatened by human activities are occupied by billions of people, who are increasing at a collective rate of 1.8% annually. Based on this trend, the planet’s major renewable natural resources are strained and the atmosphere has been dramatically altered. It is clear that the 21st century will witness even greater damage to the environment unless urgent solutions to be taken place.

Most academic efforts study the environmental impact of population growth focus on the global scale. More than 98 percent of the world’s population growth is occurring in developing countries. Countries in Europe, along with Russia and Japan, have shrinking populations because births are not keeping pace with deaths. Despite wide recognition of population growth in the UK and its ecological consequences, there is no universally accepted estimate of how many people the nation can accommodate. The number of people the UK can hold is ultimately a question of balancing quality and quantity. It is a choice based on values rather than a formula, but so does the way those people choose to live and how they are governed.

The Office of National Statistics ONS suggests that England will soon become the most crowded place in Europe. Forecasts suggest that the population of the UK will increase by 33 per cent in the next 50 years as it becomes the most crowded country in Europe. It is estimated that 23,000 such rental properties are needed yearly, between 2008 and 2011, to meet minimum housing requirements and bring stability to the housing market, (Brierley, W. 2006). Using a simple calculation, if assumed that the average members of each family is 4 people and according to the ONS suggestion, so the population of the UK will increase by 20,130,000 people (33% ?61,000,000) – the estimate UK population in 2010- then an additional 5,032,500 properties should be built in the next 50 years. This means that 100,650 such new properties are needed yearly. There are many other factors must be taken into account when putting strategies for future housing including; demolish some of the existing old housing stock; major developments that need clean up some existing houses such as Heathrow airport expansion and the 2012 Olympic Village; and the influx of immigrants. James Slack had wrote in October 2007 an article in the Daily Mail news paper said that “At least 95,000 houses to be built every year until 2020 to cope with the record influx of immigrants, an increase of 30% on the latest Government estimate,” (Slack J. 2007).

According to these factors, the UK Government has put a plan to build 3,000,000 properties until 2030. This reflects two things, first one is that the Government has considered the above factors and put a new housing strategy to cope with the needs of new homes in the future, and the second one is the huge responsibility of architects and designers to manage and protect the environment, keep society integrated and cope with the financial crises.

3.2.4 Pollution

Pollution is the introduction of contaminants into a natural environment that causes instability, disorder, harm or discomfort to the ecosystem i.e. physical systems or living organisms. In other words, Pollution is the action of environmental contamination with man-made waste. This includes mainly land, water, and air. Pollution can take various forms including chemical substances or energy, such as noise, heat, or light. Simply, the environment is our physical surroundings. This includes both human (man-made), social and physical (natural) features. Natural features include soil, the atmosphere, vegetation and wildlife. Human features include housing, transport and industry. Social features include things such as culture, language and political systems. Geographers are concerned about human action in the environment. Human interference with the environment causes problems such as soil erosion, global warming and acid rain. You may ask how we as individuals can have less of an impact on the environment. Our actions can help to increase and decrease the problems highlighted above. For example, turning off lights that are not being used helps reducing global warming.

Although pollution had been known to exist since people started using fire thousands of years ago, it had seen the growth of truly global proportions only since the onset of the Industrial Revolution during the 19th century.

Figure 3.7: The industrial revolution pollution.

Source: www.jspivey.wikispace.com

The Industrial Revolution brought with it technological progress especially after the discovery of oil and its practically worldwide use throughout different industries. Technological progress had probably become one of the main causes of serious deterioration of natural resources. At the same time, progress of natural sciences enhances the understanding of negative effects produced by pollution on the environment. Both developed and developing countries face environmental pollution problems. There are three major types of environmental pollution:

Air pollution
Water pollution
Land contamination.

Some of the most important air pollutants are carbon dioxide, carbon monoxide sulphur dioxide, nitrogen dioxide, ozone, volatile organic compounds (VOCs) and airborne particles, with radioactive pollutants probably among the most destructive ones specifically when produced by nuclear explosions. Some water pollutants are: insecticides and herbicides, food processing waste, pollutants from livestock operations, VOCs, heavy metals, chemical waste and others. Some soil pollutants are: hydrocarbons, solvents and heavy metals.

Figure 3.8: Pollution Causes.

Source: ?rtebjerg et al. (2003) www.eea.europa.eu.

Fossil fuels (oil, gas, coal) are the main resources of environmental pollution. Burning of fossil fuels produces enormously high levels of air pollution and is extensively recognized as one of the most important objective areas for reduction and management of environmental pollution. Fossil fuels also considered as one of the sources of land contamination and water pollution. This is clear when oil is transported from production area to further destinations by pipelines, so any oil leak from the pipeline may occur will contaminate soil and subsequently pollutes groundwater. When oil is producing from the ocean or transported by tankers by ocean, an oil spill may occur and pollute ocean water. A very recent example was the oil leaking into the Gulf of Mexico in 2010.

Along with other pollution sources, agriculture is the largest generator of ammonia emissions resulting in air pollution. Agriculture can cause water pollution and land contamination as well through chemicals such as pesticides and fertilizers. Not only that, but trading activities also may be another source of pollution. For example, it is been recently noted that packaging of products sold in supermarkets and other excessive retail outlets generates large quantities of solid waste that ends up either in landfills or municipal incinerators leading to land contamination and air pollution.

The residential sector is a significant source of pollution generating solid community waste that may end up in landfill or incinerators there by leading to land contamination and air pollution. The construction industry is a major generator of pollution, where although construction activities also pollute the soil, the main areas of concern are: air, water and noise pollution, as it is responsible for around 4% of particulate emissions, more water pollution incidents than any other industry, and thousands of noise complaints every year. In spite of that, still there are so many ways to prevent or at least control pollution such as effective construction site practice. The first step is to prepare environmental risk assessments for all construction activities and materials likely to cause pollution. Specific measures can then be taken to mitigate these risks.

The UK Environment Agency and other government bodies are putting increasing pressure on construction companies to reduce pollution and conform to environmental regulations. In the past the pollution fines have been low and environmental regulations slack, and it could have been perceived as cheaper to pollute than to prevent pollution. This situation is now changing, and enforcement of environmental regulations is not only very expensive but can be irreversibly damaging to the reputation of a firm. Measures to reduce and control pollution are relatively inexpensive and cost-effective, and the construction industry needs to incorporate these into an environmental management strategy. By employing these practices, the construction industry is well positioned to clean up its act.

3.3 Sustainability

The word sustainability is derived from the Latin sustinere. Sustainability is a concept which deals with mankind’s impact, through development, on the environment. “Sustainability is not a point we reach, but a journey we take” (Langston C. & Dink G. 2001). Dictionaries provide more than ten meanings for sustain, the main ones being to ‘maintain’, ‘support’, or ‘endure’. Sustainability is about environmental protection, sustained economic growth and social equity. Sustainability does not require a loss in the quality of life, but does require a change in mind-set, a change in values towards less consumptive lifestyle. These changes must embrace global interdependence, environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic viability.

3.3.1 Definition

Sustainability provides a framework under which communities can use resources efficiently, create efficient infrastructures, protect and enhance quality of life, and create new businesses to strengthen their economies. It can help us create healthy communities that can sustain our generation. Sustainability is not a new concept. In fact, it is the latest expression of a long-standing ethic involving people’s relationships with the environment and the current generation’s responsibilities to future generations. For a community to be truly sustainable, it must adopt a threesome approach that considers economic, environmental and cultural resources. Communities must consider these needs in the short term as well as the long term. To find out what sustainability exactly mean, it is important to have a look at several definitions of sustainability as are listed below:

“Sustainable development meets the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.” (United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development).
“The earth belongs to each generation during its course, fully and in its own right, no generation can contract debts greater than may be paid during the course of its own existence.” (Thomas Jefferson, September 6, 1789).
“Sustainability refers to the ability of a society, ecosystem, or any such ongoing system to continue functioning into the indefinite future without being forced into decline through exhaustion of key resources.” (Gilman, R., President of Context Institute).
“Sustainable development focuses on improving the quality of life for all of the Earth’s citizens without increasing the use of natural resources, beyond the capacity of the environment to supply them indefinitely” (Langston, G. A. and Ding, G. K. 2001)
“Sustainability is the emerging doctrine that economic growth and development must take place, and be maintained over time, within the limits set by ecology in the broadest sense – by the interrelations of human beings and their works, the biosphere and the physical and chemical laws that govern it. It follows that environmental protection and economic development are complementary rather than antagonistic processes.” (Ruckelshaus, W. D. “Toward a Sustainable World,” Scientific American, September 1989).
“Sustainability is an economic state where the demands placed upon the environment by people and commerce can be met without reducing the capacity of the environment to provide for future generations. It can also be expressed in the simple terms of an economic golden rule for the restorative economy: Leave the world better than you found it, take no more than you need, try not to harm life or the environment, make amends if you do.” (Hawken, P. “The Ecology of Commerce”, 1993).

Sustainability clearly is a strategy by which communities seek economic development approaches that also benefit the local environment and quality of life. It has become an important guide to many communities that have discovered that traditional approaches to planning and development are creating. Sustainability does not require a loss in the quality of life, but does require a change in mind – set, a change in values toward less consumptive lifestyle. These changes must embrace global interdependence, environmental stewardship, social responsibility and economic viability.

With regard to architectural design, sustainability may mean that housing design will have to look at and learn from the traditional architectural responses to climate of the past.

3.3.2 History of sustainability

The first establishment of a national policy for environmental sustainability came in the US in 1969 with the passage of the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA) whose purpose was to foster and promote the general welfare, to create and maintain conditions under which man and nature can exist in productive harmony and fulfil the social, economic and other requirements of present and future generations, (U.S. EPA), In 1972, the first international conference on the Human Environment was held in Stockholm by the UN. Both the developed and developing countries attended the conference to discuss the right of all humans to a healthy and productive environment. The conference resulted in an action plan with detailed recommendations to national governments on how to influence human impact on the environment. Then the UNEP was developed and located in Nairobi, Kenya. In 1983 the Brundtland Commission was convened by the UN. It is formally known as the World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED). The Brundtland Commission’s work provided the basis for the UN Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) in Rio de Janeiro in June 1992, also known as the Earth Summit, an unprecedented international meeting of delegations from 178 countries and representatives of more than 1,000 NGOs. Its purpose was to develop a global consensus on measures needed to balance development pressures against an increasingly imperilled global environment.

In 1992, a full text of Agenda 21 was revealed as an outcome of the UNCED held in Rio de Janerio, Brazil, where 178 governments voted to adopt the programme. It covers topics on virtually everything regarded important for a sustainable future. A special session of the UN General Assembly (UNGA), the Earth Summit + 5, was held in 1997 to review and appraise the implementation of Agenda 21. The special session of UNGA took stock of how well countries, international organizations, and sectors of civil society have responded to the challenge of the Earth Summit.

In December 1997, a historic agreement was adopted in Kyoto, Japan by more than 150 nations and known as the Kyoto Protocol or the Kyoto Climate Agreement to protect the Earth’s atmosphere and climate. It was opened on 16 March 1998 for signature by parties to UNFCCC, setting targets for industrialised countries to cut their greenhouse gas emissions by 5% below 1990 levels by 2008-2012. In 1992 the Protocol was opened for signature at Rio de Janeiro and entered into force on 16 February 2005 after two conditions have been fulfilled:

It had been ratified by at least 55 countries.
It had been ratified by nations accounting for at least 55% of emissions from what the Treaty calls “Annex 1” countries. See figure 2, 9.

As of November 2009, 187 states have signed and ratified the Protocol. Five years later, exactly in 2002, the Earth summit + 10, was held in Johannesburg, South Africa. It brought together ten of thousand of participants, including heads of State and Government, national delegates and leaders from NGOs, businesses and major groups. The Johannesburg Summit presented an opportunity for the participants to focus the world’s attention and direct action toward meeting difficult challenges, such as: improving people’s lives and conserving the natural resources. The Summit resulted an opportunity for the Leaders to adopt concrete steps and identify quantifiable targets for better implementing Agenda 21.

Signed and ratified

Signed, ratification pending

Signed, ratification declined

No position

Figure 3.9: Kyoto Protocol participation map 2005

Source: Wikimedia Commons.

In December 2009, the environment ministers and officials were met in Copenhagen for the UN climate conference to trace out a successor to the Kyoto Protocol. The Copenhagen conference resulted in a document called the Copenhagen Accord. The positive side of the conference was that the Copenhagen Accord, for the first time, unites the US, China and other major developing and industrialised countries in one effort to control global GHG emissions. On the other hand, the summit did not result in a legally obligatory deal or any commitment to real one in the future.

3.3.3 Sustainability in Practice

Sustainability has become one of the biggest challenges we face in the 21st century, so practicing sustainability is a comprehensive experience for people to learn about sustainability problems and discover some of the solutions. People should explore and get knowledge about shelter, water, waste, energy pollution and biodiversity. Professor Susan Buckingham from Brunel University stated “I will certainly be keen to use sustainability in practice in my teaching on education and sustainable development and feel it is a most useful addition to the literature. It gives higher education institutions, and people working and studying in them, useful strategies for becoming more environmentally sustainable.” (Corrigan N., Sayce S. and Taylor R. 2009)

Sustainability has to be integrated to the education, from compulsory to higher education, as students should now consider the current and future impact of their operational activities on the environment. Education is the key to developing the concept of sustainability among people in order to support a sustainable environment. Each individual must be responsible for his/her own actions and understand how these actions affect the environment. If people are not even aware of issues surrounding the environment, they cannot be expected to take the environmental impact of their behaviour seriously.

The U.K. government proposed that every school should not only teach the importance of respecting the environment, but should also operate a practical working sustainable policy. Sustainability is taught across the national curriculum and can fit into the teaching requirements of any subject. The governments, local authorities, broadcasting companies and the media all have a valuable role to play in the continuing education of the public regarding sustainable issues.

“In 2008, the UK Government published a strategy for sustainable construction which reflected the industry’s commitment to reduce its carbon footprint and consumption of natural resources, whilst maintaining a strong construction. The initiative was within the wider context of concern for global warming and climate change, which has led to UK national targets for reduction in carbon dioxide emissions by 34% from 1990 levels by 2020 and by 80% by 2050.” (Lyons, A. 2010)

However hard the UN, EU and UK Governments push for the implementation of environmentally sustainable policies, the communication and application of information on sustainability cannot occur at any point along the line without the co-operation of environmentally aware individuals. At a global level, sustainability is a complex issue and is difficult to determine accurately for any resources. A firm grounding in environmental issues from an early age will be essential to providing a community of responsible and aware adults, capable of taking the UK and world towards a safer and healthier environment.

Whether in usual life or work, the gap between awareness and action is often the biggest challenge facing governments, organisations and individuals in implementing sustainability. In brief words:

Sustainability boils down to this: do not eat your seed corn.
Sustainability highlights the need to build life systems that can supply the present without compromising the future.
Sustainability is about people, how to foster a robust workforce and strong communities.
Sustainability addresses innovation, how to spark it, nurture it and protect it.
Sustainability can be a lens to focus on values and personal commitment on the built environment and markets.
Sustainability is about natural resources, how to use them, renew them and account for environmental capital.
Sustainability is also about buildings, how to design, construct and operate them to reduce their impact upon the environment.
Sustainability is about built environment, how could be healthier and more productive.
Sustainability can be the power of strong economy.

3.4 Architecture

Architecture is the art and science of design and construction of buildings to cover the human needs of its human such as housing, by using materials and construction appropriate methods. Architecture is both the process and product of planning, designing and constructing form, space and ambience that reflect functional, technical, social, and aesthetic considerations. It requires the creative manipulation and coordination of material, technology, light and shadow. Architecture also encompasses the pragmatic aspects of realizing buildings and structures, including scheduling, cost estimating and construction administration.

The diagram in figure (3.10) shows that effective architecture is about creation a fresh approach provides an all inclusive planning, design, structure, professionals with best practice and good imagination adapted to the individuals needs. The result of that came out as a complete understanding of human functional and non-functional requirements and aspirations, which was a measurement for a successful architecture.

Figure 3.10: Standards of architecture and requirements.

Up to this stage, the operation of success architecture is not completed unless environmental requirements are adopted. Since antiquity, human beings have reacted to the surrounding environment, using their abilities to develop techniques and technologies in such internal psychological balance with nature that humanity historically lived attuned to the environment. “Learning to manipulate clay, stone, marble, and wood, man penetrated their properties, and his techniques gave expression to his aspirations toward the divine. In architecture, environmental harmony was known to the Chinese, the Indians, the Greeks, and others. It produced the temples of Karnack, the great mosques of Islam, and the cathedral of Chartres in France,” (Fathy H. 1994).

Buildings are a major consumer of energy in both their construction and operation and they are a significant cause of the environmental problems. “Architecture needs to be located in an environmental, historical and cultural context. Our environmental context is one of rampant energy consumption, dwelling fossil fuels and global warming,” (Thomas R. & Garnham T. 2007). Through more sustainable design, it will be possible to create an architecture, which contributes more positively to the planet and our lives. In general, this means to control the environmental impact of a building; in particular, its CO2 emissions by adopting a sustainable overall design, which includes site planning, interior design, form, materials, construction, type of structure, building systems, natural resources and operation. Randall Thomas and Trevor Garnham stated in their book The Environment of Architecture “To succeed in developing a new architecture a deeper understanding of science, history and culture than is evident at present will be required.” And they clear “Architecture needs to combine the understanding of the relationship between past and present that literature.” (Thomas, R. and Garnham, T. 2007).

The most important and crucial question to the architects, who deal with the architecture and environmental design is that ‘What is the relationship between architecture and environment in the context of sustainable design?’ Architects are usually taught how to consider the impacts of the environment on their buildings, but now they have to make an enormous effort, while designing their buildings, to respect and protect the environment.

3.4.1 Background

“For over 80 years, UK governments of all persuasions have believed that it is essential to get independent advice on proposals for significant new buildings and spaces. The Royal Fine Art Commission (RFAC), established in 1924, influenced the quality of much of the architecture of the 20th century. Many weak designs stayed on the drawing board as a result of its reviews, and what has been built is better than it would otherwise have been,” CABE 2011). Architecture is an ancient and necessary art, thus the beginnings of architecture are part of prehistory, the period before the development of written language. Therefore, a deep understanding of art, history and culture would help to succeed in developing a new architecture. Architectural design is about the future, but it needs to combine the understanding between the past and present.

“Architecture establishes strategic regarding the design of buildings and their relationship with and impact on the environment,” (Johnson S. 1993). According to the strategies, the UK Government believes that, whenever possible, planning decisions should be made at the local level, so councils have the freedom to make their own planning decisions in the best interest of the local area. This planning system will be described clearly in the chapter of the case study.

3.4.2 Architectural Issues

Architectural issues mean any matter, concern, question, topic, proposition or situation that demands a design response in order for a building project to be successful for its users and surrounded environment. These issues are matters that make difference in architectural design and a concern that requires the designers to take action and make decisions to improve their design in a sustainable way. “In architecture, some of the genetic issues are circulation, safety, territoriality, privacy, image, energy use, flexibility and visibility.” (Duerk D. P. 1993)

There are some facts such as site, climate and code requirements that the architectural design must perform. These facts are not part of the architectural issues, but might be major factors in shaping a design. For example, the visual qualities of the site (facts) may require an image (issues) response and the climate (facts) may require an energy efficiency (issues) response. Another example about the integrated relationship between the architectural issues and facts is that if energy conservation is a required issue in such a design, it is necessary to know the facts of prevailing wind direction and path of the sun. If so, architects and designers must make decisions about day lighting, insulation, ventilation and all aspects that will create solutions that are energy efficient.

Understanding the architectural issues and facts will lead to sustainable architectural solutions, which are concepts or potential solutions to the concerns raised by those issues and facts. All design solutions are physical forms that have the attributes of dimension, direction, transparency, colour, texture and that create size, shape, location, interior and orientation. For example, a roof form of a house building could be a design response of a need for natural day lighting or a requirement for an imposing image.

There are a number of fundamental important architectural issues, facts and solutions that affect the environment both in and around a building which need to be considered in the development of any design and could be known as principles of sustainable design Consequently, these principles will be examined in Chapter (5) and they can be summarised as follows:

Site selecting.
Project design and planning
Orientation.
The building envelope.
The interior design.
Choosing appropriate structure.
Building systems.
The characteristics of materials.
Natural light.
Air tightness and ventilation.
Acoustic.

Chapter 4
ENVIRONMENTAL ASSESSMENTS AND STANDARDS

Homes currently account for 27 per cent of the UK’s carbon emissions, contributing to global climate change. “Buildings account either directly or indirectly for approximately 44% of the UK’s carbon emissions, (27% from homes and 17% from non-domestic building)” (Lyons, A. 2011) The way in which homes have been designed, constructed, lighted, heated and used all contribute to this. Even small improvements to the energy performance and the way we use our homes could have a significant effect on our fuel bills and carbon emissions.

Increasingly, there is requirement for a sustainable homes assessment. The new Building Regulation revisions (part F, J, and L) are introduced on 1st October 2010. Amongst many changes is the next step in the move towards zero carbon developments, with part L Target Emissions Ratings (TERs), moving to approximately 25% less than under previous regulations for both domestic and non-domestic properties. (www.colesknapp.co.uk). The aim of this review to the following standards is to highlight the exits environmental assessment methods in order to find out what else can be done to improve buildings performance. There are a number of environmental assessment tools currently available for monitoring building performance including:

4.1 EPC

Energy Performance Certificate (EPC) has been introduced to help improve the energy efficiency of all buildings – including homes. The certificate records how energy efficient a property is as a building, and provides A-G ratings. They are produced using standard methods and assumptions about energy usage so that the energy efficiency of one building can easily be compared with another building of the same type. This allows prospective buyers, tenants, owners, occupiers and purchasers to see information on the energy efficiency and carbon emissions from their building so they can consider energy efficiency and fuel costs as part of their investment. “An EPC is always accompanied by a recommendation report that lists cost effective and other measures (such as low and zero carbon generating systems) to improve the energy rating.” (www.energysafety.co.uk). A rating is also given showing what could be achieved if all the recommendations were implemented. It gives advice in ways to improve the house’s energy efficiency and environmental impact. The inspection of EPC includes:

Type of construction and its energy impact.
Amount of insulation present.
Windows and doors.
Air tightness and heating and ventilation systems.

Figure 4.1: Sample of EPC

Source: East Energy Services (www.eastenergyservices.co.uk)

4.2 SAP

The Governments Standard Assessment Procedure (SAP) for energy rating of dwellings. SAP was designed to be included in the 1995 Building Regulations. All new-build dwelling must be built to accord with the UK Building Regulations 2000 Parts L1A for new dwellings. This is the procedure which checks and controls this from architects plan and it is now a compulsory component, so every new house has to have a SAP rating. SAP calculations are required for all new dwellings as well as those that have been created as the result of material changes of use involving building work, and extensions over a certain size. “Since April 2008 in England and Wales when a new building is completed and is due to be signed off by Building Control (either as a new build or a conversion) it must have an ‘As Built’ SAP calculation and an ‘As Built’ (sometimes called ‘On Construction’) EPC produced.” (www.cloesknapp.co.uk)

Figure 4.2: Sample of the energy performance certificate.

Source: (http://www.commercialconnections.co.uk/services_thermal.aspx)

The energy balance calculation takes into account arrange of factors that influence energy efficiency. They are:

Materials used for construction of the dwelling.
Thermal insulation characteristics of the dwelling and ventilation equipment.
Efficiency and control of the heating system.
Solar gains through the openings of dwelling.
The fuel and power used to provide space and water heating, ventilation and lighting.
District heating services providing heat and hot water to the dwelling.
Some types of renewable energy systems insulated in or on the dwelling.

The current SAP specification includes the calculation of various indicators of energy performance. They are:

Energy consumption per unit floor area.
Energy cost rating (the SAP rating).
Environmental impact rating (based on CO2 emissions).
Dwelling CO2emission rate (DER), and
Targets CO2 emission rate (TER) to test compliance with building regulations.

Three of the indicators of performance (energy consumption per unit floor area, SAP rating and environmental impact rating) are needed to produce Energy Performance Certificate. The energy cost (the SAP rating) and the environmental impact rating have been mapped on to appear on an Energy Performance Certificate shown in figure (4.2).

4.3 BREEAM

Building Research Establishment Environmental Assessment Method (BREEAM) is the leading and possibly the most widely used environmental assessment method for buildings. It sets the standard for best practice in sustainable design and has become the de facto measure used to describe a building’s environmental performance. By using this method, architects and design team improve their own experience and knowledge of environmental aspects of sustainability and then present their design as much as sustainable to improve the performance of buildings.

The BREEAM assessment process was created in 1990 with the first two versions covering offices and homes. “Versions are updated regularly in line with the UK Building Regulations and different building versions have been created since it is launched to assess various building types.” (UNEP) These versions essentially look at the same broad range of environmental impacts which are:

Management.
Health and wellbeing.
Energy.
Transport.
Water.
Materials.
Waste.
Land use and Ecology.
Pollution.

Figure 4.3: Sample of BREEAM award

Source: (http://www.gbspm.com/?page_id=3)

4.4 CSH

The Code for Sustainable Homes is the newest tool provides a comprehensive measure of the sustainability of new homes. It is a national standard for use in the design and construction of new homes with a view to encouraging continuous improvement in sustainable home building. “It was introduced and became operational in England in April 2007 following extensive consultation with environmental groups and the home building and wider construction industries.” (Communities and Local Government, 2008) A code rating for new build homes became mandatory from 1st May 2008. Also from 1st May 2008, a minimum of Code Level 3 is required for all new housing promoted or supported by the WAG or their sponsored bodies and also for all new build social housing. Since 2nd June 2008 Code Level 3 was required for all new self-contained social housing in Northern Ireland, but the Code does not apply in Scotland.

The Code for sustainable Homes is essentially a way of benchmarking the environmental and sustainable credentials of residential development. Since September 2009, any development of 5 or more dwellings in Wales must achieve Code Level 3 (+6 credits under the ENE1 issues). From 1st September 2010, all applications for any number of dwellings must achieve Code Level 3 (+6 credits under ENE1 issues).

The Code measures the sustainability of a home against nine design categories, rating the whole home as a complete package. The design categories are:

Energy and CO2 emissions.
Water.
Materials.
Surface water run-off.
Waste.
Pollution.
Heat and wellbeing.
Ecology.

Each category includes a number of environmental issues, as shown in the table below, which have a potential impact on the environment. The issues can be assessed against a performance target and awarded one or more credits. The Code uses a sustainability rating system, indicated by stars, to communicate the overall sustainability performance of a home. A home can achieve a sustainability rating from one star (?) to six stars (??????) depending on the extent to which it has achieved Code standards. One star (?) is the entry level – above the level of the Building Regulations; and six stars (??????) is the highest level – reflecting exemplar development in sustainability terms.

CategoriesIssues
Energy and CO2 emissionsDwelling emission rate (M)

Building Fabric

Internal lighting

Drying space

Energy labelled white goods

External lighting

Low or zero carbon (LZC) technologies

Cycle storage

Home officeWaterInternal water use (M)

External water useMaterialsEnvironmental impact of materials (M)

Responsible sourcing of materials – building elements

Responsible sourcing of materials – finishing elementsSurface water run – offManagement of surface water run – off from developments (M) flood riskWasteStorage of non-recyclable waste and recyclable household waste (M)

Construction waste management (M)

CompostingPollutionGlobal warming potential (GWP) of insulants NOx emissionsHealth and DwellingDaylight

Sound insulation

Private space

Lifetime homes (M)ManagementHome user guide

Considerate constructors scheme

Construction site impacts

SecurityEcologyEcological value of site

Ecological enhancement

Protection of ecological features

Change of ecological value of site

Building footprint

(M) Denotes issues with mandatory elements

Figure 4.4: Table of summary of environmental impacts categories and issues

Source: The Code of Sustainable Homes.

The Code for Sustainable Homes has been developed using the Building Research Establishment’s (BRE) Eco-Homes System, which has already achieved success in reducing the impact of affordable housing projects, in particular within the social housing sector. The Code builds upon Eco-Homes in a number of ways, for example:

The Code introduces minimum standards for energy and water efficiency at level of the Code, therefore requiring high levels of sustainability performance in these areas for achievement of a high Code rating;
The Code uses a simpler system of awarding points, with more complex weightings removed;
The Code includes new areas of sustainability design, such as Lifetime Homes and inclusion of composting facilities.

Figure 4.5: Sample of Final Code Certificate.

Source: The Code of Sustainable Homes

Assessment procedures will be transparent and technically rigorous, at the same time straightforward and beneficial to all parties. The method will be similar to or based on BRE’s Eco-Homes System which depends on a network of specially trained and accredited independent assessors. BRE will retrain and accredit assessors for the new Code. Code assessors will conduct initial design stage assessments, recommend a sustainability rating, and issue an interim Code certificate. The final Code certificate of compliance will be issued after a post completion check to verify the rating has taken place. A design stage assessment will only need to be carried out on each home type within any development – not every single home.

The assessment process should proceed in a logical order through the environmental impact categories and issues, summarised in figure bellow.

It should being with a check that the four mandatory issues for which no credits are awarded have been achieved.
The mandatory credits for CO2 emissions and for internal water use should be checked and confirmed at the minimum values required to meet the Code level sought
The remaining tradable credits should be checked and confirmed so that they too contribute to the required Code level.
Total percentage points score

(equal to or greater than)Code Levels36 PointsLevel 1 (?)48 PointsLevel 2 (??)57 PointsLevel 3 (???)68 PointsLevel 4 (????)84 PointsLevel 5 (?????)90 PointsLevel 6 (??????)

Figure 4.6: Summarises the process of arriving at a total percentage points score and converting that to a Code level.

Source: The Code of Sustainable Homes.

Chapter 5
SUSTAINABLE DESIGN

5.1 Introduction

What is sustainable design and how can be implementedThis is a pressing question that all architects and designers must inescapably confront today. By the end of this chapter we will have the appropriate answer to this vital question. The result will be a creation of principles of sustainable design, which can be used by architects as an assessment method to their design. Sustainable design is one of the modern trends in architectural thinking, which focuses on the relationship between buildings and the environment. There are many concepts and definitions developed in this context. Ken Yeang, a Malaysian architect and writer best known for developing environmental design solutions, believes that sustainable architecture must meet the needs of the present without losing the right of next generations to meet their needs as well. According to William Reed, a specialist in green architecture, green building, which is designed sustainably, is only a building that designed, implemented and managed in manner, which puts the environment in mind. He also thought that one of the concerns of green buildings is to reduce the impact of buildings on the environment as well as reduce its cost.

A good building design, in particular housing design, is crucial in delivering sustainable life, which means good design should contribute positively to making places better for people by improving public health, easing transport problems and increasing property values. In addition, design quality should be taken seriously to demonstrate benefit to society, environment and promoting excellence in profession. Sustainable design creates solutions that solve the economic, social, and environmental challenges of the project simultaneously, and these solutions are powered by sustainable energies. “The combined beauty and function of the design make it something that endures and is cherished; endurance and beauty are central to sustainable thinking. Sustainable design fundamentally seeks to reduce negative impacts on the environment, and the health and comfort of building occupants, so improving building performance.” (Williams D. E. 2007). The basic objectives of sustainability are to reduce consumption of non-renewable resources, minimize waste, and create healthy, productive environments. The key to sustainable design is to create principles of home design as a package of features that work optimally together to provide sustainable homes.

5.2 Background

The world began to recognise the close link between economic development and the environment, so specialists have alerted that the traditional forms of economic have been developed over exploitation of natural resources and at the same time cause a big strain on the environment as a result of what is produced of contaminant and harmful residues.

In the last decades, most of countries have paid more attention to the environmental protection and sustainable development after specialists called to reduce the environmental impacts caused by various human activities and called for reducing waste and pollutants and the preservation of natural resources for next generations. As a result, the construction sector is no longer in isolation from the pressing of environmental issues that began to threaten the world. On the one hand, construction sector is a major consumer of natural resources such as; land, water and energy. On the other hand, building operations and construction industry result in large amount of noise, pollution and solid waste, but the waste of energy and water still been considered as a main environmental and economic problem that facing the globe.

For these reasons, and as a result of growing public awareness about the environmental impacts associated with construction activities, many specialists have noted that the big challenge facing construction sector at this time is in its ability to fulfil its obligations and perform its development role towards the achievement of a comprehensive concepts of sustainable development. Moreover, others who concern about environment added that the environmental management in construction projects will be one of the most important competitive standards in the twenty-first century. Consequently, industrial countries developed new concepts and methods in the design and construction, which are not familiar with before such as; sustainable design, green architecture, and sustainable buildings.

Those concepts all of which reflected the growing interest of construction sector in urban economic development issues integral with the protection of environment, reducing energy consumption, optimal utilisation of natural resources and more reliance on renewable energy resources. Sustainable design, green architecture, sustainable construction and sustainable building, all these are new concepts and methods of design and construction conjures environmental and economic challenges. New buildings, which are designed, constructed and operated through developed methods and technologies contribute to reducing environmental impacts and at the same time lead to lower costs, in particular operating and maintenance costs (Running Costs). They also contribute in providing a safe and comfortable physical environment. Thus, the motivation that adopt the concept of sustainability in the urban sector do not differ from the motives that led to the emergence and adoption of sustainable development concepts with its integrated three dimensions; environment, economy, and society.

5.3 Advantages of SD

Sustainable design has a number of advantages:

Improved comfort and healthy: an energy efficient building envelope reduces temperature fluctuations.
Reliability: homes can be sustainably designed to continue functioning even during blackouts.
Security and improve finance: a home that produces energy protects its owner from fluctuations in energy prices.
Improve social relations: creating sustainable communities can enhance relationships.
Environmental sustainability: sustainable homes save energy and reduce construction and operation waste and pollution.

The fourth point is the main subject has been searched in this study as the world is currently facing an environmental crisis. Therefore, anyone interested in zero carbon homes and sustainable housing design has the potential significantly reduce greenhouse gas emissions across the globe. In the last 20 years, the concept of sustainable design has come to the forefront and there was an improved thinking that design comes before technology and renewable technology alone cannot solve the problems we face. This concept recognizes that human civilization is part of nature that must be preserved and perpetuated. To achieve sustainable design, architects and designers should focus on five core areas; a compact shape, continuous insulation and elimination of thermal breaks, passive solar gain, and air circulation with heat recovery and air leak prevention. This idea could be clarified by sustainable design through the development of principles of sustainable design and promoting their application in our daily lives.

5.4 Principles of SD

The enthusiasm today to the green architecture and sustainable buildings has assets associated with the energy crisis in the seventies. At that time, architects began to think and wonder about the wisdom of creating buildings formed as boxes, structured by steel, surrounded by glass and require enormous and expensive heating and cooling systems. Thus, enthusiasm architects proposed architecture with more energy efficiency. Some of these progressive thinkers architects such as; William McDonough, Bruce Bean and Robert Fox of the USA, Thomas Herzog of Germany, and Norman Foster and Richard Rogers of Britain have begun to search and develop architectural design, which focused on long-term environmental impacts during the construction, operation and maintenance phase of buildings and that what is known now the sustainable design. To ensure a good performance of a building, the following principles shown in figure (5.15), which are the result of this study, should be examined during the planning and design stage. Architects have to consider these principles as a guide to achieve sustainable design.

All the assessment procedures that have been investigated in Chapter (4) are introduced to help assessing building performance after being built and operated. Consequently, it is difficult to solve all problems and design mistakes that might be found in order to improve the building performance and then reduce the negative impacts on the environment. These procedures might help in some ways but not always, as it is difficult to change or improve some aspects of the project development such as; site, structure, project planning and units design. Therefore, it is important to find principles for sustainable design that can be used by architects and designers as a premier assessment for their design and planning of any development.

5.4.1 Site Selection

Choosing a land as a site proposal for any development is one of the most important challenges facing those who are in responsibility of housing development. Site investigation made concurrent with the formulation of programme objectives ensures the flexibility of the

site’s potential and the integration of its natural and cultural features with the design. “To develop the best possible site for accommodating project objectives, a programme must be carefully prepared. Because the programmes develop from specific needs, these needs determine the overall objectives.” (Rubenstein H. M. 1996)

Figure 5.1: Practicing site planning.

On large projects such as housing development, site selection may require a detailed feasibility analysis of potential sites. All those who contribute to integrated design of housing development must take into consideration the features, facilities and characteristics of the proposal site from the viewpoint of society, economy and environment. “A site’s context is a function of many different physical, biological and cultural attributes,” (LaGro, J. A. 2001). These include adjacent land uses, access to public infrastructure, access to near communities, cost of land and construction, biodiversity (animals and plants), microclimate and ecological patterns and process. Site planning and design needs to be implemented within a biophysical and social context to accommodate human needs and aspiration.

Figure 5.2: Sun path diagram.

Source: (Neufert E. 2000

Sustainable site design requires holistic, ecologically based strategies to create projects that do not alter or impair, but instead help repair and restore existing site systems. Site systems such as plant and animal communities, soils, and hydrology must be respected as patterns and processes of the living world. Location is the most important criteria in selecting a site, but what are the factors that make one location more valuable than otherSome of the more substantial factors are listed below:

Site context: looking outward to the site context will help to understand and evaluate the sit requirements that may highlight its impacts on the environment and society.
Natural landscape: development should be integrated to the native landscape of the site to provide connection to adjacent habitats.
Protection of biodiversity: sustaining site design will protect local plants and animals communities.
Solar access: it is crucial to consider the solar access when choosing a site as solar energy is vital a component of sustainable homes.
Amenities: does the site have the following amenities; privacy, woods, lake, ocean or river frontage etc.
Utilities and services: availability of utilities such as water, electricity, telephone, gas, cable TV, can be an important factor in the cost of housing development.
Microclimates: Climate can vary dramatically from one location to another within a state, a region, and even a neighbourhood. Some microclimates may be suitable for self-sufficiency; others may make it difficult to live on renewable energy.
Drainage: good drainage is important to prevent moisture problems in the future, which is becoming a major issue of concern as it can seep into walls through the foundation and that will increase construction costs.
Soil: stable subsoil minimise the risk of foundation and walls cracks. So, it is important to be sure that the site selected is in an area with stable subsoil.
Building resources: land can provide many building materials such as clay, wood and stones. Any site provides material can be used in housing construction will reduce the energy required to build a house.

Prior to make a final decision about the proposal site it is essential to contact a thorough survey to ascertain whether the site characteristics suit the development concept. Therefore, a visit to the proposal site for a detailed study is very important for the designer preliminary to any planning. “The reality of a site is often quite different from the impression given by drawings supplied. This can particularly true in relation to scale and the three dimensional nature of the site,” (Illingworth J. R. 2000).

5.4.2 Project Design

Housing project design deals with the process and outcomes of the project. The project design should focus on affordable housing, regeneration, housing quality, issues cost and sustainability of environments. Project design requires creating a programme, which means to study elements and components of the project. Project design first requires meeting, combination, analysing information and planning with enough objectivity and detail to support a programme design that makes best use of resources to achieve desired results.

Then programme is the first step that an architect or a designer should make to gather and analyse all of the information necessary to create project design. The programme differs according to the project type and its components depending on the quality of the project and its purpose. For example, the programme components of industrial project consist of workshops for manufacturing, maintenance and processing, storage, parking area, management offices, restaurant and toilets. While a programme elements of housing project consist of residential places, living and dining rooms, bedrooms, kitchen and bathroom etc. Thus, the quality of the project and its purpose has a direct impact on the formulation of its components and elements, which imposes certain requirements that architects should study carefully and work hard bearing in mind trying to achieve the best relationship among those elements and components.

There are a lot of factors affect the project design that must considered carefully before the beginning of any development. Some of which are related to the designers and owners, whilst others deal with the building regulations, policies and site characteristics. The project design has many operational processes for designing high-quality development project that respond to those factors, which are shown in figure (5.3). Much of the success of project design is based upon ability to control every factor.

Figure 5.3: Factors impact the project design.

5.4.3 Orientation

Orientation refers to the location of a house and direction to which a house points. The orientation of the house plays an important part in ensuring such a passive works. “The correct orientation of a house can make a significant difference to the liveability and the energy costs associated with heating and cooling,” (www.cidnetwork.net). The ideal house orientation is that the main long axis of the building runs east – west as shown in the diagram below. “The East-West orientation can be moved as much as 20o without ill effect, but the most glass on the house must be facing towards the sun,” (www.ecowho.com). When deciding house orientation, the location of landscape features should be taken into account such as trees and walls, which impact on how the sun is harnessed and to avoid the shadow, so houses should ideally positioned as far as possible from these features. The exact amount of heat a house gets from the sun depends on the season, time of day, weather, local climate and rate of air pollution. Orientation is crucial for determining the amount of sun a house receives, because the direction and height of the sun in high Northern latitudes like Britain changes dramatically throughout the year.

Figure 5.4: House orientation

Source: www.ecowho.com.

“Essentially, economic considerations led architects and building developers to seek alternatives to the conventional fossil fuel sources of energy. Today, equal emphasis is placed on the ecological necessary for change. By means of energy conscious construction, the energy requirements of living accommodation can be reduced by 50% in comparison to older buildings,” (Neufert E. 2000). The objective of studying orientation is to organise the house plan in a way to ensure desirable sunshine conditions for the various types of living spaces and this is one of the alternative ways that architects may consider when put their design. In cold and temperate climates, long rectangular buildings, with their longer walls facing the winter sun are excellent solutions in terms of energy efficiency as shown in first diagram in figure (5.5). “Well oriented home, with a proper shape and properly placed windows can cut your energy bills by 30 percent or more,” (www.house-energy.com).

If there is a compulsory orientation to the East or West for a house, architects have to rearrange the house components zones and distribute them in different ways taking into account maximum winter solar gains and unwanted summer sun. Therefore, the most used areas of the house should be located on the winter side of the house, where sunlight can enter through conveniently located windows, high clerestories windows, or skylights. Other rooms and divisions, which used less and need less sun should be located on the home’s east/west and shorter sides, where they can act as an extra thermal buffer, as shown in the second and third diagram in figure (5.5).

Despite the importance of the sun, there are other factors may impact the house orientation. Those factors are; the natural beauty features such as woods, lake, ocean, and river frontage, avoid noise, achieve privacy and have clear street access. In this case, architects may take advantage of views or consider other factors, but still they must find solutions to make most of the sun for warmth and natural light, for example; increasing the size of north-facing windows, swapping rooms around and using skylights, conservatries and glass doors as architectural solutions. Predominate orientation of the winds is also crucial in the house energy needs. The prevailing winds and their patterns should be studied in order to use windbreaks and walls to direct breezes into the house or to channel cool winter winds away from it. Achieving the ideal orientation is about striking a balance between sun and these other factors.

Figure 5.5: The best orientation of the house components zones to the South, West and East.

5.4.4Interior design

The most appropriate definition of interior design is “Interior design is a multi-faceted profession in which creative and technical solutions are applied within a structure to achieve a built interior environment that solves the customer’s problems and links space to business strategies and goals.” (Mazarella, F. 2010) Green or sustainable interior design is a relatively new field in interior designing. Interior design is a term that is thrown around often when building a new space or just filling up a pre-existing one. “A building cannot be green on the outside without being green on the interior,” (Upton B. V. 2006).

Interior design incorporates a little bit from a lot of disciplines, including building regulations, floor plans and colour matching. So, interior designing can be defined as it is the field of arranging and designing both the interiors and/or exteriors of an area. Interior design is more than visual or ambient enhancement of the interior space. It seeks to optimise and harmonise the uses to which the built environment will be put. The point of interior design is to create a beautiful space that is practical, aesthetically pleasing, and harmonious with the surroundings. “Interior design is often described as a hybrid discipline, overlapping with other spatial or subject related practices.” (Brooker G. & Stone S. 2010)

Interior design has many things to be considered such as materials, furniture, colours, texture, fixtures, placement of items and building systems. The way these items been used has a huge impact on the environment. There are many things that interior designers are doing to be more sustainable and lower the impact on the environment. Interior designers have an important responsibility in the adoption of environmental ways of living.

In as much as the envelope of a building may enable the building to reduce the use of resources through insulation and renewable technologies, also they can affect direct behavioural change, and compliment the aspirations of a building’s architectural ambitions. Beautiful eco interiors can reflect your environmental aspirations whilst creating spaces that reduce their use of resources such as gas, water and electricity, make the most of sustainable materials, and encourage the use of recycled materials and recycling.

Interior design has five main elements: colour, texture, line, form and space. These elements should work together and complement each other to strengthen the whole composition. It is necessary for the interior designer to think of the house as a totality, in other words a series of spaces linked together by halls and stairways. It is therefore appropriate that a common style and theme runs throughout.

5.4.5Building systems

Building systems are all about how to improve the environment in and around buildings to provide better health, comfort, security and productivity. Building systems are interacting or interdependent components that comprise a building such as structural, roofing, side wall, plumbing, HVAC, water, sanitary sewer and electrical systems, figure (5.6) below shows some of the internal elements of built environment. Studying building systems might help to gain a deeper understanding of the physical performance of built environment choices and their implications for energy use, health, conservation, productivity and climate change. “In theory, it is entirely possible to design and construct a building made of totally independent components. The separate pieces of such a building could be designed in isolation, each part having an autonomous role to play.” (Bachman, L. R. 2003) In fact, architects prone to take exactly the opposite approach by considering ideas about the complete and constructed building and then working through integrated relationship between all the elements and function.

“One of the main objects of building design is to ensure the provision of continuous comfort for occupants in spite of adverse and variable external condition.” (Burberry P. 1997)

“HVAC can be considered one of the most important services in modern buildings. The major contribution of HVAC systems to the mankind is the fine control to arrive at a comfortable indoor environment for people to work and live.” (So A. T. & Chan W. L. 1999) “Buildings are enclosed environments with air distribution systems intended to make life habitable for the occupants.” (Kowalski W. J. 2003)

One of other building systems is type of houses in a housing development, which might have significant impact on the indoor and outdoor environment. Architects and planners always have to make a decision about types of houses considering healthy indoor environment, numbers of houses required, the cost of a house building and the maximum benefit from the outdoor environment. “Tactical decisions at the beginning of a project can have an impact for the life of the building. For example, properly sitting the building on the land is essential to the overall project and can reduce impact to the site and costs later in the project. In addition, placement of the building will affect decisions involving matters such as lighting, landscaping and access.” (Statz S., 2011)

Figure 5.6: Elements of building system

There are four main types of houses in the UK. There are the detached, the semi-detached, terraced and flat. Choosing any of these types in planning and designing a housing development has to consider many aspects. For example, a detached house, is a single standing property that does not share any walls with any other structure, is usually more private due to the isolation of the property and generally more expansive than any other type of house, as it has more flexibility in design options and can be situated on the plot to have excellent orientation and get more benefit from the sun and the surrounding area.

5.4.6Structure

Like the human body, a house has a skeleton that gives it support, shape, and a framework for outer coverings. Architects must know the basis of structural systems to enable them to choose the right one for their architectural design. Zunde and Bougdah believed that the choice of structural system is part of the integrated design process and affects a number of aspects of the building being designed. Apart from the structural performance itself, such aspects include: space planning, form and shape, other materials for the fabric, cost as well as environmental performance. They also stated: “Architects and architectural technologies are not expected to be experts in structural engineering, but it is essential part of their equipment that they should understand the principles involved in selecting and using the components to be assembled into a structure.” (Zunde J. and Bougdah H. 2006)

Structure is one of the important parts of sustainable house design that could have positive or negative impacts on the environment. Consideration of environmental issues in the structure of housing project has economic, ecological and social implications. It must be put in an overall context and undertaken in an objective and rational way. “A building’s impact on its surroundings depends on its position, shape, structure, materials and energy needs,” (Muller D. and Favet N. 2002).

Materials used in building structure such as: bricks, blocks, steel, concrete and timber, perform a variety of roles. In the UK, timber has been used as a structural material as long as man has built shelter. Most houses built since the 1920s were made of wooden beams, floor joists, wall studs, roof rafters, and related components, see figure (5.7) below. The increased use of timber in buildings structure in European countries is an important part of the governments’ effort to reduce the greenhouse gas emissions because of its environmental credentials. In this approach, these countries have managed the forests in a sustainable manner:

Felling is kept below new growth level
Future supply safeguarded by maintaining capacity for growth
Biodiversity considerations are taken into account.

Timber has been increasingly used in the building sector because it has a number of advantages as follows:

It is renewable resource, which when properly managed, would contribute to the reduction of carbon emissions.
The production of timber – based products that used in building sector needs less energy compared to other building materials.
Structural timber used in large sections has good fire resistance, easily worked and strongly joined.
Timber has a high strength to weight ratio.
Timber has a good appearance and a warm feel because of its low thermal conductivity.

Figure 5.7: Main parts of house structure

Source: World House Info (www.worldhouseinfo.com)

5.4.7Building Envelope

The building envelope is the physical separator between the interior and the exterior environments of a building. A key purpose of building envelope is to enclose the interior of a building and protect it from the exterior elements such as rain, wind and snow. “A building envelope includes all the components that make up the shell or skin of the building,” (www.wisegeek.com). The building envelope has four basic functions:

Adding structural support.
Controlling moisture and humidity.
Regulating temperature.
Controlling air pressure change.

“Although most see the building envelope merely as a barrier against moisture, but it is also a key element of energy efficiency, primarily affecting heating and cooling.” (Eric J. & Seaverson P. E. 2008) Many things lead to energy looses through the building envelop, such as air leak, wet insulation and thermal bridging. Unlike air leaks, which are a direct source of cold exterior air, thermal bridging through the building envelop also can increase the load on mechanical systems. Common paths of air leaks include around and through windows and doors, through gaps at transitions between walls and floor or roof levels, through transitions in cladding, and through structural wall penetrations.

One or more of the aspects of a building performance can be optimised, such as conventional weather protection, thermal insulation, day lighting, ventilation and energy consumption, if a building envelope applies technology in an innovative way. The building envelope systems have become one of the most important aspects considered by designers, especially with respect to weather control performance. It also plays an important role in determining how effectively the building can utilize natural lighting, ventilation, and heating and cooling resources. A good building envelope design should be the result of a systematic approach, checking all relevant elements. A new approach would include all the aesthetic and physical properties to be fulfilled by that envelope, integrated with the function of the building as a whole. Therefore, the building envelope has a very important function in terms of building energy performance. The control function is at the core of good performance, and in practice focuses, in order of importance, on rain control, air control, heat control, and vapour control.

5.4.8 Materials

Environmental concern is being translated into action particularly by the formulation of environmental policies. “Such policies usually stipulate that building materials are to be specified in an environmentally aware manner, both for the maintenance of existing property and the construction of new schemes.” (Johnson S. 1993). Buildings should be soundly detailed using durable materials and be as flexible as possible in order to maximise their useful life. “The trend towards increasingly energy-conscious design has resulted in a greater focus on energy-saving, materials, and components.” (Lyons A., 2010)

In our life, building materials are one of the basic needs of life along with food, water and air.

“The term “materials” refers to all the physical substances that are assembled to create the interior and exterior of a building.” (Crisman P. 2010) The way these materials are selected to be used in building construction has a significant effect on the environment and human health. “Anyone involved in a responsible role in building needs a very broad understanding of a wide variety of materials, their potential and efficiencies in use.” (Ward-Harvey K. 2009) Therefore, architects and designers are responsible choosing materials that fulfil certain ecological criteria in term of environmental conservation. There are national and international material standards in terms of strength, safety and durability etc. However, standards and criteria for materials selection relating to its environmental impact are more important for incorporation into an ecological sustainable design.

Building materials include any material either natural or man-made, which is used for a construction purpose. They affect the environment in different ways. Some affect the external environment such as when hardwoods are used for construction and sites are cleaned for development, whereas, others affect the environment within the building. Therefore, finding an ecological building materials become essential concern of architects and designers. Ecological building materials are those that comply with most of the criteria which are listed below. The responsibility of architects and designers is to choose a material that provides the best balance between those criteria.

Clean: Non-polluting materials which cause a minimum damage to the earth’s ecosystems in terms of global warming, ozone depletion, acid rain and ground and water pollution. Architects need to be aware which building materials produce quantities of toxic gases either directly as brick making and cement production or indirectly through high energy processes and materials produce ground contamination and degradation of the earth’s skin.
Healthy: Materials caused different type of pollution and hazards to the humans, as humankind is part of the environment and should be protected from hazardous materials. Construction materials may either be toxic or healthy, or perhaps some of each. The building industry changes and grows rapidly and constantly looks for ways to build more cheaply and without some of the common drawbacks. For instance, OSB, an engineered wood product, has become very popular for many reasons. One of them is that it is more predictable and much less expensive than solid wood, but the wood chips glued together to make this board are using formaldehyde based adhesive, which is a known human carcinogen.
Renewable: Materials that are the products of living organisms that use energy directly or indirectly from the sun, and are made up from components that are continuously recycled in the biosphere. Renewable materials not only consume less energy in their preparation, but also are less problematic to dispose of at the end of their useful life. They are substances derived from a living tree, plant, animal or ecosystem which has less the ability to regenerate itself. In summary, renewable materials:
O Will not be depleted if managed properly.
O May have reduced net emissions of CO2 across their life cycle compared to materials from fossil fuels.
O Result in biodegradable waste.
Natural: Many of these materials are available throughout the world, so the costs and pollution associated with the transportation of these materials across the country falls. Using natural materials also reduce toxins in the home. As a bonus, many of these methods are energy efficient, inexpensive and easy to build with little construction knowledge, such as rock, bamboo, cordwood.

Figure 5.8: Bamboo House

Source: Home Design Decorating.

Locally obtained: Vernacular building materials are an ecological choice for architects to avoid the cost of materials transport. In addition, this will give each locality a unique style.
Durable: A low maintenance materials that should be last for several decades such as concrete, steel and aluminium.

Understanding the provenance of building materials, including their environmental impact, characteristics and quality is an essential criterion of sustainable design. “Good design is an integral part of the use of ecological building materials.” (Harland E. 1993). The waste of construction materials and the demolition waste if sustainably managed might be a fundamental source of such materials that could be reused in building construction. “Construction and demolition waste management takes advantage of opportunities for source reduction, materials reuse, and waste recycling.” (Kibert C. J. 2008).

5.4.9 Natural Light

“And God said, ‘let there be light,’ and there was light. God saw that the light was good, and He separated the light from the darkness.” (Bible, Genesis, 1, 2-3). “Light, daylight and artificial light, is the visible band of electromagnetic relation between ultra – violet and infra – red.” (Neufert, 2000) There is an inextricable link between architecture and light. Le Corbusier, a very famous French architect in the twentieth century, said that ‘Architecture is the masterly, correct and magnificent play of masses brought together in light.’ He also said, “The history of architecture is the history of struggle for light,” (Baker N. & Steemers K. 2002). Daylight is the primary source of illumination and architects must consider it from two basic perspectives that of art and science. Consequently, they have to understand how to get benefit from natural light such as improve life-cycle cost, increase user productivity, reduce emissions and reduce operating costs. However, day lighting is the controlled admission of natural light into a space through windows to reduce or eliminate the usage of artificial light. The development of artificial lighting in the last century meant that designers did not consider the natural light so much in their projects design. However, the environmental concern, economic crises and financial costs associated with artificial lighting have led to a renewed interest in the use of daylight in sustainable design.

“In large measure, the art and science of proper day lighting design is not so much how to provide enough daylight to an occupied space, but how to do so without any undesirable side effects. It involves more than just adding windows or skylights to a space. It is the careful balancing of heat gain and loss, glare control, and variations in daylight availability. For example, successful day lighting designs will invariably pay close attention to the use of shading devices to reduce glare and excess contrast in the workspace. Additionally, window size and spacing, glass selection, the reflectance of interior finishes and the location of any interior partitions must all be evaluated.” (Gregg, D. 2008)

The illumination of a clouded sky is taken as the basis of evaluating daylight in internal areas, and is measured by the daylight factor D. This is the ratio of the internal illumination (Ei) to the prevailing external illumination (Ea), where (D = Ei/Ea ? 100%). “The daylight factor remains constant. The illumination of an internal are varies only in proportion to the external illumination prevailing at the time.” (Neufert, E. 2000)

For instance, in figure 5, 10 above the daylight factor at a point P is influenced by many factors as D = (DH + DV + DR) ? t ? k1 ? k2 ? k3, where DH is the component of light from the sky, DV is the effect due to neighbouring buildings, DR is the contribution from internal reflection, and the following reduction factors are taken into consideration: t, the light transmission factor for the glass, k1, the scatter effects due to the construction of the window; k2, the scatter effects due to the type of glazing; k3, the scatter effects of the angle of incidence of the daylight.

Figure 5.9: Daylight and internal area illumination at point P

For instance, in figure 5, 10 above the daylight factor at a point P is influenced by many factors as D = (DH + DV + DR) ? t ? k1 ? k2 ? k3, where DH is the component of light from the sky, DV is the effect due to neighbouring buildings, DR is the contribution from internal reflection, and the following reduction factors are taken into consideration: t, the light transmission factor for the glass, k1, the scatter effects due to the construction of the window; k2, the scatter effects due to the type of glazing; k3, the scatter effects of the angle of incidence of the daylight.

The type, size and position of windows essentially determine daylight factor D in the internal area and how far the light penetrate into the core of the room. For instance, Windows facing the direction of the sun (south in the northern hemisphere) will receive more daylight than those facing in the opposite direction. Tall windows will push the daylight factor contours back into a room while wide windows give a better distribution across the width of a room but do not let the light penetrate to the back. In this sense, large window areas allow more daylight into a space, but they may also allow excessive heat gains or losses which increase the air-conditioning cooling or heating load, and the energy consumption.

One of quantitative and qualitative aspects of sustainable housing design is the good attention of daylight. Designers must make sure the combination of natural and artificial light sources provides adequate light level for the required task. However, light in architecture is not of singular concern that can be isolated from other design concerns, but relates to a rich integrated web of interdependent aesthetic and functional criteria.

It is not just the art, but understanding the science of light can be better instilled in the sustainable design process. “An investigation of the roles of light through history reveals both the power and beauty of light in architecture.” (Baker N. And Steemers K. 2002) In conclusion, designers have to understand a number of lighting design standards during the design process such as:

Using roof windows can bring daylight deep into the living space as shown in figure 5, 12.
Increase the boundary daylight zones to maximise usable day lighting area.
Increase room brightness and decrease window brightness.
Using slope ceilings to direct more light into a space, as it increases the surface brightness of the ceiling further into a space.
Good orientation of a building can benefit much more from daylight.

Figure 5.10: Using roof windows affect daylight

Source: Google images

5.4.10 Ventilation

A brief overview to the history of architecture would show that almost all historical buildings were ventilated naturally. With the beginning of twentieth century and the development of industry sector, there was more prevailing approach of using mechanical ventilation. However, with the increased awareness of the cost and environmental impacts of energy use in the last decades, architects and designers increasingly attracted to use natural ventilation method to reduce energy use and cost and to provide acceptable indoor environmental quality and maintaining a healthy, comfortable, and productive indoor climate. “In favourable climates and buildings types, natural ventilation can be used as an alternative to air-conditioning plants, saving 10%-30% of total energy consumption.” (Waker A. 2010). Although, natural ventilation can be used as a system to save energy, but still could be one of the problems facing architects in terms of heat loss in houses. “Ventilation can account for up to 25% of heat loss in typical house.” (Sustainable Housing design Guide for Scotland, 2011).

Ventilation is required to supply fresh for breathing, create a pleasant atmosphere, and remove pollutants and excess moisture to reduce

the risk of consideration and to take away a surplus of heat. In spite of all these advantages, natural ventilation may cause negative effects such as heat loss. In addition, the wind as a main source of natural ventilation may cause damage to the building in several ways.

Figure 5.11: Region of positive and negative pressures around a building.

Source: Neufert, E. 2000

Physically, the dynamic force of the wind encounters a facade of a building will convert into a positive or pushing pressure on that facade. Meanwhile, some of the wind is deflected over and around the building, whereas negative forces will be created at the roof and wall edges as the air flow is accelerated away from the building.

Moreover, vortex – a rotating spiral wind – may be created when the air flowing down the windward building facade reaches the ground and deflected upwards the oncoming wind. As a result, a positive pressure wind forces on one side of a building and negative pressure forces on other sides is helping for natural ventilation.

Some design features might make a building more susceptible to wind damage. So, architects and designers must consider these features including: low pitch roof, lightweight structure, elements protruding above the roof line. Figure (5.12) shows that cladding elements tend to be pulled away from a facade and a flat roof will be lifted off, whilst a pitched roof will stay in place, but still the angle of the pitched roof has to be physically well considered by designers.

Figure 5.12: The flow and forces over 5o and 30o pitched roof.

Source: Neufert, E. 2000

To find out how much air would be needed, a ventilation rate should be measured according to the number of people in the space and size of the spaces. Although, indoor air quality has always been a concern for architects, natural ventilation still considered as part of low energy design strategies.

5.4.11 Acoustic

Noise is unwanted sound causing noise pollution, which has become a part of urban life and industrial centres in this century. Noise pollution may come from loudspeakers, factories, moving trains, aeroplanes construction activity or even a radio. Low energy buildings have tight constructions which not only reduce the energy consumption, but also reduce the noise from traffic and other sources that would otherwise penetrate into the building. “Noise is one of major if not most serious of atmospheric pollutions. The main sources of noise in the environment are: Road vehicles and traffic; Airports and aircrafts; Road works and building construction; Industry, especially heavy industry; Railways and ships. Of the sources listed the worst in the sense of the most widespread and most persistent is traffic noise,” (Reekie, R. F. 1972).

Part E of the building regulations ‘Resistance to the passage of sound’ supplies legislations to improve acoustics and privacy between residential dwellings. Therefore, all residential properties must provide a good level of acoustic insulation between dwellings. This means that sound insulation testing is mandatory throughout all developments. The objective of this pre completion test is to raise the standard of sound insulation in all dwellings.

The pre completion test means that the development needs to be almost complete when the sound insulation test taking place. This means doors; windows and trickle vents should be fitted, as well as power on site.

There are two types of sound test; airborne, which is carried out on walls and floors separating dwellings; and impact, which is carried out on floors separating dwellings. The table in figure (5.13) shown below, summarise the required decibel standards of performance for compliance.

The most effective source of noise is the traffic noise, which has a top priority consideration to be reduced. The reduction of traffic noise depends on many factors such as; site selection, site planning and the features used to block the sound waves as shown in figure (5.14) below. “The sound level of road traffic can be reduced by ?25 dB (A) after passing through a noise shielding wall. (with a reduction of 10 dB (A), the sound seems half as loud.” (Neufert E. 2000). The shielding effect is depending on wall material and on its height.

Element of Construction
internal walls that include a door are exempt from this requirement.Airborne sound
insulation (site test result) minimum value DnT,w+Ctr dBImpact sound
insulation (site test result) maximum value L’nT,w dBAirborne sound
insulation (lab test result) minimum value Rw dB
Separating walls between dwellings.45 Min


Separating walls between rooms used for residential purposes.43 Min


Separating walls between rooms created by a change of use.43 Min


Separating floors between dwellings and rooms used for residential purposes.43 Min

62 Max


Separating floors between rooms created by a change of use.43 Min

64 Max


An internal wall or floor between a bathroom/W.C. and a habitable room. Also between bedrooms and between bedrooms and any other room in the dwelling. 40 Min

Figure 5.13: Summarise the required decibel standards of performance for compliance.

Source: (Thermal and Acoustic Solutions Ltd)

Figure 5.14: Noise insulation methods on a main road.

5.5 The Key Findings

As mentioned before, the objective of this study is to arrive at principles of sustainable design in which can be used as a guide enables architects and designers to evaluate and assess their designs. The principles that have been created and investigated in this Chapter have led to design an evaluating tool, figure (5.16) that should be used in early stage of the development process to assess housing development in terms of sustainable environment. These principles are the result of influenced relationship of the three pillars of sustainable design, which have been identified and investigated in Chapter (3). They are put in order according to the design steps, see figure (5.15).

Figure 5.15: Principles of Sustainable Design.

The first step in any development is choosing a site that meets the project requirements. The second step is to put the layout of the project that meets the client requirements and also taking into account the environmental, social and economic requirements. The most important issue architects have to think about it firstly is the orientation of the whole project and then the orientation of each unit individually. This will have a significant effect on the next step, the interior design. With the fact of sustainability, three most important building features must be studied carefully. In order to come up with the right decision, architects must have a basic knowledge about building systems, building structure and building envelope. The third and most important pillar is the environment. The responsibility of architects is how to protect the environment and how to get benefit from the environmental issues; materials, natural light, natural ventilation and acoustic.

The design assessment table below have been designed in terms of the above principles to be used as assessment tool of a development design as well as an individual building design.

Project Name
Location
Unit to Be AssessedDate
Generic Design Criteria

Rates of Sustainability

1 = 20%

2 = 40%

3 = 60%

4 = 80%

5 = 100%

Site Selection

Project Design

Orientation

Interior Design

Building Systems

Structure

Building Envelope

Materials

Natural Light

Ventilation

Acoustic

Total of Rates
Result
Design Sustainability

V. Poor

Poor

Good

V. Good

Excellent

Figure 5.16: The Assessment Table of Sustainable Design.

The table of assessment above was simply designed to allow architects support their design sustainably before starting the construction phase. A project or a building design should achieve at least level 3 to be acceptable in terms of sustainability. With achievement less than level 3, designers must reconsider the design especially the design criteria that has got poor evaluation.

Assessors must have efficient information and understanding about the sustainable design criteria. They should know how these principles work together and how they integrated to the sustainable design. The first step of the assessment is to have a look at the design programme. This gives the assessor an impression on the project requirements and the first concept of the development design made by the design team. A visit to the proposal site is vital to gain information about the nature of the site such as; topography, biodiversity, orientation etc. The following step is to investigate design criteria one by one as they are listed in the diagram of principles of sustainable design shown in figure (5.15) above.

The final step is to evaluate and assess the project using the table for design assessment shown in figure (5.16) above. A final report should be written by the assessor showing the result of assessment with significant recommendations determining the vulnerable aspects of the design that should be reconsidered by the designers.

Chapter 6
CASE STUDIES

In addition to use them as a research method, the following case studies are involved in this study to be examined by the principles of sustainable design resulted and created in Chapter (5). Case studies have been considered as another source of data for this study. The aim of investigating the following cases is to collect information and analysing them in such a way that the reader should come up with a proposed solutions against the development problems.

6.1 Coed Darcy / Wales

Coed Darcy Urban Village is a proposed development and regeneration of the former Bp Oil Llandarcy Refinery near Neath, West Wales of 4000 homes and community facilities phased and being built over the next 20 years at a cost of some ? 1.2 billion. Project sponsors include BP, The Prince’s Foundation for the Built Environment, Neath Port Talbot County Borough Council and Welsh Assembly Government (WAG).

6.1.1 Background

Coed Darcy development 1,043 acre site is located near J43 of the M4, between Swansea and Neath, on what was the old Bp Oil Refinery at Llandarcy, which was constructed between 1918 and 1922 and was the first refinery in the UK.

Coed Darcy project is one of Europe’s largest brown field redevelopment sites and is the biggest regeneration project of its kind in Wales. The former Bp refinery site closure was announced in 1997 and In 1999 The Welsh Development Agency invited The Prince’s Foundation to give advice on the creation of a new urban village. In 2008, St. Modwen Properties PLC purchased the former Bp refinery.

Figure 6.1: The site of Coed Darcy

Source: St. Modwen Properties PLC

Figure 6.2: The former Bp Refinery

Source: St. Modwen Properties PLC.

With the site remediation and reclamation phase, a specialist remediation consultant has been appointed and a construction manager with engineering background has been dedicated to manage the project. All of the site process plant and tank farm storage have been decommissioned and demolished. The Reservoir in the North site remains for cooling water and site drainage. With all these demolition works, no removal of foundations and underground pipes has occurred, (St. Modwen Properties PLC). According to the report presented in October 2007 by St. Modwen Properties PLC, the remediation and reclamation works resulted; 800,000 tonnes of hydrocarbon contaminated materials; 1 million tonnes of metal contaminated materials; 750 miles of pipeline and cables to be removed; 10 miles of offsite pipes to be removed; 15 million tonnes of earthwork; 16 miles of roads; and 80 million gallons of water from the North site reservoir to be drained. All these works can take up to 7 years to be completed and 20 years needed for the buildings and infrastructure to be constructed.

6.1.2 Planning the Project

In addition to the 4000 houses, the development includes open spaces, integrated land use pattern, full range of services, four new schools and health and community facilities. The project is based on The Prince’s Foundation’s principles of walkable mixed use communities with a village centre at the core of the development. A series of four smaller local centres will connect the existing Llandarcy village and Skewen. The connections are supported by a public transport interchange and local rail halt, which will improve access to Llandarcy and Skewen. The project has been divided into several phases to be implemented over 20 years, so the plan and design of the first phase will be investigated in this research.

Figure 6.3: Master Plan of Phase 1 Area

Source: Robert Adam Architects

The area of phase 1 is divided into six character areas as shown in figure (6.4) to reflect design precedents and establish a strong sense of place and local identity and link the street

Llandarcy Village Road,

Middle Street,

The Lanes,

South Street,

The Crescent and Cliff Side Green,

North Street and North Street Green

Figure 6.4: Character Areas 1-6

Source: Robert Adam Architects

Area 1 will be predominantly residential with one commercial space and a total of 195 residences comprise of 137 houses (2-5 Bed); 51 apartments (1-2 Bed) and 7 apartments over garage (1-2 Bed). A ground level retail unit is included on the junction of Middle Street and South Street with an area of 558 ft2.

6.1.3 Project Analysis and Assessment

In the following, the project features will be analysed and assessed according to the principles of sustainable design been created and investigated in chapter (5):

Visiting the site gave panoramic views of the project location and a quick look at the site topography indicates changes in level from east to west by circa 10 meters across the site and rises in northerly direction by some 18 meters.
This character of the site emphasises the form and variety of the areas created by the master plan layout. The problem of the slopping nature of the site has been carefully solved by forming an extensive retaining wall to the east of the site to terrace the existing slope for construction of the new units. In addition, slopping ground was occupied by lanes, smaller units and apartments, whilst the level ground and open space was enclosed by houses. This approach will reduce the amount of earth to be removed, but on the other hand, it will increase the expenditure of the project. In addition, stepped routes are made to provide pedestrian links through the site emphasising

the natural rise and fall across the site.

Figure 6.5: Retaining walls and stepped routes.

The site selection has both advantages and disadvantages. For the advantages, the site was occupied by Bp for a long time, so developing a new residential project will not affect the biodiversity in the area and there are no trees to be removed. On the other hand, the natural site features (soil, water, air) are contaminated and should be carefully treated.
The Coed Darcy consists of new infrastructure to the whole of the site. This means additional cost to implement and could interfere with old infrastructure and building foundations already existing on-site.
The way in which Area 1 has been planned produces that circa one third of the total residential units have been orientated to the North and North-West. This means less benefit from the sun heat and natural daylight. Furthermore, the size of the double glazing windows has not been considered according to the house orientation as shown in figure (6.6), which reflects the need to use artificial light all the day.

Figure 6.6: Size of windows that used in some buildings and the effect of daylight

A cross section through the site master plan shows that buildings can benefit from the slopped area and also the distance between buildings will increase the natural ventilation. The pitch roofs are designed at an angle between 30o and 45o, which helps to create positive ventilation and fixed the roof tiles against strong winds, see figure (6.8) below.
Figure 6.7: Site section from North to South

Source: Robert Adam Architects

Figure 6.8: Pitch roof slope

The units are predominantly timber framed construction and have a facing brick and stonework finish to them. These are more sustainable traditional local materials can be used in building construction and the sources for them are available in the local area. Using different types of materials in the houses facade, different type of houses produced visual impact on the occupiers and visitors and also indicated different styles of houses, which gives people an opportunity to choose the likeable and suitable property, as shown in figure (6.9).

Figure 6.9: Different styles of houses and different materials.

The unit design has not consider the best orientation of the spaces, which expected to be taken into account in such project like this one, as we can see the same design used in houses oriented to the south has been used in houses oriented to the west and east.
Building systems have been used in sustainable way to increase energy efficiency of houses includes; high insulation value timber frame construction; class 1 chimney and fire place burning wood waste; high insulation value building envelope; timber floor with softwood renewable sources; high insulted ground floor raised to allow natural ventilation of subsoil; gas central heating; double glazing windows; cast metal gutter and slate roof.

Figure 6.10: Double glazing windows are used in the houses

Using the assessment table of sustainable design determines the strength and weakness of Coed Darcy development. See figure (6.11) below:

Project NameCoed Darcy Development
Location Former Bp Oil Llandarcy Refinery, near Neath, Wales
Unit to Be Assessed The Master PlanDate 20/04/2011
Generic Design Criteria

Rates of Sustainability

1 = 20%

2 = 40%

3 = 60%

4 = 80%

5 = 100%

Site Selection

X

Project Design

X

Orientation

X

Interior Design

X

Building Systems

X

Structure

X

Building Envelope

X

Materials

X

Natural Light

X

Ventilation

X

Acoustic

X

Total of Rates2 * 40 = 807 * 60 = 4202 * 80 = 160
Result80 + 420 + 160 = 660 * 100 = 66000 ? 1100 = 60 %
Design Sustainability

V. Poor

Poor

Good

V. Good

Excellent

X

Figure 6.11: Table of Assessment (Coed Darcy Development).

The assessment has been done according to the analysis of the project design. The table indicates that the design has seven criteria achieved level 3; two criteria achieved level 2 and two with level 4. The total result was 6600 out of 1100, which is equal to 60% and this is good, but the two poor criteria should be reconsidered. Although, seven criteria have reached level 3, an additional effort should be done to improve them.

6.2 Greenwatt Way / England

Scottish and Southern Energy (SSE) decided to build its own development of 10 zero carbon homes on the former site of SSE office in Chalvey, Slough, as shown in figure (6.12) below.

Figure 6.12: Greenwatt Way development layout.

Source: Inside Housing, (www.insidehousing.co.uk)

6.2.1 Background

A total of 10 dwellings have been constructed since the autumn of 2010. The development consists of 10 homes (two one bed flats, a terrace of two bed houses, a terrace of three bed houses and two three bed detached houses). Different building techniques have been used. Four homes have been built using lightweight timber frame and the rest of homes from more traditional masonry construction. As a result of these measures the homes are expected to have a very limited heating demand (80% less than homes built to 2006 Building Regulation standards). The roofs of the homes and flats will be covered with solar PV tiles (63 kWp in total), which provides enough renewable electricity to achieve net zero carbon emissions in each of the homes irrespective of the heat source. Greenwatt Way will also provide a number of key amenities to enable residents to live a more sustainable lifestyle, free electricity from solar PV, bicycle storage, Private patios and a shared garden with no public access, and fruit trees and raised beds for growing vegetables.

6.2.2 Project Analysis and Assessment

The development has been built to the zero carbon standards. Therefore, it should achieve most of the principles of sustainable design. The design itself is imaginative, flexible and functional. It creates excitement. It is fit for purpose. It takes full advantage of its location.

Four homes were built using a lightweight timber frame (manufactured offsite) and the rest of the homes from more traditional masonry construction. This means, using different building techniques with high standard of fabric performance in order to achieve a heat loss parameter (HLP) of 0.8 W/m2K, which was a mandatory requirement for code level 6.
One of the first considerations in designing the new development is to consider the orientation of each property. The way this project was planned, it was not possible to achieve purely south facing housing. Homes were oriented with east and west facing facade, which is highly challenging orientation and should have spacing design solutions.

Figure 6.13: Interior design

Source: (www.ssezerocarbonhomes.com).

Therefore, the designer tried different types of interior design as shown below; in addition, an open design system was adopted in the living and kitchen spaces to gain more natural daylight and natural ventilation.

Figure 6.14: Different style of interior design

Source: (www.ssezerocarbonhomes.com).

Choosing appropriate building envelop system includes; high level of insulation, good air tightness and minimal cold bridges ensure heat loss during the winter is minimised.

Figure 6.15: Insulation System.

Source: (www.green.sustainablehomes.co.uk).

To achieve water usage requirements for this scheme, recycling and reuse systems are used clearly, as waste water from the shower and bath is collected and reused for WC flushing. Heat from waste water is used to heat fresh air.
High performance triple glazed windows with draught resistant seals allow larger openings and better daylight. High level roof light uses stack effect for good purge ventilation.
The ten houses use a combination of five different types of energy generation. These include solar thermal, roof mounted photovoltaic panels along the entire south facing roof, air source heat pumps, ground source heat pumps and a biomass boiler.
All of the homes have been built using traditional cavity wall and rendered block work except four homes which were erected using a prefabrication timber panel system.

Project NameGreenwatt Way Development
LocationSlough – England
Unit to Be AssessedThe Project DesignDate 22/04/2011
Generic Design Criteria

Rates of Sustainability

1 = 20%

2 = 40%

3 = 60%

4 = 80%

5 = 100%

Site Selection

X

Project Design

X

Orientation

X

Interior Design

X

Building Systems

X

Structure

X

Building Envelope

X

Materials

X

Natural Light

X

Ventilation

X

Acoustic

X

Total of Rates5 * 60 = 3006 * 80 = 480
Result300 + 480 = 780 * 100 = 78000 ? 1100 = 70.9 %
Design Sustainability

Very Poor

Poor

Good

Very Good

Excellent

X

Figure 6.16: Table of assessment (Greenwatt Way Development)

The assessment table indicates that 5 criteria have achieved level 3 and 6 criteria with level 4. This is a very good achievement of a new housing development design. This means no more improvement can be done in this stage, but, the design criteria with level 3 achievements must be investigated and improved for future developments.

6.3 Comparison between Two Projects

Coed Darcy is one of the largest residential development in Europe consists of 4000 homes, while Greenwatt Way development consists of ten homes.
Greenwatt Way is one phase development to be built in one year. Coed Darcy development is phased and being built over the next 20 years. In this case, designers should take into account the future developments in building aspects and technologies.
Greenwatt Way was designed as one community. The ten homes are sharing services, outdoor facilities and green spaces. This will enhance the social relationship, which is hardly reached in large projects.
Greenwatt Way project would be benefited the infrastructure already existed in the Area, whereas a new infrastructure net should be built in such development like Coed Darcy.
Greenwatt Way project used the latest construction methods and energy technologies available to deliver zero carbon housing. In addition, the project included a look at issues that are potentially of interest to the building sector, such as ventilation, air quality, renewable resource system, noise and the environmental tolerance of a zero carbon home to the real people living in it. In contrast, the Coed Darcy project needs reconsideration of some aspects to achieve sustainability ratio.

Chapter 7
CONCLUSION, RESULTS AND RECOMMENDATIONS

This chapter emphasizes a brief review of the research summarized as a conclusion of the study to enable readers come up to full understanding of the research results. These findings assist to meet the main objectives of the study listed in Chapter (2).It contains concluding remarks to the structure of the study following by a list of results, ending with recommendations proposed by the researcher in order to go further in the way of improving and developing the research in the future.

7.1 Conclusion

Can well-designed, sustainable housing benefit the environmentThis is a vital question needs a crucial answer. If the answer is ‘Yes’, then the most important is how this can be done. Quick review to the research helps to clarify the results that would answer the questions to meet the objectives of the study.

Tough climate change targets mean that CO2 emissions from the UK’s housing stock must reduce by at least 80% by 2050 and all new dwellings will need to be zero carbon from 2016.

The rapid growth of the world’s population is one of the figures highlights the need for more housing developments. The scientific development in the techniques of architecture urges steps reform the human understanding of nature. The interaction between humans, architecture and the environment is a major demonstration of human civilization. Researches were done and books were written to cope with the trend of environmental architecture. Environmental architecture, intelligent buildings, green architecture and eco homes are new approaches recently been considered in terms of sustainability in society, economy and environment.

In addition to information gained from relevant researches and books, a research questionnaire was made to arrive at the latest findings and opinions of professionals in this area. This information investigated to meet the principal objectives of this research, which is establishing underpinning principles that can be used in the design of sustainable architecture. The qualitative research method, explained in Chapter (2), has been used to collect information in order to understand the interrelationship between architecture and environment. The evaluation activities undertaken were questionnaire to a nominal focus group. The target group were responsible for the building design that can play a fundamental role in contributing to the delivery of quality to building performance.

The literature review in chapter (3) reveals a distressing gap between architecture and environment, whilst a mutual relationship is strictly required. Defining the relationship between architecture and environment can be challenging because of their impact on each other. From one side, architects always tried to find such ways to protect buildings from the environment, on the other side, environmental scientists tried hard to reduce negative effects of buildings on the environment. Because of these challenges, evaluating and assuring quality and sustainability in housing developments become a critical issue. Despite the amount of scientific knowledge architects have gathered, environmental issues still holds great mysteries that they may never be able to unravel.

However, environmental architecture aims to create a new harmonious relationship between architecture and environment by exploring what it means to design with nature in mind. Furthermore, the relationship between architecture and environment is seen as an interactive and dynamic process where each impacts the other. From this point of view, the core concept of sustainable design is that presenting harmony between buildings and surrounding environment using it for human needs while respecting its importance.

Chapter (4) focused on a number of environmental assessment tools currently adopted and implemented by governments, local authorities and organisations to monitor buildings performance. These tools include EPC, BREEAM, SAP and CSH. The measurement of environmental performance and sustainability in the built environment is one of the most important issues. The investigation outlined a representative sample of the major tools and other initiatives that encourage improved performance in this field and describes the common features of assessment tools. These codes and standards are designed to work with some or all parts of a building. The relationship between architecture and environment is complex and the tools, standards and guidance are usually focused on parts of this network. Therefore, this study aimed to find factors that influence the sustainable design. These integrated factors would work together as a guide of building assessment during the design stage of a development.

Finding and results of Chapter (4) led to search for appropriate principles of sustainable design in Chapter (5). The research reveals 11 principal factors would be considered as ‘sustainable design criteria’ to be assessed during the design stage. And so, a table for design assessment was designed to simplify the evaluation method and come up with the final decision of sustainability ratio of a development design.

To examine the design assessment method created in Chapter (5), two new developments were experienced to find out how sustainable they are. The first one was Coed Darcy Development in Wales and the second was Greenwatt Way Development in England. Reasons of choosing these two developments were explained in Chapter (6) and assessing them reflects the importance of creating principles of sustainable design.

7.2 Research Results

Studying architectural engineering, practicing buildings design and building construction especially residential buildings and eventually, studying environmental conservation and management, which presents the opportunity to produce this research, extract the following results:

Architecture is a craft as old as human existence on this earth. The ancient civilizations attempted to adapt and live in the surrounding environment.
Environment was always the focus of human attention over centuries, but in different levels because it was always sustaining their life and gaving them the main sources in order to live comfortably and efficiently.
Sustainability will become more commonplace as the cost implementing sustainable processes decreases with added experience over time. This will likely derive building companies as well as individuals that would otherwise not consider sustainable design to consider it in the future.
Human activities have negative effects upon environment and most effectively building homes to live in.
Buildings contribute to around 60% of UK CO2 emissions, in which housing account of about 27%. Housing impact the environment in several aspects. The most important is depletion of natural resources and pollution resulting from housing construction and operation. Therefore, it was normal for humans to deeply think about the devastation and destruction of environment.
It is very important to consider not only energy efficiency in building design and construction, but more importantly, planning a design programme, managing natural resource, implementing structural techniques, minimising the waste in materials, water and energy should be a key goal.
Architecture, environment and sustainability are the primary pillars of sustainable design. Studying the interrelationship between these three pillars was a common core of the research underpinned the investigation to meet the objectives stated earlier.
A fully understanding of sustainability in terms of environment, society and economy, reflected that sustainable housing design refers to design a house building that respects its environment; uses less energy and natural resources; healthy and comfortable for its users; good integrated with its community and is also cost effective. As this is a broad subject to be investigated in a master thesis, the research only focused on environmental aspect. Therefore, the aimed principles for sustainable design that created according to this aspect are: site selection; project design; orientation; interior design; building systems; structure; building envelop; materials, natural light; ventilation and acoustic. Architect Glenn Murcutt, when he characterised sustainable design as responding to the environment, claimed “Follow the sun, observe the wind, watch the flow of water, use simple materials, and touch the earth lightly.”
With the growing awareness of the negative impact of the exploitation of nature, governments and organisations are more and more supporting sustainable housing design that are in tune with nature’s plan. Under the UK Government Plans, from 2016 all new homes will be built to a new zero carbon standards, and by 2050 the nation’s entire housing stock will be virtually zero carbon. It is not hyperbole to say that the better design of new houses would result in about 50% of reduction in their energy consumption and this would significantly contribute to environmental impact and climate change mitigation. The design of buildings is complex processes in which decisions are taken during the design stage that critically affect the building performance.
Although, most developments consume more resources that they create, projects that are designed with sustainable ideals will benefit the environment. Therefore, housing design that encompasses assessment and architectural issues that address sustainability goals is likely to be able to demonstrate significant contribution global resource efficiency. From this point of view, the research clearly answered the vital question early stated at the beginning of the study. Furthermore, the research produced proposed principles of sustainable design that would assess housing design in earlier stages.

7.3 Recommendations

This research has been taken place to derive appropriate answer to the main question that identified the principal objectives of the study. Consequently, to deliver an opinion of how sustainable design of housing development would reduce impacts upon environment. Many relevant aspects have been considered throughout the research and the key findings were stated as principles of sustainable design. Accordingly, numbers of recommendations were suggested to overcome deficiencies in data and information necessary to develop the research in further studies or by others interested in similar challenges.

Following the investigation of the whole topic in this study, it appears that this is a broad subject to be covered in an MSc dissertation, and could be considered as a PhD thesis with deep investigation taking into account sustainable society and economy as well as the environment. Therefore, it is recommended that further studies might be taken place in the near future to improve and develop more principles for sustainable design in terms of environment, economy and society.
It is recommended that the housing development team should consider these principles during the design stage. In addition, developing an acceptable policy that manages the assessment process designed in this study is required by local authorities to persuade designers review and evaluate their design before being put in practice.
Any further design criteria might be added should be focus on more direct impact upon environment and this should be presented in the table of assessment during the design phase.

If new principles are implemented, a deep investigation of how these new principles affect the design of sustainable housing should be taken place.
Finally, sustainable houses are a gift that we give to our children and the coming generation who have a right to fresh air and water and a healthy living systems. This earth is theirs tomorrow and it is our duty to hand it over in perfect shape.

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How Skyscrapers affect the environment

Introduction

This document examines how the design and construction of Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings effects the environment that these large buildings are situated in, and the environment as a whole, and considers how architects can help meet the energy consumption guidelines that have been set as a benchmark to all Architects to help reduce the consumption of energy produced by fossils fuels, and reduce the waste of other non renewable resources, with improved environmental considerations in this building typology.

In the world today, you cannot go through a single day without reading or hearing about climate change, be it on the news, in the papers or merely in general everyday conversation, and with the climate of our planet becoming an ever more pressing issue, the British government passed a bill called the Climate Change Act 2008, which set a target in 2050 for carbon emissions, which is that the U.K’s carbon emissions should be 80% of the level of what it was in 1990, (Climate Change Act,2008). Buildings alone account for at least 40 percent of primary energy consumed in the U.K (B.R.E, 1978), and it is perceived by many, that building greener will have one of the largest effects on lowering carbon emissions.

From the beginning it should be pointed out that Skyscrapers are one the most un-ecological building classifications, a vast amount of energy is used in the construction of Skyscrapers, and an even greater amount of energy is consumed so in the ordinary running of a typical Skyscraper.

A skyscraper is generally hard to define, in the Oxford Dictionary it is merely defined as ‘a tall building with many storeys’ but in Architectural terms, It is a building perhaps inspired by the height it reaches, and a building that pulls together all of mankind’s technological breakthrough to reach these knew unknown heights in the construction industry. Skyscrapers could never have came into existence without the creation of the modern electric lift, the steel beam, flush toilets and large pieces of glazing to name but just a few constructional innovations this building typology relies on.

Sustainability is a pressing issue in today’s society, with the amount of attainable fossil fuels and other raw materials starting to become increasingly lower, society as a whole must find alternative solutions, and this can ultimately begin with architects.

Sustainability is the practice of meeting the needs of today, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their needs (Bonenberger,2002) and is defined by the dictionary as being ‘Capable of being continued with minimal long-term effect on the environment’.

Architects design the world that we live in, and can therefore help shape the way we live, and help incorporate sustainable systems of living into all parts of everyday life, at home or the workplace for example, if Architects can design with sustainable living in mind, the concept can make a positive impact in our world.

Large plants, such as cranes, diggers and dumper trucks are all used continuously in the construction of such buildings, producing a large amount of carbon emissions, whilst the materials used in the construction are also transported to the site, sometimes coming from other parts of the world, meaning that even before the completion of the Skyscraper, the building could already have a large carbon footprint. The heating and cooling, basic services and the use of lights in Skyscrapers are what form the main energy consumption in the everyday running of a Skyscraper, and as it requires an immense amount of energy to pump these services and materials to the higher floors of the buildings because of gravity.

Most Skyscrapers built in the 20th century were not designed with thermal performance in mind with often no form of natural ventilation being found in their designs, meaning the buildings are continuously heated in the winter, and then in the summer continuously cooled by having air conditioning systems constantly running to make sure that the building is bearable to all who work there.

Architects have already begun designing Skyscrapers with sustainable blueprints; Wind turbines, solar panels, combined heat and power systems and rainwater reuse are just a few of the ideas that have already been incorporated into the construction of Skyscrapers, and more advance steps are constantly being. To make any real impact on the environment all of the elements attributed to the construction and running of a Skyscraper have to be studied and analysed and eventually changed if we are to create Skyscrapers that are ecologically conscious, if not totally eco-friendly.

Technology however isn’t the whole answer, as Architects we must not be of this persuassion; we should not be tricked into thinking that technology can solve our approach to Ecological design. Ecodesign must consist of a balance, an equilibrium between technology and nature, and for a Skyscraper this will mean creating buildings, to give just one example, as well as being orientated to maximise solar gain are also designed in such a way that the constructions orientation also maximises natural ventilation.

Ecodesign means that environmental aspects should be considered at all stages of the design, consumption of materials used in a building, emissions of pollution from the building and waste production of the construction and the building are three key areas that will ultimately have to be tackled.

Saving and preserving the environment is the main issue that today’s society faces, and although no one group of people can help the cause on their own, I believe no one else can play more of a significant role than architects.

As Architects we also have to begin to understand that changing the way we design and construct buildings (to be more eco-friendly) can not reduce the carbon footprint and the impact on our environment alone, the only way we can truly deliver greener, and cleaner buildings for the environment would be to also change our lifestyles within the building.

1. Background

1.1 Aims

To ascertain whether we can continue to build a high-rise building as we do today and achieve what would be considered an environmentally friendly result or whether changes have to be made and if so, and if possible, where.

1.2 Objectives

1. To examine current construction methods, design and running of modern Skyscrapers to understand what impacts on the environment they make.

2. To discover how renewable energy/ energy saving measure are already currently incorporated into Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings.

3. To determine what changes need to be made to build and create Skyscrapers and high-rise buildings that are more environmentally conscious and ultimately environmentally friendly.

1.3 Methodology

1. To achieve my first and third objectives I intend to research the relevant topics by reading books, journals, government publications and reliable websites, including those of current projects.

2. To achieve my second objective I intend to visit some appropriate case studies in London – The Strata Building for a case study of a new skyscraper that has taken some measures to make itself environmentally conscious – and One Canada Square for an example of a modern skyscraper that doesn’t have any environmental design, to see wherein its problems lie. The case studies will be undertaken by the visit to the site itself and further correspondence via letter, email or telephone will also be conducted.

1.4 Key Definitions

Definition of ‘Sustainable’

In this context of this document ‘sustainable’ is used in the sense of: – ‘capable of being sustained’ meaning that there is little or no long term effect on the environment. (Dictionary.com, 20111)

Definition of ‘renewable energy’

Renewable energy is ‘Any naturally occurring theoretically inexhaustible source of energy, as biomass, solar, wind, tidal, wave and hydro-electric power, that is not derived from fossil or nuclear fuel.’ (Dictionary.com, 200112)

Definition of ‘Eco-design’

In reference to a building ‘Eco Design’ is a building, which has been designed with the environment in mind, and has undertaken significant measures to reduce its impact on the environment with specific attention paid to areas such as consumption of materials during construction, and the emission that the buildings produce.

Definition of ‘bioclimatic’

Bioclimatic refers to the consideration of the relationship between the climate and living organisms. (Dictionary.com, 20113)

2. The Problems With The Construction & Design Of Today’s Common ‘Box’ Skyscraper.

Since the early Twentieth Century Skyscrapers have been built, since the mid twentieth century they have been built in different corners of the planet, but they no matter where, they more often then not have been built without any real concern or thought given to the environment that it is situated in, or the environment as a whole itself. At the time there was no need to think ecologically in design or construction of the skyscraper, the client simply wanted a design that would give them the most profit, maximum floor space to rent out, whilst the architects most important aim was perhaps creating an impressive feat of art with the design of the building, to make it eye catching to all around, a symbol of their work, something they could easily be recognised for.

Now the world as a whole has the future of life, as we know it today, constantly at the forefront of their lives, a change has to be made as we begin to run close to the limits of our natural resources. Skyscrapers require mass amounts of materials and energy to build to such heights; therefore the impacts on the environment need to be a pressing issue from the outset when in the concept stage of design, before the construction process even begins.

Due to forces that effect Skyscrapers, there could ultimately never be one set design for Architects to follow on constructing a eco-friendly building, forces like dead loads (the weight of the fixed structure of the building) and live loads (the loads placed on the structure by its environment, people and furniture inside) could never be accounted for in the design stage to similar levels because of the varying environment in which every skyscraper is situated, no one environment will ever be the same and for the that reason, there can never truly be one set design for every skyscrapers, there can only be principles of design to follow. The impact of the force of the wind has more of an effect on the building than any of the dead or live loads, often to points where orientation of certain facades are changed. As well as with standing winds the building has to be constructed in a way that it is ready for unpredictable forces of nature like Earthquakes because if there is even a small problem in the design of the building the results could be catastrophic.

Whilst it seems obvious from the outset that no one ‘set’ guideline for the design of the Skyscraper could be set, guidelines on components/technology, and strategies of design for the building could provide a positive impact into the design of each Skyscraper.

Raw materials play a key role in the construction of skyscraper as reinforced concrete in one of the main components of the buildings design. In more modern time it is more natural to see concrete and steel used together as it combines the two materials strengths to maximise the structural support it offers, whilst often taking less floor space to place, as the steel reinforcement sits in-situ in the concrete beam. Concrete is naturally very strong under compressive forces, whilst steel (an alloy of iron and carbon) is also inherently strong under the same forces (Hall, 2008).

Although steel is readily available, it takes a vast amount of energy to produce, and can often be an expensive business with the price of iron ore, a main component of steel, rapidly rising, it could easily become too expensive to use on such large scales in the future. Recently carbon fibre has often been incorporated into projects (for example aeroplanes) that would usually require steel and the attributes it brings – high strength, stiffness and lightweight – because it is a much cheaper alternate, it may not be long until the industry see’s carbon fibre taking more of a role in the construction of skyscrapers. Not only is the production of these materials highly energy consuming, they also require a large amount of toxic chemicals too make them attractive, fireproof and waterproof.

Large skyscrapers that are constructed with a mainly glass facade are in particular extremely high energy wasters, with heat loss (or gain) up to ten times greater through a typical half inch plate of glass compared to that of a typical masonry construction filled with insulation. (Popfun, 2009)

It is not only the materials and construction of Skyscrapers that have a lasting impact on the environment; the actual everyday running of the modern box skyscraper also has quite an impact. The typical 20th century box skyscraper was often designed with poor thermal performance and with out the use of natural air ventilation systems the buildings are commonly too cold in the winter and too warm in the summer for people in the buildings to feel comfortable within so heating, ventilation and air conditioning (HVAC) units are regularly installed in the constructions. These HVAC systems require a vast amount of energy to run, as theses services have to be pumped up and around the building through services ducts against the force of gravity, meaning the higher the skyscraper, the more energy it takes to operate these systems.

In the 1970’s it was believed that replacing the large all glass facades of the skyscraper with smaller, sealed windows would reduce energy consumption caused by heating the structures because it would stop the loss of heat and air conditioning to the outdoor world, this however resulted in poorly ventilated buildings which resulted in a higher demand on the air conditioning units to run the services at the correct level to provide a comfortable internal environment. (Gissen, 2003)

However the effects and impacts of the air conditioning units often installed in skyscrapers are well documented and sometimes they can make the internal conditions worse instead of improving them. Sick building syndrome is usually accredited to air conditioning units (as well as other heating and ventilation systems), the lack of oxygen, and high levels of carbon dioxide and carbon monoxide are generally believed to be the main cause. (Habmigren, 2003) If a building does develop sick building syndrome than occupants will often fall ill, with varying symptoms ranging from irritation of the eyes, nose, throat to general health problems and skin irritation.

Another problem caused by the design of skyscrapers, all though less of an environmental issue at first glance, can have knock on effects on the environment. “Towers are always fighting against their own weight. As more parts of the building are devoted to holding it up, they encroach on the space for working or living in. Developers and leasing agents refer to the ratio between these two elements as a building’s “net-to-gross”. In a really efficient skyscraper, nearly 70% of the building’s volume is useable, with the rest taken up by lift-shafts, stairwells and pillars. In a well designed low-rise building, by contrast, more than 80% of the space can be sold or let.” (Economist, 2006) With these companies moving out of the city to office complexes for financial issues, it is leaving an increasing amount of unused office space in these skyscrapers, whilst more new skyscrapers are being built. 40% of the world’s tallest buildings have been built since the year 2000 (Economist, 2006) but many skyscrapers have been left with empty office space, simply because of the cost of running the building or because of an outdated look.

Many of the problems too the environment caused by the Skyscraper typology are caused by designing to maximise the economic benefits of the building, increasing rent per square meter of floor space, instead of being designed with the environment in mind.

3. Theories of Change

3.1 Design Principles

When some Architect decide that in their project they are going to be ‘Building green’ they often become reliant on solely using technology such as solar panels and wind harvesting machines to reduce their buildings impact on the environment, but the future of building green, and building constructions that really make an impact on reduce effects on the environment instead of just being sustainable, will rely upon designers and manufactures finding greener and more rapidly renewable products to use during the construction process, and for the actual construction itself.

Building environmentally friendly buildings should in practice bring together different principles to reduce the impact on the buildings surrounding natural environment, taking full advantage of renewable energy sources, the key design practices to follow are; using passive design theories for layouts of buildings to maximise solar gain and natural ventilation, design and material use efficiency, designing with low-energy consumption in mind, water management systems and waster reduction.

It can be hard to define a green or environmentally friendly product, what makes it green, is it one feature, or manyIs it made from recycled materials, or is it made from rapidly renewable sourced materials for example bamboo. ‘It is important also to note that multiple criteria often apply—in other words, a product may be considered green for more than one reason.’ (Alex Wilson, 2000).

An environmentally friendly product is a product that has minimal effect on the environment that it is harnessed from, and the environment it is to be placed upon. It is a material that comes from a naturally replenished source, and is a material that hasn’t had any harmful toxins applied to it.

The main philosophy behind the green building concept is to practice more environmentally friendly construction methods. In theory building green should be more than just beneficial to the environment, it could also be a practice of value to the economic and society itself.

If you were to speak to different Architects and asked them what methods of design they believed would help reduce the carbon footprint of Skyscrapers, and there general overall effect on the environment, most would jump straight to a form of eco-friendly technology for example, a way of providing energy for the building on site, but the first thought of the Architect should be a form of eco-friendly design, a design method, instead of simply designing to incorporate a product of sustainable design, for instance, solar panels.

As stated previously, not only the construction of the skyscraper has to change, but also the day to day running of the buildings must change to reduce the overall effect on the environment by the construction.

Perhaps the most influential Architect in this field of architectural design, Ken Yeang, states in his book Eco Skyscrapers, about what he believes to be the five most fundamental methods of design that produce the same level of internal comfort that inhabitants of skyscrapers are accustomed to, but from low energy design. The five methods of designs he believes can lead us to a more ecological design for the skyscraper typology are; Passive Mode, Mixed Mode, Full Mode, Productive mode and Composite mode (a method compromising of design aspects from all of the preceding methods). Yeang states that ‘Designing for low energy means looking first at Passive Mode strategies, then mixed mode to full mode, Productive mode and to composite mode, while adopting progressive strategies to improve comfort conditions relative to external conditions while minimising demand on non renewable sources of energy’. (Ken Yeang, 2007 1).

Passive mode design (sometimes referred to as bioclimatic design) is designing with local conditions in mind to optimise the harvesting of surrounding natural energy sources, for example wind power. Mixed mode design is the design principal in which architect will incorporate some form of electrical equipment into the building design, which will enhance the conditions within the building, which obviously lead us to full mode, which is the complete integration of electrical equipment in the building, for management of the conditions for the complete year. (B.R.E, 2011)

Productive mode however, means that the building itself is the foundation of the buildings energy system; the building has for example, wind turbines, or photo-voltaic’s included within the design of the building, to provided the required electricity for the construction on site. Productive mode architecture however requires advanced technology to run the systems, requiring energy and resources to produce the materials used for the solar panels or wind turbines, although in the long run you have less impact on the environment, there is still a considerable ecological impact at the start of the process. (Ken Yeang, 2007 2)

Lastly, Composite Mode is a production of combining all fore-mention processes; it is a balance between the natural design methods of comfort control used in a passive design and the integration of electro-mechanical systems. The proportion of the combined system in use will change throughout the year because of the ever-changing climate.

Although in terms of a modern day skyscrapers a design method of the full mode approach commonplace, this wasn’t always the case. The skyscrapers that helped coin the term, up to about the end of The Second World War were designed with an astonishing series of passive mode principles, on skyscrapers in Manhattan workers were able to make use of sky gardens incorporated in their buildings, whilst all working space was within 27 feet of windows which could be opened, allowing the works to be in control of their conditions at work (David Gissen, 2003 2) but with the creation of long span steel beams and air conditioning units, the focus of architects turned to how they could provide their clients with more rentable floor space, and less attention was aimed at creating comfortable work conditions naturally and with energy consumption in commercial buildings and single family houses accountable for almost 40% of all the energy used in today’s society (David Lloyd Jones, 1998) methods of passive design offer a direct link back to more energy efficient design in skyscrapers.

3.2 Orientating a Skyscraper to maximise natural conditions.

In design we can use Orientation of skyscrapers to maximise more than just solar gain, if orientated correctly, the building could make use of natural ventilation to control indoor comfort levels, and technology for solar energy, or solar water heating systems could be incorporated into the skyscrapers designs to help increase the buildings sustainability.

Although skyscrapers often rise out and above the buildings surrounding them, lending them solely to the sun, it is still important for the orientation of a Skyscraper to still be considered. The Facades with the most glass should be facing towards the direction of the sun as often as possible, so the facades with the most glazing on should be facing North and South, to help maximise solar gain (EcoWho, 2011). A building can be orientated up to about 20° and still harness the same amount of solar gain, whilst opening the build up to the possibility of being ventilated naturally by the wind. Natural ventilation is seen as desirable for the following reasons;

Increased comfort in hot-humid periods
For health reason to provide sufficient oxygen
For better environmental awareness, reducing reliance on mechanical means of ventilation. (Ken Yeang, 1996 1).

In recent design proposals Ken Yeang – the leader in the Eco Skyscraper field – has proposed adjustable openings/ sieves atop of his constructions, suggesting that the walls of a skyscraper should be seen and designed as adjustable instead of just totally sealed. He suggests in his book ‘The Skyscraper Bio-climatically Considered’ that the walls ‘should act like a filter that has variable parts to control cross ventilation’ (Ken Yeang, 1996 2). If the building could be orientated to take advantage of the prevailing wind direction as well as to maximise solar gain, then the entire comfort level of the building could be directly reliant on controlling the variable parts of the buildings outer-skin, reduce the use of mechanical heating and ventilation systems drastically, ultimately cutting down on the long-term effect on the environment. It is believed that a correctly orientated, passive solar, building will reduce it’s energy consumption by up to 40 percent, combine this with correct level of insulation within the skyscraper and the savings on energy consumption could be even higher.

3.3 Designing To Minimise The Urban Heat Island Effect

Skyscrapers are the product of city living, building up to save landmass, whilst producing more homes to house the cities ever growing population. Temperatures are often hotter in a City than they are in rural areas too, this is because of a phenomenon known as the urban heat island effect. (Mcgrath, 2008) “The term “heat island” describes built up areas that are hotter than nearby rural areas. The annual mean air temperature of a city with 1 million people or more can be 1.8–5.4°F (1–3°C) warmer than its surroundings. In the evening, the difference can be as high as 22°F (12°C). Heat islands can affect communities by increasing summertime peak energy demand, air conditioning costs, air pollution and greenhouse gas emissions, heat-related illness and mortality, and water quality.” (E.P.A, 2011). If designers can reduce the heat island effect, then we can also reduce the demands on air conditioning units in the summer, and there are three main ways that Architects or even town planners can design to help reduce the heat island effect.

Planting trees and vegetation, and designing green roofs for new buildings can help reduce the need for heating and cooling systems use. A green roof can reduce the temperatures of a roof surface, and the air surrounding it by up to 50°c. (Liu, K.; Baskaran, B. 2003) A green roof reduces the need for conditioned buildings because it forms insulation for the roof. As well as reducing the heat of the surrounding area to help lower the urban heat island effect, green roofs can offer more to Skyscrapers and the community as a whole, providing habitats for many species whilst, if designed correctly, adding aesthetic value to a project, whilst also being a natural solution to the problems caused by green house gases.

3.4 Vertical Landscaping

Vertical landscaping is not only seen to be key to helping reduce the skyscrapers environmental impact, but it is also seen as being key to improving the aesthetics of the typology and comfort levels within the interior.

The issue with designing Skyscrapers that are vertically landscaped is that they are a construction formed from floors being stacked upon each other, ever increasing their distance from ground level (where the earths vegetation is located) (Ken Yeang, 1996 3). Part of the effect a skyscraper has on its environment is to the sites ecology. It is not often that a skyscraper isn’t located next to another skyscraper or high-rise building, and it just as infrequent that a skyscraper is located next to some area of vegetation, so if a skyscraper is built, the sites surrounding ecology that it is built upon is often totally destroyed.

Normally landscaping is carried out on horizontal planes, on the outside of the building, in gardens or on roof gardens. The skyscraper requires a solution of planting vertically. It is possible to create a good ecology from planting vegetation in no more than 600mm of soil, meaning the loads imposed on the building will not be so excessive that they can not be accommodated for.

The incorporation of Vertical landscaping for low to medium rise buildings is already well developed – the use of roof planting, green roofs and planter boxes is a common site, but on the scale of a skyscraper site is dramatically less frequent. The benefits of vertical landscaping a skyscraper are considered to be (amongst others);

The improvement of the ecology of the area by counteracting the mass of the skyscraper, therefore contributing to the sites ecological approach.
Enhances the aesthetics of the construction as a foliaged structure.
The foliage helps minimise heat reflection and glare off/into the building
The vegetation forms a sound barrier, serve as windbreakers and reduce pollution on site by absorbing carbon dioxide and monoxide. (Ken Yeang, 1996 4)

Looking at these theories of change through this chapter; The design principles – with passive mode designing, orientating a Skyscraper to maximise natural interior climatic conditions, minimising the urban heat island effect and Vertical Landscaping, it is clear to see that a substantial improve can be made to the environmental impact that a skyscraper has on it’s immediate environment, and the environment on a whole without the use of any mechanical systems.

4. Technology

This section takes a look at the most appropriate methods of sustainable energy solutions for a Skyscraper to incorporate into its design. As a result of the small footprint of the skyscraper typology, it is hard to incorporate many methods of sustainable design that are available, however there are more than enough options still available to the modern Skyscraper to make a significant contribution to the energy requirements of these superstructures. The main forms of sustainable energy open to the majority of Skyscraper are; Ground Source Heat Pump systems, Solar Panels (PV Cells), Solar Water Heating systems, Biomass and Wind Turbines.

4.1 Ground Source Heat Pumps

Ground Source Heat Pumps (GSHP) are regularly used in modern home as a source of sustainable/renewable energy. A ground source heat pump system uses a system of pipes buried under the ground (using the earth as a heat source in the winter, or a heat sink in the summer) to heat a building (Energy Saving Trust, 2011). The system works by pumping a mixture of water and anti-freeze through the pipes, which absorbs the heat in the earth, and then is pumped into a heat exchanger in the heat pump. GSHP systems have a variety of different set ups, meaning that you could integrate the scheme into the design of a skyscraper in a variety of ways.

GSHP systems have the ability to be laid in various different ways; Vertically down in the ground, horizontally laid in the ground or in an open loop system (also referred to as a groundwater heat pump system) (GreenSpec,2010).

The horizontal form of GSHP systems is the option usually incorporated when used for a housing scheme. The horizontal loops for a house can have a surface area of up to 200m for just a single dwelling, so a system for a skyscraper would require a surface area that would be far greater than this, laid in trenches that would require more square meters than the site the skyscraper would be built on, make this system incredibly hard to incorporate, and an expensive form of sustainable energy.

If the skyscraper being design in question is located next to a source of water, for example a pond/lake then a system that could possibly be used is a ‘slinky loop’ system. The loop is placed in a frame and sunk to the bottom of a pond/lake. The problem with using a system like this is that it would require the sinking of a large loop at the bottom of the pond and it is vary rare because of ground conditions that a skyscraper will be located next to a water source that is large enough to provide suitable conditions for the system to be able to be implemented.

A vertical system is a closed loop of pipes running down into the ground up to about 100m deep depending on the ground characteristics of the site. A vertical system would be easier to incorporate into the design of a skyscraper because of the limited space a skyscraper lay upon. The Vertical system is laid using a series of boreholes roughly five meters apart. This way the system can be laid at the same time as the superstructures pile foundations, whilst the loops could even run down the same bore holes of the pile foundations. Out of the three methods of GSHP systems studied here this is the most efficient system that could be incorporated into a modern skyscraper design.

The carbon savings of a GSHP system however are only minimal if a form of renewable electricity doesn’t drive the system, so if the system is ran from in this manner than the high installation costs could not be truly justified (GreenSpec, 2010).

4.2 Solar Panels

Solar panels are now everyday use for renewable energy sources, ranging from entire facades of skyscrapers, to small installations put up by small homeowners themselves.

Solar panels convert sunlight into electricity using solar cells (Which are similar to large conductors), this process is known as the photovoltaic effect (Solar Panel Info, 2005).

In Manchester, England, in 2007 the CIS Tower was retrofitted with entire facades of solar panels erected on part of the building and although there are over 7000 Solar panels now on the building, the solar panels (and 24 small wind turbines located atop the building) only produce up to 10% of the buildings entire energy consumption. (Hank Green, 2007) This will be the common problem faced by most skyscrapers when introducing large areas of Solar panels in their designs; the panels simply do not produce enough energy to be a viable option on their own, even if you clad entire facades. Solar panels are obviously reliant on the amount of sunlight direct at the panels through out the day, so if you were to clad a facade, the orientation needs to be considered to ensure that the facade chosen is the facade that will receive the most direct sunlight however advances in the technology used to run solar panels mean that even on cloudy days the panels can now be energy efficient, and still produce a large amount of energy, whilst solar panel are increasingly becoming a cheaper form of providing constructions with sustainable energy resources.

A skyscraper proposed in Dubai – The Burj Al Taqa ‘The Energy Tower’ – will produce one hundred percent of it’s own energy through the use of solar panels and wind a 60 meter wind turbine (becoming the first 100% renewable energy powered skyscraper if completed). However, the building will be clad in 15,000sq meters of solar panels, whilst another 17,000sq meters of solar panels will power the building from off site – most skyscrapers do not have the ability or near by free land to locate such an installation (Ali Kriscenski, 2007).

Solar panels, although as mentioned before, are constantly lowering in price, whilst their life spans are always increasing with better research and technology. At the moment solar panel have a life span of up to twenty-five years (Solar Panel Info, 2008); meaning any facades will be subject of major restoration works every twenty-five years to replace every panel, whilst in the mean time the Solar Panel will require constant maintenance because require cleaning regularly for them to work at an efficient rate.

If combined with other methods of sustainable energy production then the use of solar power can contribute to helping skyscrapers reach a much more renewable based system of energy production, and if perhaps a collection of skyscrapers can have a small solar farm located near by, they may be able produce a surplus of energy that they could feed back to the national grid.

4.3 Biomass

Biomass is a form of energy produced from the burning of living/recently living organisms (most often then not derived from plants). Although the burning of the plant matter releases carbon dioxide into the atmosphere still, it is not adding more carbon dioxide into the atmosphere because plants are being replanted at the rate they are being consumed, therefore biomass takes carbon out of the atmosphere while it is growing and returns it as it is burned. Biomass is different to fossil fuels because of this shorter time scale in rejuvenation of matter (Biomass Energy Centre, 2008).

Biomass works three various different ways – with a thermal conversion, chemical conversion or biochemical conversion processing system, with the most typical being the thermal conversion system powering a combine heat and powering system.

The main problem with a biomass system producing the power for a skyscraper is again with the space required. A biomass system requires the site to have a Biomass storage facility located on or close to the site so that materials could easily be moved to the site of the conversion chamber with minimal ecological impact, whilst a site producing the biomass material needs to be within a short distance so that again there is minimal impact on the environment on the transportation of the material from the site it is grown, to the site of the skyscraper.

It is possible if the energy centre is located close enough to the skyscraper, a biomass powered combine heat and power system could help produce a significant percentage of the buildings power on site.

4.4 Wind turbines

Wind turbines offer the most apparent form of renewable energy to the skyscraper typology, the skyscraper sores above other buildings with in a city; the only thing comparable is another skyscraper.

A wind turbine works on the basic principle of using kinetic energy to turn a turbine to create mechanical energy (Energy Saving Trust, 2008). There have been several cases in recent times of buildings incorporating wind turbines into their structural design, and even more cases of older skyscrapers placing smaller wind turbines atop of their structures to create a small input of renewable power for their constructions.

In the case of a skyscraper the production of wind turbines incorporated into any building design are always going to be limited. If the turbines are built into the structure then the orientation has to be changed so that the turbines are facing into the prevailing wind for the year so they get the most use out of them that they possible can. The problem with having the turbines fixed in one direction is that they will only get the full front of wind for half the year, as the wind changes it prevailing direction in summer and winter, because of this reason, the Darrieus style wind turbine offers perhaps the most consistent form of energy production. The Darrieus wind turbine is a built based on a vertical axis, usually with two or three blades (Reuk, 2007). It is though, the vertical axis that makes the crucial difference when trying to incorporate the turbine into the skyscraper design.

Most skyscrapers already have antennas placed on top of their structures, some times merely for decoration, sometimes for radio, these antennas have the potential to form the basis of a renewable energy strategy for the building. To incorporate a wind turbine for the building would not change the design of the building vastly, the main change would be that the top floor would house the machinery for the turbine. With a Darrieus turbine located at the top of the building, the turbine will be able to run throughout the whole year, not just one season, which will vastly increase the amount of energy production from the scheme, practically doubling the output of the turbines simply by being able to run through out the entire year.

With the advancing designs of wind turbines, more and more are being incorporated into skyscrapers. The Darrieus wind turbine provides the central focal point for the Burj Al Taqa in Dubai, whilst the Bahrain has three large wind turbines spanned between it’s two towers

4.5 Summary

The design of the Burj Al Taqa in Dubai shows that skyscrapers can be designed to be one hundred percent energy efficient, it is merely a case of studying the best possible solution for your structure, and for the climate the skyscraper will be located in. It may take solutions that aren’t necessarily directly on site for some skyscrapers, but if each building could create a solar farm near by in a designated area (perhaps a park within the city, maybe even making it something for the public too, like a public realm solution), a community of skyscrapers could benefit from the scheme instead of just one.

As stated before in the Theories of Change chapter, technology will not solve the entire environmental problem caused by skyscrapers, design principles to have to change. Technology can however, make the biggest, lone impact.

If the design of the skyscraper is done in a manner that we can incorporate some of the technologies talked about here (amongst others), the carbon footprint of the skyscraper typology will dramatically decrease and then once both the design principles are also altered for the way Architects generally design skyscrapers, the building will not only be sustainable from technology, it will also be ecological aware in its design.

5. Strata SE1 – A Case study of Change.

This chapter takes a look at a case study of environmentally minded skyscraper design within London, England. Robbie Turner of Bogle Flanagan Lawrence Silver Ltd Architects has provided all the information in this chapter regarding the Strata SE1 design process and the design itself. (All documents provided comprise in appendices section of this document form the basis and references of this chapter).

In November 2005, planning permission was submitted in the London borough of Southwark by Architects BFLS (Bogle Flanagan Lawrence Silver Ltd.) for a 148 meter, 43-storey Skyscraper located at Elephant and Castle, the building, Strata SE1, would become England’s leading eco-skyscraper at the time of completion.

Five years later the buildings construction was completed, making the skyscraper the tallest residential building in England, but upon It’s completion it also became the first building in the world to have integrated wind turbines within it’s structure, previously some skyscrapers have incorporated wind turbines atop of their structure, or as with the Bahrain World Trade Centre building, between the towers of the skyscrapers.

The building houses three, five bladed, nine meter diameter wind turbines (Strata SE1 Wind turbines – The Facts, 2010) which each have a rating of 19kW, which if they ran continuously could provide up to 8% of the constructions entire total energy consumption, the equivalent of meeting the energy depends for 30 two bedroom apartments (according to 2006 Building Regulations). Strata SE1 also exceeds current UK regulations relating to sustainability by 13%, whilst the projects overall carbon emissions are expected to be 15% lower than the Mayor of London’s good practice benchmark.

Whilst the wind turbines are the most obvious sustainable consideration, Strata SE1 also has other environmentally conscious aspects, including:

u96% of all waste material generated during construction was recycled

uCar park lighting reduced by 50% because it is controlled by motion detection

uDistrict heating system

uLow energy lighting in all landlord areas and 40% of the lighting in each apartment

uDesigned to connect to the planned Elephant & Castle Multi Utility service Company – which will provide heat and electricity from Biomass CHP energy centres and grey water to units within Strata SE1

uA “bespoke high thermal facade’ forms the cladding of the building, which has an air permeability leakage rate that is 50% better than current regulations.

The wind turbines are the environmental focal point when it comes to Strata SE1, these however are an end product of a large-scale study into what other systems could offer the build and site.

When the planning permission application was submitted, planning in London required consideration of sustainable design – and The GLA (Greater London Authority) Planning document stated that the building would require a renewable energy input of at least 10% of the buildings energy consumption had to be produced on site, which meant all avenues had to be exhausted to find a viable option before the scheme could be given the green light.

Options that were studied and explored during the design stage of Strata SE1 included:

Ground Source Heat Pump System (GSHP)
Photo Voltaic Cells (PV)
Biomass
Wind Turbines

The testing of the systems showed that the wind turbines offered the highest potential results in sustainability and effectiveness.

A ground source heat pump system is a heating/cooling system, which uses the Earth itself as a heat source in the winter or a heat sink in the summer. The cover the basic principles again – Copper tube loops are laid at a fairly shallow depth, through which a refrigerant or water is passed through to exchange heat with the ground.

The problem faced with incorporating such a system into the Strata SE1 building was the fact that the site the building is situated on has such a small footprint that they would have not been able to accommodate a system that would have been large enough to make any contribution to the constructions heating system, meaning that the system was an unjustifiable ecological approach.

Photo Voltaic Cells were also a considered option because the building could incorporate solar cells easily into the design, but there were too many problems with accommodating a Solar Panel system, which meant in the long run, they would not be the most viable option.

For a Photo voltaic scheme to produce as much an input as the wind turbines are expected to it would have meant having to clad the entire South facade of the building in the PV Cells because the require such a large surface area. However cladding the entire south facade wasn’t the only effect that using the PV Cells would have caused. At the time of the proposal of the building, the Life span of Photo Voltaic Cells was relatively short for such a scheme, and using this method of renewable energy would have required re-cladding the entire South Facade every fifth-teen years and for that reason the scheme would not be very cost-effective. Once installed the solar panels would have also require regularly cleaning for them to function efficiently – which would have meant increasing the quarterly facade cleaning scheme in place, and ultimately a high service charge for all residents in the building and with all of these issues to take into consideration the Architects decided that PV Cells were not the most suitable renewable energy source for the project.

A biomass system was also investigated, but also came up short for one main reason. To have a biomass system in place at the Strata SE1 site there would have had to be a Biomass storage facility located much closer to the site so that materials could have been moved to the site easily, and with minimal ecological impact, otherwise the system wouldn’t be very eco-friendly due to the use of fuel and pollution cause from the transportation of the materials.

The wind turbines were the chosen option by the Architects after the testing and studies, because they felt it offered the best potential energy input for the building, with minimal upkeep costs and effects on the residents of the building, and they also felt it offered the best chance to create a truly unique piece of architecture which would deliver a ‘highly visible commitment to sustainable design’.

The wind turbines were chosen because the practice believes, looking at all the evidence from their investigations into other sustainable option, that it was the most viable option, it was the option that could produce the best input back into the design, and the option, that ultimately, would make a greater contribution to reduce the buildings effect on the environment and as the building was already orientated to be facing the prevailing summer wind direction; it was just a matter of how they could incorporate them into the design meaning less alterations would have to be incorporated into the buildings design to accommodate the turbines compared to other systems that could of perhaps been used instead.

The Wind turbines housed at the very top of the Strata SE1 construction form part of the facade design – they are not merely just an after thought for the environment. The turbines are installed within three, nine-meter diameter Venturi tubes.

The Venturi are shaped tubes that hone modify the pressure differential across the building, resulting in the acceleration of the winds speed through the tubes, increasing the power that can be produced by the turbines.

The wind turbines however can only operate for just over half the year because of the change in prevailing wind direction in the winter months of the year, therefore the turbines cannot run continuously for the year and because the wind is variable, the power it produces will not always be the full 19kW, so the total energy production of the wind turbines is currently unknown and although they have the capability to produce up to 8% of the buildings energy, they will likely never meet the full 8% they are capable of because of these limitations. (During their first two years of operation Southbank University will monitor the wind turbines to find out just how effective they are and how much energy they actually produce).

It is key to remember however that the project was an experiment. The Architects wanted to see what ways they could incorporate a method of sustainable design into their residential skyscraper project, proving to themselves and other British based Architects that’s the design of sustainable skyscrapers in Britain can be done.

The design of Strata SE1 will meet the targets that were set out at the beginning of the proposal stage by the government, the target being that the structure would be able to meet 10% of its energy consumption with renewable energy that is produced on site itself, but it will take a few years to reach this mark (once the combined heating and power system is in use and the turbines are up and running correctly with their true outputs known). Perhaps the most important statement the Strata SE1 building makes is that it shows other Architects you can still design a beautiful construction whilst incorporating sustainable technologies into the building structure itself.

6. Buildings And Architects Leading A Worldwide Makeover.

This chapter takes a look at four skyscrapers that are helping lead the way in environmentally friendly construction, design and operational practice. Three of the four buildings are completed structures, whilst the building that is not completed is a project by architect Ken Yeang, whom many consider the leading Architect in the field.

It is hard to talk about the Eco-Skyscraper typology without mentioning Ken Yeang; he himself practically coining the term when he published The Skyscraper – Bioclimatically Considered in 1996, and it is with Yeang that this chapter will start.

Yeang is perhaps more famous for his theories than his constructions, but his constructions and designs are instantly recognisable (but that is mainly because of his design principles in the first place). Yeang has proposed a number of Eco-Skyscrapers/Towers with many being built or currently under construction.

6.1 Editt tower, Singapore – Designed By T. R. Hamzah & Yeang International (All information provided from ‘Yeang,K; Hamzah, TR, 2011’)

The EDITT (Ecological Design In The Tropics) Tower is a skyscraper proposed for Singapore that was designed in response to the sites ecology after it was carefully studied at first. The design features well planted facades that respond to the lack of the sites original ecology being left in tact, with the design having just less than 4,000 sq feet of planted areas.

One of Ken Yeangs most talked about theories; vertical landscaping is very present in this proposal, with vegetation spiralling upwards from the first floor whilst the main sky-gardens proposed at different levels respond to each of the different zones of use in the tower. The constructions vegetation, which is “most visually apparent, is the vertical landscaping which spirals around no just externally but through and within the built form” (Ken Yeang, 2007 3)

The EDITT Tower is also design on the mixed-mode principle of design. The design maximises the locations natural climate, with ”wind walls” running parallel to the direction of the prevailing wind to offer natural ventilation and minimise the use of air-conditioning units, whilst the sky courts offer comfort-cooling areas to the public occupying the building.

The building was also designed with the view to re-use the tower complex for different purposes in the future, so the building is less susceptible to being left empty or having to be demolished. The skyscraper proposes what they coin a ‘loose fit’ system, where areas can be changed in the future to accommodate different uses; the sky-gardens could accommodate office space whilst the building has a vast amount of partition walls and some partition floors.

The EDITT Tower is a perfect example of what Ken Yeang tries to promote through his designing and teaching, that even skyscrapers can be designed with ecology and climate at the heart of the design, lessening the impact on the climate, and help rejuvenating the local site’s ecology.

6.2 The Hearst Tower, New York (All information provided from ‘Design Build, 2011’)

The Hearst Tower located in Manhattan, New York, is a LEED (leadership in energy and environmental design) (U.S Green Building Council, 2011) Gold Certificate skyscraper, which was designed by Foster and Partners and Gensler has become the benchmark in America of environmentally friendly skyscrapers, being design to be 26% more energy-efficient than a standard office building in new york.

The skyscrapers form features a diagrid (a slight variation of a diagonal grid) design with is a series of triangles, 4 storeys in height, which allows for natural light to flood into the building from outsides, whilst a limited number of partition walls are used internally, to minimise the loss of natural light internally.

The design of the diagrad frame, which helps form the buildings instantly recognisable form, reduces the need for up to an estimated 2,000 tonnes of steel that a traditional skyscraper frame would require, whilst the steel that does form the frame, 90 percent of it is recycled steel.

As well as being built from a significant contribution of recycled materials, the Hearst Tower has many energy saving features. The buildings facade is created from glass that has a ‘low-E’ coating, meaning that whilst vast amount of natural light can flood into the building, solar radiation which causes temperatures to rise in the interior spaces are emitted, lowering the demand on air-conditioning units and other methods interior climate control.

The interior of the building is fitted with technology that helps manage the indoor conditions to save energy. A high efficiency heating and air-conditioning system helps control indoor comfort levels by using outside air for ventilation up to 75 percent of the year at the same the roof can collect up to 14,000 gallons of rain water, which is used to replace water lost because of evaporation in the air conditioning system and which is also used to irrigate the plants and trees inside and out of the building. Finally another piece of technology used throughout the building are light sensors that are used to control the amount of artificial light being used in the building.

6.3 The Bank of America Tower, Manhattan, New York (All information provided from, ‘Durst Org, 2011’ & ‘Jeffery Kluger, 2010’)

Cook and Fox Architects designed the Bank Of America Tower at One Bryant Park in New York and is the first skyscraper to be design with achieving the LEED Platinum certificate for environmental design.

The skyscraper facade, as with the Hearst Tower also in New York, is designed with floor to roof insulated glass which helps maximises the natural daylight inside the building, whilst keeping the solar gain within the building to a comfortable level for all the inhabitants, whilst the building also operates a full time dimming programme for it’s lighting system, keeping the artificial lighting at predefined levels as to use the minimum amount of energy possible.

The building itself is built from more than 35 percent recycled materials, whilst 75 percent of the building previously on site materials were recycled upon or prior too demolition. The building is also constructed using concrete that is produced with a larger than usual concentration of slag, meaning that the harm done to environment is lowered because less carbon dioxide is produced from the manufacturing process.

Various different sensors that help control the temperature in an environmentally friendly approach conduct the management of the buildings interior climate. Sensors that measure carbon dioxide levels throughout the building sending fresh air to area in the building which require it the most.

The Bank of America Tower also has a water conservation scheme in place, opting for waterless urinals in the building, which save an estimated 8 million gallons of water a year, whilst reducing carbon dioxide emissions at the same time.

On May 20th 2010, the Bank Of America Tower was finally award the LEED Platinum certificate, making it the first high-rise office-building complex in America to be given the award for environmental performance and sustainability.

6.4 Four Times Square, Manhattan, New York (All information’s provided by ‘NrelGov, 2002’)

Perhaps the most important skyscraper in New York’s’ green makeover is the Four Times Square construction. Designed by Fox and Fowie Architects the buildings systems and construction methods were all evaluated for their environmental sensitivity, their effects on health and for the buildings ability to reduce it’s energy consumption. When the construction was finished it set an example for other American architects to follow, showing that a sustainable/ ecologically conscious skyscraper was possible to build, even in the harsh, pollutant filled Manhattan Island environment.

As with many of the other environmentally friendly skyscrapers mentioned before, Four Times Square makes use of various different sensors to automatically control certain aspects of the building. Sensors control the lighting within the building, automatically sensing what the levels of light whilst as with the Bank of America Tower and the Hearst Tower, low-e glass is used for the curtain walling system to provide excellent day light conditions in the building whilst decreasing heat loss in the winter at the same time as reducing solar heat within the building in the summer.

The construction has a unique air conditioning system, with air entering the building at 80 and 700 feet above ground level (avoiding traffic pollution), using the outdoor air helps to regulate the temperatures within the building whilst lowering the demand on mechanical air-conditioning units, circulating 50 percent more indoor air than the building is required to by local building codes, whilst at the same time the system can fill up to four floors with 100 percent outdoor air, helping to circulate fresh air within the building.

Natural gas powered chillers/heaters are used for the production of hot and cold water in the building (the mechanisms are located on the roof), with different systems available for the varying requirements in use. These gas powered chillers and heaters produce no harmful gasses making the system completely eco-friendly.

The building also uses photovoltaic panels for a method of renewable energy production; these panels are located in the gaps between rows of windows on the top 19 floors of the southern and eastern facade of the skyscrapers.

Despite not having any LEED certificates to date, the building was the first Skyscraper in New York to look at each stage of the design and analyse just how ecologically friendly the building would be and with this strategy in place stringent procedures had to be followed day to day throughout the construction process and even now in the ever day running of the building so that the construction would maintain its high standards for being an environmentally aware construction.

7. Conclusion

This dissertation took a look at whether you can design a skyscraper and been ecologically and environmentally conscious whilst constructing these mammoth structures.

Materials used to construct skyscrapers, will ultimately run out. Steel can only survive as a material whilst iron ore is obtainable, and many other construction materials will also stop being produced because of the lack of deposits that are obtainable of the raw materials used to produce them, whether or not we can produce materials in the future to build these superstructures, the design for them in the mean time need re-evaluating to produce greener results.

The construction methods, may actually never be able to be changed, building high requires the use of plants and cranes that currently there are no alternatives to, perhaps the only change possible for this would be the incorporation of cleaner fuel to reduce the pollution caused from their use.

The problem with the skyscraper in general is that over the last twenty years they have been designed in a manner that leaves a heavy reliance on technology to produce and control the interior climatic conditions, whilst the architect merely designs too often to just produce the most striking visual possible. It is however the with greater focus and application of basic design principles that Architects can begin to make a significant impact on the reduction of carbon emission produced by skyscrapers.

Passive and even mixed mode design has been used for many decades in various different forms and methods, and has been used before in skyscraper design, so the principle is known to be suitable. This would mean that the skyscraper would be designed to emphasise natural means of controlling the climatic conditions within the building to help reduce the demand on mechanical air condition and heating units that require an extremely larger amount of power to run.

Another design theory that will optimise the most of the natural environment that the skyscraper belongs to, is keying in on what correct orientation of the building can offer. Already skyscrapers are being proposed that have moveable skins (responsive curtain walling systems), which automatically change their configuration to optimise circulation of air from the outdoor world.

Designing to reduce the effects on ecology is another aspect of sustainable design that perhaps doesn’t get enough attention. Designing to preserve an ecology or reinstate a sites ecology can help benefit the environment, furthermore planting trees, designing sky gardens or sky courts will reduce the pollution in and around the building, making conditions not only more environmentally friendly, but for the inhabitants more instantly more comfortable and at the same time stimulating. Providing the skyscraper with a areas of vegetation on the exterior of the building will also help reduce the heat island effect, which will ultimately cause temperatures within the city will naturally fall, again reducing the demand on combine heating and ventilation systems. Designing with principles like the ones just mentioned, and the others theories mentioned in the chapter on design principles, will instantly reduce the skyscrapers carbon footprint by a substantial amount whilst improving the environment around the building, without having to rely on the use of many forms of technology.

Technology however, will produce the greatest input into making a building sustainable, ultimately producing designs that could generate so much energy from sustainable sources that it could provide surplus energy to the national grids of company.

Sustainable energy resources as mentioned in the chapter about what technology has to offer, are hard to incorporate typically on small footprints, but what the skyscraper has to offer is a vast amount of square meters in vertical facades, whilst the building also pierces through the city’s skyline, opening it up to the elements, so that the skyscraper is perhaps the most suitable building typology for the wind turbine.

Sustainable energy sources are the solution to making the overall day-to-day running of the skyscraper more environmentally friendly. The skyscraper demands a high level of energy to function properly, lighting, sewage systems, computers, lifts, elevators and conditioning units all require a huge amount of electricity to run on over seventy continuous floors stacked one on top of another, especially water and sewage systems that have to contend with gravity.

At this moment in time, the technology is not available to only have to incorporate only one method of sustainable energy production into a skyscrapers design and meet all of the buildings energy consumption needs, for example skyscraper could be covered from ground level to its top out point of its spire in solar panels and this would still not generate enough energy.

More than one method would have to be used to meet the level of consumption, but it is possible, as shown with the design concept of the Burj-al-Taqa in Dubai, which combines over 20,000 square meters of solar panels (more than half located off site, but within close proximity) and a wind turbine that helps top out the structure.

It can however be easier than most architects would initially believe to incorporate a form of sustainable design, in the chapter technology, wind turbines were mentioned for what they have to offer, and the Darreius Wind Turbine is perhaps the most beautiful solution to the skyscrapers sustainable energy problem. The Darrieus wind turbine is natural in design, flowing and elegant and would not derive from any beautiful form an architect can design for a skyscraper, furthermore it is a turbine that can work continuously throughout the year, unlike the venturi tubed wind turbines found on Strata SE1 in London, which are limited to half the year out of work because of the natural change in prevailing wind direction, where as a Darrieus Wind Turbine runs on a vertical axis, and as most skyscrapers now have pinnacles purely to top out the building, a method of decoration to reach a taller height, they can put the pinnacle to greater use and create a from of energy production for the building.

With organisations now a foot – LEED in America and other such organisations across the world measuring achievements in building green and teaching how to build sustainably, architects and designers have guidelines to follow, examples to follow in the footsteps of architects know that they can build to high enough to levels of sustainability and too eco-friendly standards.

It is however, not enough to build sustainably on it’s own, the ecologically friendly aspect has to incorporate too. Architects and designs are guilty of over paving natural green areas too often, destroying habitats of animals and insects across the planet. Sustainable design will reduce the reliance on fossil fuels and ultimately lower green house gasses emission rates, but to truly make an impact on the environment of a whole, both methods of designing for the environment have to be incorporated.

The correct changes to the design of skyscrapers are already a foot, with thousands of designs for greener skyscrapers proposed, hundreds of retro-fitting schemes already being carried out and a several hundreds of environmentally friendly/concious skyscrapers already constructed. It is clear that with a mix of well thought out design principles balanced with an appropriate use of technology and sustainable energy, the skyscraper has a greener place in the future, and because they have such a high energy consumption, they more than any other building typology can help reduce the environmental impact that mankind is having, simply by being designed with greener principles. There can never truly be one set design, nor one set of guidelines for a environmentally friendly skyscraper because they are never located in identical environments, that is simply not possible but this document looked at a small selection of the options available to Architects for them to build more sustainable and eco-friendly skyscrapers, and more importantly it shows that it can be done successfully.

Architects have the technology and design principles to create sustainable and ecologically friendly skyscrapers; all it takes is a well thought-out and planned design.

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Ken Yeang 1996 3– The Skyscaper Bioclimatically Considered. 2nd ed. London: Wiley – Academy. 98.

Ken Yeang 1996 4– The Skyscaper Bioclimatically Considered. 2nd ed. London: Wiley – Academy. 102-103.

Ken Yeang, 2007 1 – Eco Skyscrapers. Australia : Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. 25.

Ken Yeang, 2007 2 -. Eco Skyscrapers. Australia : Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. 24.

Ken Yeang, 2007 3. Eco Skyscrapers. Australia : Images Publishing Group Pty Ltd. 25.

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Critical Study of Tourism and negative effect it has on the Environment

Introduction

Tourism is a global industry of great economic importance, driven by human desire to experience new environments, be it the natural environment of a tropical beach or the built environment of an old city. People are travelling regularly to different parts of the world for long term stay on different purposes like vacation, business meetings, and recreation is Tourism. These people are usually called as tourist’s .Group of businesses or services which are dependent on tourism is collectively called Tourism Industry .Tourism industry has become one of the rapid growing industry across the world. The demand is increasing day by day. Most tourism places in the world seem to be France, Spain, USA, China, Italy and the UK. (Charmaine 2010)

Many countries depend heavily upon travel expenditures by foreigners as a source of taxation and as a source of income for the enterprises. Therefore, the development of tourism is often a strategy to promote a particular region for the purpose of increasing commerce through exporting goods and services.

Therefore it provides direct employment for the people associated with occupations in bars and hotels. The average standard of living of people increases well and at the same time unemployment is on the decrease.

However, tourists cause environmental damage through forest fires, destruction of sand dunes and pollution. Consequently this serves negatively as increased pollution disturbs local residents and also it may discourage tourists from further entering the country.

After this, tourism undermines culture by commercializing it and this is often connected with increasing litter, graffiti, vandalism and noise – tourists do not always respect traditional cultures.

There are a number of benefits of tourism for both the tourist and the host destination. On a large scale it offers a good alternative to some more destructive industries for generating income both on nationally and privately. The tourism industry encompasses many different areas, so it also creates jobs in many different areas. With tourism come hotels, restaurants, car rental agencies, tour companies, service stations, souvenir shops, sports equipment rentals, and much more. All of this creates many different levels of employment for people in a given community.

Tourism industry is taking advantage of the demand and working more on the development side, and as a result some rural places are also getting developed. The most commonly seen advantages benefits from the Tourism include new jobs, income, and tax revenue to the government. The tourism is also bringing the knowledge of that particular place to the world, and upgrading the local cultural facilities, or an enhancement of regional conservation efforts .Generally, tourism is very profitable in the terms of income for the countries, especially to those which are in the developing stage, as this industry does not require lot of literacy or capital. And it yields good profits with less investment. (Blake and Albache 2008)

Tourism provides much needed foreign currency and foreign investment .The economy of third world country can boom through this and the population benefits as well .Development should meet the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs . So the tourism industry should work today for the better life of future citizens. As the country has more economic sources, now it can be used for the improvements of the infrastructures like roads, transportations and communication links which again will be useful for both the local people and to the tourists. As a result of increased demand of tourism, environmental development issues will be considered by the government to attract tourists. Directly or indirectly Tourism will also be responsible for the improvement of the local education standard. (Debbie 2003)

Benefits deriving from tourism development must be balanced against potential negative effects. Jobs in the travel and tourism industry are frequently low-paying and seasonal and often offer limited benefits. In some cases, particularly where tourism strategies are ineffectual, local residents may have to pay for tourism marketing and infrastructure through higher taxes. Tourism can also increase demand for land in rural areas, which may inflate real estate prices, potentially putting the cost of housing beyond the reach of the average local resident. This is the case for some amenity-rich tourism destinations, experiencing growth in recent years stemming from recreation-based activities (Brown and Fazzone, 1998).

Tourism may directly lead to unsightly sprawl in rural areas by creating a demand for development. Other negative side effects include potentially higher rates of crime and greater demand for local services, such as police and fire protection and sanitation services, which can be expensive to provide. Also, tourism can risk changing the rural “sense of place” for some communities. Increased crowding and traffic congestion may also result with an influx of tourists into an area.

Greater demand for local arts and crafts can also potentially lead to a lowering of the quality of these products. Finally, tourism risks degrading natural resources in rural areas unless3 environmental sustainability efforts are undertaken. Many of these risks, however, can be mitigated if proper planning is employed at the outset of tourism development. (Holden 2007)

Sustainable tourism in its purest sense is an industry which attempts to make a low impact on the environment and local culture, while helping to generate income, employment, and the conservation of local ecosystems. It is responsible tourism that is both ecologically and culturally sensitive. (Beech and Chadwick 2005)

Sustainable tourism activities have minimal impact on the environment and culture of the host community. According to the World Tourism Organization, sustainable tourism is tourism that leads to the management of all resources in such a way that economic, social and aesthetic needs can be fulfilled while maintaining cultural integrity, essential ecological processes, biological diversity and life support systems. Taking a leaf from the definition of sustainability itself, sustainable tourism is also defined as a process which meets the needs of the present tourists and host communities whilst protecting and enhancing needs in the future Sustainability principles refer to the environmental, economic, and socio-cultural aspects of tourism development, and a suitable balance must be established between these three dimensions to guarantee its long-term sustainability. (Goodwin 2000)

Sustainable Tourism refers to a level of tourism activity that can be maintained over the long term because it results in a net benefit for the social, economic, natural and cultural environments of the area in which it takes place.

The United Nations World Tourism Organisation defines sustainable tourism as tourism that meets the needs of present tourists and host regions while protecting and enhancing opportunity for the future. Rather than being a type of product, it is an ethos that underpins all tourism activities. As such, it is integral to all aspects of tourism development and management rather than being an add-on component

The objective of sustainable tourism is to retain the economic and social advantages of tourism development while reducing or mitigating any undesirable impacts on the natural, historic, cultural or social environment. This is achieved by balancing the needs of tourists with those of the destination. Sustainable tourism is tourism that is economically, socio culturally and environmentally sustainable. With sustainable tourism, socio cultural and environmental impacts are neither permanent nor irreversible. (Butler 1999)

Bibliography

Blake, A., J. S. Arbache, et al. (2008). “Tourism and poverty relief.” Annals of Tourism Research

Available from: http://The Disadvantages of Tourism in Developing Countries | Suite101.com http://www.suite101.com/content/the-disadvantages-of-tourism-in-developing-countries-a292259#ixzz1MQA3Ciue

Butler, W. 1999 ’Sustainable tourism’ London: Rutledge.

Available from: http://www.informaworld.com/10.1080/14616689908721291

Charmaine, M. 2010. ‘Land Pollution Effects on Tourism’

Available from: http://www.ehow.com/about_6643366_land-pollution-effects-tourism.html

Debbie, S. 2003.’Travel & Tourism Marketing’.

Available from: http://www.travelandtourism.com/10.1300/J073v17n04_05

Goodwin, H. 2000. ‘Tourism and Biodiversity’

Available from:

http://egis.cefe.cnrsmop.fr/Tourism%20Frontpages/Boniface%20article.htm

Holden, A. 2007. ‘Environment and Tourism’ London: Routledge.

Available from: http://www.routledge.com/books/details/9780415399555/

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Free Essays

Critical analysis of micro-plastics and the environment

Introduction

Over the decades there has been a growing concern about the escalating amounts of plastic debris found in the marine environment. Plastic debris has been reported worldwide in marine and terrestrial habitats (Thompson et al, 2004). The understanding of micro-plastic spatial, temporal distribution and its abundance in the oceans environment (water, sediment, and biota) is still in its infancy (Le, 2010; NOAA, 2011).Larger plastic fragments have been persistantly recorded since the 1960’s in environments from the poles to the equator (Derraik, 2002). Smaller plastics have been recorded but with less attention. Though the presence of micro plastics is evident, the impacts they may have on the environment is uncertain (GESAMP, 2010). Public, governmental, and institutional awareness is limited. This has allowed for industrial and commercial practices and their processes to go on largely unregulated (Thompson et al, 2009). There is also inadequate awareness amongst the public. That post consumer plastic items and packaging, once in the environment breakdown, generating significant quantities of microscopic plastic debris over time.

Microscopic plastics (<5mm) in the marine environment constitute for a significant environmental pollutant (Derraik, 2002). Pieces have been found in the digestive tracts from a multitude of organisms ranging from microscopic plankton, sea birds, and cetaceans (Teuten et al, 2009). Upon digestion, it is possible for smaller fragments of plastic to present a physical hazard. This can happen through clogging feeding appendages or the digestive system (Derraik, 2002). The properties of plastics allow them to contain and adsorb persistent organic pollutants (POP’s’) (Carpenter et al 1972; Mato et al, 2001). This may facilitate the entry of these chemicals into the food chain, through ingestion from a multitude of marine organisms (Mato et al, 2001, Teuten et al, 2007, 2009).

Previous studies by Thompson et al; 2004; 2006, Brown 2009; Scontus, 2011, Travis, 2011; Colton, 1974; indicated that microscopic plastics are present worldwide particularly in shallow shores and sediment. This demonstrates that through current knowledge, no area is free from plastic pollution.

This study investigates the presence and distribution of microscopic plastics from Marazion and Carbis Bay. This research survey is also the first survey to be performed at these sites. Consequently contributing to the register of surveyed sites previously conducted. This will also continue to build evidence that microscopic plastics are a global scale pollution problem.

Section 1: Literature Review

1.1 The Marine Environment

The earth is covered with 70% water of which 97% is marine salt water (Pidwirney 2010). This environment includes a variety of diverse landscapes which comprise of many different habitat types such as estuarine and rocky shores to coral reefs and the deep oceans. The suites of habitat within the landscapes of the marine environment consistently interlink and occur together, for example: salt marsh; inter-tidal mud-flats; rocky shores and sub-tidal mussel beds which are all present in estuaries (JNCC, 2011). Many of these marine habitats provide important ecosystem services such as provisioning of food and water resources. They also regulate and support functions including: flood control; waste management; water balance and climate regulation (Pinet, 2009). Human reliance on these ecosystem services is fundamental, as it also includes many imperative economically and culturally key organisms (NCEAS, 2010). Around 40% of the global population presently inhabit the coastal band areas which take up 5% of the total land mass. There is an estimated 2.75 billion people living within 100km of the coastline, (LOITZ, 2011) where many communities depend directly upon the marine resources for their livelihood (Kaiser et al, 2008). Human dependence on coastal systems is increasing, particularly in wetlands, reefs, and estuaries. With an estimated increase of 35% by the year 2025 (MARES, 2009).

Research by (Barnes et al, 2009; Lavender-Law et al, 2010), has indicated that contamination of pollutants is much more concentrated in coastal systems, ocean surfaces, and gyres. This can be driven by: ocean circulation, local wind, oceanic current conditions, coastline geography, and the location of discharge points.

1.2 Pollutants in the Marine Environment and their impacts

Pollution is the introduction of substances or energy into the marine environment (Pinet, 2009). Pinet (2009) states that pollutants can be found in three parts of the ocean:

The first is the seabed. Pollutants accumulate here by one of two main ways: They either settle as solid particles directly to the seabed where benthic organisms can mix them into the sediment; or they chemically attach to particles such as silt and clay.

The second part of the ocean is where pollutants are concentrated in the pycnocline. This is the layer that separates water masses at different densities, commonly occurring in estuaries.

The neuston layer (sea surface microlayer) is the part of the ocean where solid wastes can accumulate. It is a thin interface of 0.1-10mm between air and sea. The chemicals and solids that collect here tend to aggregate and can affect the plankton and other invertebrates that use this layer as a temporary habitat (Pinet, 2009).

UNEP (2009) reports an estimated 80% of all polluting substances in the marine environment derive from a multitude of direct or indirect human land based activities. Shipping and sea dumping are thought to contribute to the remaining 20% (Karua, 2003). This also includes exploration and production from the offshore oil and gas industry, including the transportation of marine oil.

Direct inputs of pollution include either discharge of solid wastes e.g. plastics, or effluent from sewage sources such as industrial, municipal or coastal (Pinet, 2009).

Indirect inputs come from either land runoff where pollutants are transported mainly by rivers, or atmospheric fallout of pollutants entering the surface layer of the ocean (Clark, 2001).

When pollutants enter the marine environment they are broken down or degraded by oceanic and biological processes (Pinet, 2009). Pinet (2009) states that crude oil and petroleum spills in the marine environment are spread through advection caused by currents and winds. The hydrocarbons within the oil undergo evaporation, dissolution, emulsification, vertical mixing, and sedimentation. Pinet (2009) continues that biological process such as degradation to carbon dioxide by microbes and its ingestion by organisms. Have been shown to alter the composition of pollutants and disperse the spill further (Pinet, 2009). Municipal and industrial effluent comes in two forms: ‘natural’ such as sewage, and ‘artificial’ such as plastic (Pinet, 2009). These have entered the marine environment as mentioned above mainly by rivers. As pollutants enter the coastal waters, they are rapidly diluted by natural ‘self cleansing’ mixing processes, however, due to population increase, the volume of untreated wastes exceed the natural capacity of these coastal environments (Woodford, 2006). The natural mobility of water in contrast with land sourced pollution, allows pollutants to disperse over greater distances from the sources of input (Morales-Ojeda et al, 2010). Anthropogenic activities have led to ecosystem degradation, but the speed at which this occurs depends on local and regional characteristics (Morales-Ojeda et al, 2010).

The impacts pollutants have on the marine environment are diverse. At the extreme level of impact, the effects on marine life are acute and lethal to all biota. Organism populations are damaged, altering the structure of the community (Eisler, 1985). Eisler (1985) continues to state that this equates to the lethal amount of a polluting substance, when given in a single dose. This is termed acute toxicity. At this level Eisler reported the most sensitive species of fauna are eliminated, with a consequent distortion within the biological community. A lower sub-lethal level may occur before the concentration of toxic substances reaches a lethal level; this can be used as an early warning of pollution (Eisler, 1985). At the next level, mobile marine animals e.g. fish and birds, can escape by moving away from the contaminated areas as they can detect a stress or change in environmental conditions. Those unable to escape can either adapt to the stress or perish. Sessile organisms like barnacles and vegetation fall into this unfortunate category.

Pollutants can have detrimental effects on marine organisms, communities, and ecosystems. Depending on the type of impact they have, they can be grouped into one of the following categories of increasing hazard, detailed by Patin (n.d) as being:

Substances causing mechanical impacts (suspensions, films, solid wastes) that damage the respiratory organs, digestive system, and receptive ability.
Substances provoking eutrophic effects (e.g., mineral compounds of nitrogen and phosphorus, and organic substances) that cause mass rapid growth of primary producers and disturb the balance, structure, and functions of the marine ecosystem.
Substances with saprogenic properties (sewage with a high content of easily decomposing organic matter) that cause oxygen deficiency followed by mass mortality of biota, and appearance of specific microflora.
Substances causing toxic effects (e.g., heavy metals, chlorinated hydrocarbons, dioxins, and furans) that damage the physiological processes and functions of reproduction, feeding, and respiration.
Substances with mutagenic properties (e.g., benzo(a)pyrene and other polycyclic aromatic compounds, biphenyls, radionuclides) that cause carcinogenic, mutagenic, and teratogenic effects.

These categories show the abundance of sub-lethal affects which are strong indicators of pollutant induced stress. This also highlights the negative impacts of pollutants on the marine environment.

1.3 Plastic debris and the Marine Environment

Plastic debris can be found in seas in all areas of the globe (Clarke, 2001) indicating that this is an international concern. The manufacture of plastic produces millions of tons per year (Thompson et al, 2004). The worldwide production has significantly increased over the last 60 years expanding from 1.5 million tons to 245 million tons per annum (Zarfl and Matthies, 2010). The type of plastic produced in the current markets are chemically engineered to be highly durable and designed to support a slow biodegradation rate (Sudhaker et al, 2007). This type of manufacturing could result in plastic being one of the most profuse contaminants for centuries (Shaw et al 1994; as cited in Lavender-Law et al 2010). Considering the design and high production of plastic, there is growing concern for the risk of accumulation in marine habitats. There is evidence to suggest that plastic debris can account for between 50-80% of plastics reported on beaches, ocean surfaces and the seabed (Zarfl and Matthies, 2010).

Today’s current market has made plastic highly accessible and transformed it into society’s everyday lives (Thompson, 2009). Due to the versatile use and low cost of manufacture, it has helped make significant advances in all areas such as energy savings, human health, and lower costs in transportation (Zarfl and Matthies, 2010). Of all plastic produced, one third is used for single use items that are disposed of within a year (Knoblauch 2009). Packaging is a major component (Zarfl and Matthies 2010), who continues to state that plastic litter accounts for 10% of municipal waste worldwide. On the sea and coasts, plastic litter is mainly primary or secondary packaging consisting mainly of plastic bags, cups, bottles, feminine hygiene products and polystyrene (Clark, 2001). In 2009 a research project was performed on ‘every day’ commodities which contain micro plastics, revealing that a majority of facial cleansers now contain polyethylene micro plastics (Fendall and Sewell, 2009). The five main high production plastics that constitute for 90% of the total demand are: Polyethylene (LDPE and HDPE), Polypropylene (PP), Polyethylene Terephtalate (PET), Polyvinylchoride (PVC) and Polystyrene (PS) (Andrady and Neal, 2009).

Identifying the source of plastic debris is a complicated task due to the considerable amount of ways it could have entered the beach sediment. The source of some items can be accurately identified, and may be attributed with a high level of confidence to one of six specific sources: public, fishing, sewage related debris (SRD), shipping, fly tipped, or medical (MCA, 2009). An additional category is used for items that are unidentifiable (non-sourced). This is because these items have either degraded too much, or have come from a multitude of sources.

1.4 Micro-plastic fibres and the Marine Environment

Plastics that are <5mm are classified as micro-plastic fibres (Brown et al 2009). This was first introduced in September 2008 where the first International Conference of the newly recognised microplastic concern was sponsored by the U.S National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. Six countries were involved and agreed to define the term micro plastics as “plastic pieces or fragments smaller than 5 millimetres” (Betts , 2008)

Micro plastics are usually the remains of macro plastics that are impervious to biodegradation (Thompson, 2004). Mechanical processes such as photo degradation by UV rays and wave abrasion can breakdown plastics into smaller particles (Klemchuck, 1990). Some plastics are susceptible to biodegradation due to containing matter such as starch which degrades but still leaves the micro-plastic fragments behind (Thompson et al, 2004). Micro plastic fibres can be from a number of sources. In a research project by Thompson et al (2004) FT-IR spectroscopy was used which discovered 9 conclusive polymers recognized as: acrylic, alkyd, poly (ethylene:propylene), polyamide (nylon), polyester, polyethylene, polymethlacrylate, polypropylene and polyvinyl-alcohol. They were present in marine sediment, including estuarine, sub-tidal, and sandy beaches. These types of polymers can be associated with larger macro plastics such as rope, clothes, and packaging. This further suggests according to Thompson et al (2004) that micro plastics are the result of mechanical breakdown.

In addition to mechanical breakdown, micro plastics enter the marine environment through accidental loss. This can happen during manufacturing and transport before entering the production phase such as in resin pellets and powders (Moore et al 2008). A study by Ashton et al (2010) found that in SW England, pellets were generally 3-5mm in diameter, out of 30 resin pellets identified, 29 were of polyethylene origin, with the remaining pellet being nylon. Plastic particles (fragments, fibres, and pellets) have been found in a study by Doyle et al (2010) to be widely distributed in the surface waters of the North East Pacific coastal ecosystems. Temporal and spatial variability in the quantities sampled were evident. The study also found that plastic fragments < 2.5mm were identified as the main contaminant in the pelagic ecosystems. These were assumed to be related to the mechanical breakdown from larger fragments with a widespread distribution due to ocean currents. These studies and various others such as Thompson et al (2004); Moore (2008) have shown the presence of micro plastic debris in the marine environment. However, to date there are no standardized methods for collecting, identifying, and quantifying micro-plastics in environmental samples. There is also no consistent terminology used to describe the issue between individual marine species and the encounter rates with plastic particles (Doyle et al, 2010).

1.5 The Chemical Effects of Plastic on Marine Biota

The most evident impact plastic has on marine organisms from birds to plankton is physical entanglement and ingestion of plastic resulting in suffocation and starvation (Laist, 1987, Clark, 2001 and Thompson et al, 2004). Evidence of fragmented plastic in the marine environment allows for ingestion by a broader range of organisms (Barnes et al, 2008). Research on Great Shearwaters as mentioned by Zarfl and Matthies (2010) indicated a relationship between chemical burden and ingestion. This research led to the theory that the consumption and ingestion of plastic debris may transfer toxins through biota (Teuten etal, 2009).

In the marine environment, micro plastics are known to absorb and concentrate contaminants (Mato et al. 2001). These can become several orders of magnitude more concentrated on the surface of the debris than in the surrounding seawater (Mato et al. 2001). Plastic contains organic contaminants which include: polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs), polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons, petroleum hydrocarbons, organochlorine pesticides (2,2?-bis(p-chlorophenyl)-1,1,1-trichloroethane, hex chlorinated hexanes), polybrominated diphenylethers, alkyl phenols and biphenyl A (Teuten et al, 2009). A number of these additives are known to be, submitted during the manufacturing process. These antioxidants, stabilizers, flame-retardants and phthalate plasticizers create a unique property to each plastic (Thompson et al, 2009, Teuten, 2009). Additives and organic compounds can also be absorbed into the plastic from the immediate seawater (hydrophobic chemicals) (Thompson et al, 2009, Teuten, 2009). Plasticizers end up in the environment as they are not especially stable in the plastic product and leach out (Staple et al 1997). Biphenyl- A (BPA) degrades rapidly. However due to its frequent appearance in aquatic ecosystems through point discharges such as landfill leachate and sewage treatment plant effluent, it is continually released into the environment (Oehelmann et al 2009).

Reports have indicated that BPA and phthalates bio concentration factors (BCF) in invertebrates are typically higher than those in vertebrates. A study carried out by the European Union in 2003. Found that the Bis(2-ethylhexyl)phthalates (DEHP) bioaccumulation factor is between 42 and 82 in variety of fish species, but in the amphipod Gammarus psuedolimnaueus BFC was 3600. In Mytilus edulis BFC was 2500 and up to 5380 in the copepod Acartia tonsa. This indicated that suspension feeders that are fixed to their habitats are more likely to consume pollutants.

The effects phthalates had on biochemical pathways such as antioxidant and proximal marker enzymes in M. edulis and M.galloprovincialis showed that exposure to diallyl phthalate (DAP) reduced phosphor-protein levels and raised micronuclei frequency. This was a marker for genotoxicity and fragmented – apoptic cells in the gills (Barsiene et al, 2006). Furthermore in a study carried out by Tagatz et al (1986) Di-n-butyl phthalate (DBP) altered community structure and colonisation profiles of zoomicrobenthos in both laboratory and field conditions with up to a 49-97% reduction in the density of molluscs and echinoderms.

Studies of the impacts of BPA on bivalves particularly in Mytilus species has shown increased; phosphor-protein levels, induced spawning in both sexes, damaged oocytes and ovarian follicles (Aarab et al, 2006) and increased micronuclei frequency in gill cells (Barsiene et al, 2006). BPA also caused a significant effect in the haemolymph. That initiates a lysomal membrane destabilization in extracted haemocytes in M.galloprovicialis (Canasie et al 2007). BPA has furthermore caused alterations in phosphorylation of MAP kinases, which is essential in embryogenesis, cell growth, differentiation, and apoptosis (Canasie et al 2007). The outcome of these studies may suggest considerable implications for the health of mussel species (Oehelmann et al 2009).

The majority of past literature which has been published on plastic debris concentrates on the distribution of plastics and classification. Research by Mato et al (2001) found that contaminants adsorb to plastics. This illustrates potential for indirect effects of debris ingestion. Microplastics have recently been identified as marine pollutants of significant concern, due to their persistence, ubiquity and potential act as vectors to transfer and expose persistent organic pollutants (POP’s) to marine organisms (Obard and Ng, 2005).

1.6 Transfer of Contaminants from Plastics to Lower Trophic Organisms

Research was conducted on lugworms, Arenicola marina by Thompson et al (2004). They assessed the ability of micro plastics to transport contaminants to benthic organisms. The experiment exposed a priority pollutant phenathrene (a PAH), tetrabromodiphenyl ether (a PBDE), triclosan (antimicrobial) and NP to microscopic PVC particles, at environmentally appropriate concentrations. Sediment containing these plastics was exposed to A.marina. The result of the trial indicated that the contaminant concentrations were significantly higher than in the sediment. This demonstrated that contaminants can be transported from plastic to organism. However the mechanism remains unclear (Thompson 2004–2007, unpublished data). Additional research by Thompson et al (2004) shows that a variety of organisms with differing feeding habits (sediment feeders, filter feeders), have all shown to ingest plastic fragments/ fibres. The results of these trials indicates that ingestion of contaminant-sorbed plastics, have the potential to be a pathway of contaminant transport to benthic organisms.

Studies conducted by Brown et al (2009) revealed that micro plastics that were ingested by the bivalve M.edulis persisted in the circulatory system >48 days. Larger numbers of smaller plastics were discovered in the actual circulatory tissue. It is important here to highlight the scarcity of research and the rarity of studies concentrating on the biological impacts of marine micro plastic on invertebrates. Thompson et al (2005) stressed the importance that further research is needed to focus on micro plastic ingestion and bioaccumulation in food chains. This could help to better appreciate the effects of interactions on the level of organism impacts, before extrapolating to ecosystem level impacts of micro plastics (Arthur et al, 2008).

A study undertaken by Teuten et al (2007) investigated the potential for plastics to; transport hydrophobis contaminants and establish the importance that plastics may play in the global distribution of hydrophobic contaminants. It was discovered that there is potential for plastics to transport contaminants to organisms. A priority pollutant phenathrene was also observed to be ingested by the common lugworm A, Marina, which is a benthic deposit feeder. Given the high capacity of plastics to sorb phenanthrene and that A. Marina is at the base of the food chain, eaten by numerous other species. The contamination of A Marina presented high potential to transfer contaminants through the food web (Thompson et al 2004). The presence of small amounts of plastic fibres could also result in a large increase of concentrations of hydrophobic contaminants in the sediment (Teuten et al, 2007). The sea surface microlayer (SML) or neustion layer where hydrophobic contaminants can be concentrated by up to 500 times that of the underlying water column (Mato et al, 2001), it is also one of the main parts of the ocean in which micro plastics accumulate (Mato et al, 2001). Plastics could therefore become an important factor in contaminant transport at a global scale.

1.7 Floating micro plastics: Global Transportation for POP’S, Invasive/Alien Species

Depending on the polymer type and additives the micro plastics position in the water body either; floats on or near the ocean surface, suspended at mid- depth or sinks to the sea bed. The density of the water is also a variable (Gordon 2006). As many plastics are less dense than water they float on the surface micro layer (SML). The high concentrations of POP’s in this layer are available >500 times greater than the underlying water column (Teuten et al 2007). The potential impacts of POP’s have been discussed however micro plastics due to their buoyant nature may also provide a transport mechanism for contaminants globally (Derraik, 2002; Thompson et al 2004). There are reports that plastic debris including micro plastics could also transport invasive and alien species (Derraik, 2002; Moore, 2001) species such as bacteria, diatoms, algae, barnacles, serpulids, hydroids, tunicates and bryozoans (Winston, 1982; Derraik, 2002). These species could pose serious harmful impacts on native biodiversity on a global scale to intertidal and shoreline ecosystems (Gordon 2006). A report by Derraik (2002) suggests a possible decrease of 58% in global marine species biodiversity, if the worldwide biotic mixing continues to rise. An example is of the bryozoans Membranipora tuberculata which has been transported from the Tasman Sea (Australia) to New Zealand on plastic pellets (Gregory, 1978). The same species has been discovered on plastics which have been stranded on the shores of the USA, Derraik (2002) states their abundance has increased worldwide. Though in a study by Moore et al (2001) in the North Pacific Central Gyre <10% of micro plastics researched was host to the bryozoan Membranipora tuberculata. Floating plastics combined with other sources of debris can also cause severe issues regarding water quality, obstructing the growth of marine vegetation, decreasing spawning areas and habitats for marine organisms (Gordon, 2006).

1.8 Transport and Distribution

The understanding of micro-plastic spatial, temporal distribution and its abundance in the oceans environment (water, sediment, and biota) is still in its infancy (Le, 2010; NOAA, 2011). Larger plastic fragments have been persistantly recorded since the 1960’s in environments from the poles to the equator (Derraik, 2002). Smaller plastics have been recorded but with less attention and understanding in methods such as how to quantify the full spectrum of micro-plastic materials present (Thompson, 2004). In the UK on South Wales sedimentary beach habitats Williams and Turner (2001) reported that 63% of debris was represented by plastics (Derraik, 2002). In comparison Thompson et al (2004) reports that the beaches surrounding Plymouth using FT-IR spectroscopy identified ~60% of debris were synthetic polymers which included arcylic, alkyd, poly (ethylene: propylene), polymide (nylon), polyesters, polyethylene, polymethyacrylate, polypropylene and polyvinyl-alcohol.

The physical qualities of plastics floatation and hydrodynamics (dicussed in section 1.8) advocates that plastic debris can be transported and distributed through the oceans surface currents. Oceanic effects are important controls of the movement and weathering of plastic debris. The properties and durability of the polymers are also variables (Pichel et al, 2008). The haline and cooling properties of the ocean interfere with the UV degradation process. Which indicates that plastics have a longer degradation time in the marine environment (Barnes et al, 2011). The fouling of organisms happens relatively quickly therefore plastic debris become sheltered from UV light making it more persistant (Barnes et al, 2011). This was highlighted in a report by Wiess et al (2006) where plastic by an albtross had originated from a plane which had been shot 60 years prior over 9600 km away.

The abundance of plastic debris in a study by Brown et al (2011) shows that location is a significant factor. Brown et al (2011) reported values of 0-7290 plastic items per hectare in the south West Atlantic and Atlantic sector of the Southern ocean. The Mediterranean showed the greatest densities. They concluded this is due to densly populated coastlines and shipping lanes. This combined with a poor dispersion of the plastics due to the limited tidal flow or water circulation (Brown et al, 2011). In comparison in areas of low circulation bottom plastic debris becomes trapped in high concentrations of sediment. This gathers in frontal areas. The debris could have travelled extensive distances only sinking under weight of fouling by a diversity of of bacteria, algae, animals and accumulative sediment (Brown et al, 2011). Plastic debris can also be consumed by organisms. This undigested in faecal matter in turn settles to the bottom (Doyle, 2009). Doyle (2009) reported that fisheries could be an example of this. A report by GESAMP (1990) suggested that 80% of marine pollution is sourced from land based activities and the majority of beaches near population centres are contaminated with a variety of plastic remains that are washed up from the ocean, contributed by rivers, ships and outfalls, dumped by illegal garbage operators or left behind by beach users.

It is liable that the majority of plastics that have entered the marine environment have continually occured as polymers. Few of which can fully degrade in the marine environment (Andrady 2009). Despite this the absolute quantaties and distribution are uncertain due to the in consistency of verified samples and analytical methods.

1.9 Marine Debris: Control and Legislation

Marine pollution is a local, national, regional and international concern therefore management and policy needs to be implemented at these varying levels. These also need to be adopted to the appropriate systems such as terrestrial and marine based sources of pollution. The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea was opened for signature at Montego Bay, Jamaica, on 10 December 1982. It went into force on 14 November 1994 and is presently binding for 154 States, as well as the European Community. Its objective was to protect and preserve the marine environment which established a complete framework governing principles and responsabilities for land and sea based pollution (GESAMP, 2010) to protect human health and the environment.

The Ship and platform-based litter MARPOL 73/78 Annex V which is a section of the International Convention for the Prevention of Pollution from Ships, 1973, as modified by the Protocol of 1978 (IMO, 2010) it is an international treaty which provides a comprehensive approach to dealing with ocean dumping. It has creating international guidelines for pollution prevention from ships. Annex V prohibits the disposal of plastic and regulates the disposal of other types of rubbish at sea. This convention as of the 31st July 2010, has support of 140 countries which have rartified annex V controlling the disposal of plastics and garbage in the ocean. MARPOL Annex V has also designated ‘Special Areas’ depending on the sites unique oceanographic, ecological or traffic conditions. Where all overboard discharges and garbage are prohited with the exception of ground up food waste. To date MARPOL has enlisted 9 special areas which include; Mediteranean Sea, Baltic Sea, Black Sea, Red Sea, Persian Gulf, Gulf of Aden North Sea, Antarctic area and the wider Caribbean (GESAMP, 2010). A revision of Annex V commenced in 2006 and MEPC produced a submission containing a new draft proposal which was labelled “IMO’s Marine Environment Protection Commitee 61st session in October 2010”. This overview could adopt a strenghtening in regulations (GESAMP, 2010).

The Global Environmental Facility, Tranboundary Water Assessment Programme (GEF-TWAP) is expected to begin in 2011-2014. The objectives are to develope an indicator based methodology for assessment of transboudary water systems. Which include open oceans,large marine ecosytems, rivers,lakes and groundwater. In addition, to develope partenships with UN and other agencies and the arrangements for the conduct of a global assessment of transboundary waters. If conducted this project would also allow for the priorotation of interventions and allocation for finacial resources (GESAMP, 2010).

The 1996 Protocol refers to the 1972. Convention on the Prevention of Marine Pollution by Dumping of Wastes or Other Matter. It is also known as the London Convention.
This convention prohibits the dumping of all waste except for a restricted group of materials. Then only when it can be established that there are no practical opportunities for reuse or recycling, and that the effects of dumping on the marine environment will be minor (IMO,2010)
The 1996 protocol classifies pollutants into black and grey lists, where black is substances that are toxic, persistant and bio accumulate, in contrast the grey list are those substances which are non-toxic, are persistant and are able to float or remain suspended in the water colum where their is potential interference with the marine environment (GESAMP 2010). These pollutants are controlled and cannot be dumped in the sea other than in trace quantities. Plastic debris according to GESAMP (2010) is enough of a threat to the marine environment to be a black listed pollutant.

The 1998 OSPAR Convention Protection of the Marine Environment of the North East Atlantic safeguarded specific areas. The European Union has water-protection law (directives) that apply to all of its member states. They include the 1976 Bathing Water Directive, which seeks to ensure the quality of the waters that people use for recreation. Most countries also have their own water pollution laws. In the United States, for example, there is the 1972 Water Pollution Control Act and the 1974 Safe Drinking Water Act (European Commission, 2006).

Section 2: Aims and Objectives

1. To survey the micro plastic fibre distribution in the West Cornwall area (North Coast Carbis Bay and South Coast Marazion).

2. To quantify the abundance and investigate the factors that affect accumulation of microscopic plastic fibres.

3. To identify the types of plastic polymers and potential sources of contamination.

4. Assess the potential environmental consequences of micro plastic fibre contamination within UKbeaches.

5.To assess the consistency of existing techniques by:

i) Determining the percentage of micro fibres lost during Petri dish storage.

ii) Using standard blanks to identify possible contamination routes in the laboratory.

Section 2 Study Area

The county of Cornwall has a temperate Oceanic climate (Koppen Climate Classification: CFB) due to its southerly latitude and the influence of the Gulf Stream (Met Office, 2000a). The mean annual temperature varies between 11.6 °C (53 °F) (Met Office, 2000a). The geographical position Cornwall (Appendice 1) is in, experiences related forcing factors; the North coast is exposed to the Celtic Sea and the South coast is similarly exposed to the English Channel. In both cases the wind direction is predominately blowing in from the Atlantic at a south westerly direction (Met Office, 2000b). The tidal patterns for both the North and South coast follow a related semi diurnal trend. Cornwalls deep water rias that provide sheltered harbours and anchorages along the South coast were shaped from the height of the last ice age where Cornwall’s rivers cut long deep valleys and as the ice sheets melted the sea levels rose flooding the estuaries creating rias (Wildlife Trust, 2011).The coastline of the UK covers an area of ~10708 km (Gibson et al, 2001). A 700 km of this coastline belongs to Cornwall’s 300 beaches (Cornwall Development Company, 2010). The Southwest sustains over 60% of the UK’s Heritage Coast and supports a significant proportion of The UK’s designated bathing waters (EA, 2010). The area is also important for rare and endangered habitats (EA, 2010). In addition due to Cornwall’s natural and cultural heritage supports significant economic developments in fisheries and tourism (Bradfield et al, 1976). Other local recreation such as surfing and sailing is generic of the coasts in the county.

2.1 Marazion: Top Tieb beach

Grid Reference: SW 52313 3058

Marazion Top Tieb (Plate 1) beach is situated on the South West coast of Cornwall. The South coast is more sheltered and is interrupted by many rias providing deep water harbours. Top Teib beach is east from the main tourist (blue flag) beach of Marazion, it has no parking facilities and is used mainly by dog walkers and anglers. The harbour, known as Top Tieb, was built in the late 1920s to provide a landing place for boats to and from St Michael’s Mount. The entrance is difficult to access and is only accessible 1-2 hours either side of high tide in the summer. On observation the beach has a shallow seabed and is a mixture of shingles, rocky pools, and soft fine sand. The ecology of the area is reasonably diverse with many residential birds such as the wader Haematopus ostralegus (Oyster catcher) which feeds on bivalves such as Mytlis edullis, Cerastoderma edule (common cockle) and worms such as Arenicola marina (lug worm) which are present in the area.

Plate 1, Marazion Top Tieb beach

The beach is sheltered from the full impact of the Atlantic wind due to the granite outcrops jutting out into the ocean dissipating the strength, however wind action from storms created at sea still create substantial crests. The surrounding cliff which is either occupied on top by farmland or residential gardens is sedimentary which is constantly eroded by high tides and wind abrasion. Plastic pollution was evident on site including; plastic bottles, caps, nets and crates.

2.2 Carbis Bay

Grid Reference: 52983 38922

The North coast is more exposed to the prevailing winds from the Atlantic Ocean than the South coast and is more uneven, with sheer cliffs and steep valleys. Carbis Bay however is a mile or so to the east of St Ives and is relatively sheltered with a relatively calm sea as result of this and Carbis Bay has good bathing waters and is very popular for windsurfing and water-skiing. The shore is a soft sand sedimentary bay. Though the site does not to appear as diverse in wildlife as Top Teib it is a popular coastal walk to spot basking sharks, grey seals, and bottle-nose dolphins.

Plate 2 Carbis Bay beach

Carbis Bay (Plate 2) is approximately 1 mile length. The centre of the beach homes many facilities such as cafes, shop and a car park. The Carbis Bay Hotel has extensive grounds leading down to the edge of the beach. Being north by northeast facing, the beach rarely gets surf and is mainly a family friendly beach. Away from the centre, the beach meanders away to rocky edges. The east side of the beach, at low tide, can dry out to connect with the RSPB bird sanctuary beach of Porthkidney Sands. The beach benefits from an annual beach clean and dog walking is prohibited during the summer period. On site there was no clear plastic pollution, this is most likely due to the annual cleans. For a comprehensive geographical location of Cornwall refer to Appendices 1.

Section 4 Methodology

4.1 Sediment sampling

Using PLASSOP guidelines (Appendices 2) to measure the amount of micro plastic fibres contained in the sub-littoral sediment 5 sample sites were chosen at the strandline of both locations using a metal trowel. The sub sites were set 25 meters apart (Plate 3, Marazion), see Appendices 5 for Carbis Bay, 3 subsamples (450g container) were extracted from each site collecting at random spots within an arm length diameter giving a fair representation of micro plastics from those sites.

Plate 3 Satellite image of top teib beach, illustrating 5 sample sites (25 meters apart), map sourced with permission from Bing (2010) Microsoft Corporation

From each 450g container of sediment the micro plastics were separated from the sediment through a filtration method. Using a saline solution NaCl (260g), 1L deionised H2Oto create buoyancy which aided floatation to micro plastics and other low density materials. Then 50g of the sediment was added to 100ml of the saline solution into a 250ml separation funnel (Figure 1). This was manually oscillated for 1 minute and left to stand for a further minute. After which the sediment was drained from the funnel and collected in a beaker. The remaining supernatant was then filtered using a Buchner funnel and Whatman GF/A filters (Fig 2a; b) with the aid of a vacuum pump to accelerate the process.

The filters were placed and labelled in Petri-dishes and covered to prevent contamination and left to dry at room temperature (~20°C). The same sediment was re-suspended a further 2 more times. The process was repeated using the same process resulting in 3 filter papers per sample of sediment. With a fourth control filtration for every set of 3 filters processed. Therefore from each 450g container 3x50g were analysed the labelling strategy was: for Marazion, MZ A1, A2, A3, B1, B2, B3, C1, C2, C3 and similar for Carbis Bay (CB).

Figure 1 (a) Separation funnels

4.2 Microscopic Analysis and FT-IR spectroscopy

Using a microscope (x 30) plastic fragments / fibres were identified and removed from the petri dish. Using precision forceps and transferred to new filter papers and Petri-dishes to be counted, circled, and stored. The micro-plastic polymers were identified with the use of the Fourier Transform Infrared (FT-IR) spectroscopy. Infrared radiation was passed through the sample where infrared radiation, absorbed and transmitted through the sample. This resulted in a molecular fingerprint represented by absorption and transmission. Similar to a fingerprint no two unique molecular structures generate the same infrared spectrum (Thermo Nicolet Corporation, 2001) which makes it useful in identifying different groups of compounds.

Figure 2 (a) Buchner funnel and vacuum pump, (b) Whatman GF/A filters.

The Brucker IFS 66 (Fig 3a) instrument was used to apply this principle. Micro plastic polymers were identified using the nearest common spectra of known compound polymers and matching them to the sample spectra polymers in an electronic library database (Thompson, 2004) (Fig 3b).

Figure 3 (a) FT-IR device, (b) Matching the sample spectra polymer in an electronic library database; red line represents the fibre sample being analysed, blue line represents spectra match on library database.

Section 4 Results

4.1 Microplastic abundance

The quantities of micro plastic fibre determined in sediments from both locations are shown below (Table 1). Due to time constraints and lack of access to sufficient equipment and the high numbers of micro plastics discovered in each Petri dish only 2 (A1 and B1) of each 3 sites at Marazion and Carbis Bay could be analysed. The sub sites were analysed for the total micro plastics found, mean and standard deviation.

Table 1 Microplastic fibre count from Marazion and Carbis Bay, showing mean, standard deviation (stdev) and total

MarazionCarbis Bay
Sub sitesSite 1Site 2Site 3Site 1Site 2Site 3
Subsamples(petridish)(50 g-1sediment)
A110861278
B110114948
A114138945
B1111713111310
A11212891112
B16861068
Mean10.511.57.510.07.58.5
Stdev2.73.43.11.33.72.3
Total636945604551

Table 2 Total micro plastic fibre abundance and percentage of fibres at each location

SiteTotal micro plastic fibre abundanceMicro plastic fibre %
Marazion17753.15
Carbis Bay15646.84
Total micro plastic fibres333

The microplastic fibres found at both locations as represented in Table 1 and Table 2 show that there is clear microplastic fibre concentrations which contaminate the littoral zone sediment.

4.2 Micro plastic statistical analysis

A box plot (Fig 4) was created on Minitab15 indicating the mean distribution of micro plastics concentrations of Marazion and Carbis Bay. The box plot shows that there does not seem to be any significant difference in the mean distribution of micro plastic between the two locations nor micro plastic abundance.

Figure 4, box plot indentifying mean micro plastic abundance and spread between M=Marazion and C=Carbis Bay

Firstly; to identify any significant difference in the mean value of spread between each site (Site1, Site 2, and Site 3) on each location an Analysis of Variance (ANOVA) test was performed in Excel using the following Hypothesis:

Null Hypothesis (H0): The underlying population of microplastic concentrations at Marazion follows a normal distribution

versus

Alternative Hypothesis (H1): The underlying population of microplastic concentrations at Marazion does not follow a normal distribution

Anova: Single Factor :Marazion

SUMMARY
GroupsCountSumAverageVariance
Column 166310.57.1
Column 266911.511.5
Column 36457.59.5

ANOVA
Source of VariationSSdfMSFP-valueF crit
Between Groups522262.7758007120.0942633.68232
Within Groups140.5159.36666667

Total192.517

Table 3 ANOVA of single factor indicating P value between the sites 1, 2, and 3 taken from Marazion

It was found that the P-value = 0.09426 which is greater than P-value: 0.05: Therefore can conclude that there is not sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis indicating that the underlying populations of microplastic concentrations at Marazion are normally distributed.

The same test was performed for Carbis Bay using the following hypothesis:

Null Hypothesis (H0): The underlying population of micro plastic concentrations at Carbis Bay follows a normal distribution in general

versus

Alternative Hypothesis (H1): The underlying population of micro plastic concentrations at Carbis Bay does not follow a normal distribution in general

Anova: Single Factor: Carbis Bay

SUMMARY
GroupsCountSumAverageVariance
Column 1660101.6
Column 26457.513.9
Column 36518.55.5

ANOVA
Source of VariationSSdfMSFP-valueF crit
Between Groups1929.51.3571428570.2872483.68232
Within Groups105157

Total12417

Table 4 ANOVA of single factor indicating the P value between sites 1, 2 and 3 taken from Carbis Bay

It was found that the P-value = 0.28724 which is greater than P-value: 0.05: Therefore it can be concluded, that there is not sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis indicating that the underlying populations of micro plastic concentrations at Carbis Bay are normally distributed.

To identify if there was any significant difference in the mean population of micro plastics between the two locations (Marazion and Carbis Bay) a two sampled mean test assuming equal variance (T-test) was performed with the following hypothesis:

H0: There is no significant difference between the mean underlying population of micro plastic concentrations at Carbis Bay and Marazion in general

versus

H1: There is significant difference between the underlying population of micro plastic concentrations at Carbis Bay and Marazion in general.

t-Test: Two-Sample Assuming Equal Variances

MarazionCarbis Bay
Mean9.8333333338.666666667
Variance11.323529417.294117647
Observations1818
Pooled Variance9.308823529
Hypothesized Mean Difference0
df34
t Stat1.147151152
P(T<=t) one-tail0.129663878 t Critical one-tail1.690924198 P(T<=t) two-tail0.259327756 t Critical two-tail2.032244498

Table 5, T-test of two sample means assuming equal variance indicating the P value between the means of the two locations, Marazion and Carbis Bay

It was found that the P-value= 0.259327756 which is greater than P-value: 0.05: Therefore it can be concluded, that there is not sufficient evidence to reject the null hypothesis indicating that the underlying populations of micro plastic concentrations at Carbis Bay and Marazion are not significantly different and in general it can be assumed they are the same. Figure 5 shows the overlap of means which further suggests there is no significant difference between sites.

Figure 5, T-test of two sample means indicating overlap of distribution

4.2 Polymer Identity

Of the 339 fibres counted, 144 were identified using the Infrared Spectroscopy (FT-IR). This found that 46% of these were true-plastic, 20% part plastic (semi-synthetic), and 34% non-plastic, as indicated in Figure 6a.

Figure 6. (a) Total percentage of polymer identity broken down between true plastic, part plastic and non-plastic, (b) Total of individual polymers broken down into true plastic, part plastic and non-plastic

Figure 7 (a) Representing the total breakdown percentage of true microplastic fibres found at both locations, (b) A radar chart representing individual microplastic fibres found at both locations

From this data it is clear to identify as a percentage (Fig 6a) and individually (Fig 6b) that the true plastic is the most abundant micro plastic fibre on the littoral zone sediment, followed by non-plastic and semi plastic. True plastic abundance is represented in (Figure 7a; b) where the polymers have been broken down and indentified as acrylic (PMMA), nylon, acetate, polyamide, polyester, polyethylene terephthalate (PET) and Petlon 4630..

The non-plastics were the second most abundant (36%) cellulose rayon fibre as shown in Figure 8a; b was found by far to have the highest concentrations overall. Which included; rayon tire chord 1650, viscose rayon filament, rayon staple, rayon monofilament, solution dyed rayon, and other cellulosic fibres that could relate to feminine hygiene products. Linen which was the second most abundant was recorded as natural pink linen, also identified was 70% rayon 30% rayon blend and white glass.

Figure 8 (a) Percentage of non-plastic polymers identified from both locations (b) Overall count of non-plastic polymers, from both figures the cellulose rayon fibre is most abundant.

Figure 9 (a) Percntage of overall semi-synthetic polymer fibres found at both locations (b) Overall count of semi-synthetic polymer fibers found at both locations

Figure 10, indicating the percentage of true plastics at (a) Marazion (b) Carbis Bay

Figure 11 Percentage of Non-plastic polymers found on (a) Marazion (b) Carbis Bay

The third most abundant as shown in Figure 6a;b is the semi-synthetic polymer fibre blend. Which found that the most profuse indicated in Figure 12a; b was the; 73% acrylic 23% wool blend followed by 55% silk 30% nylon 15% angora sweater and the least abundant padded envelope filler.Figure 12 Percentage of semi-synthetic polymers identified at (a) Marazion (b) Carbis Bay

From the data collected the percentage ratio of true plastics was relatively uniform between the sample locations however as shown in Figure 10a; 10b the percentage of polyethylene is significantly higher (almost double) of that found at Marazion. Also illustrated is the high percentage of nylon and acrylic polymer fibres found at Marazion. The percentages of non-plastics between both site locations appear to have no obvious differences between cellulosic rayon fibre and linen. However the sample site Carbis Bay has concentrations of 70% rayon 30% linen blend and padded envelope filler as indicated in Figure 12a; b. For semi-synthetic polymer fibres the 73% acrylic 23% wool blend appears to be the most abundant at Marazion. Whilst at Carbis Bay the concentrations of 55% silk 30% nylon 15% angora sweater blend and padded envelope filler are greater.

4.3 Control Results

A total of 18 blank control samples were analysed for contamination of polymers from the sample sites. The fibres were found, calculated and recognised using FT-IR spectroscopy therefore confirming risk of contamination and identifying potential sources.

Table 6 Blank controls of polymer identity and abundanceFigure 13 Percentage of blank control polymers

The results in Table 6 confirm the risk of contamination during the filtration process; however the blank controls do indicate that the total values were a very small percentage (1.20%) compared to the typical overall polymer fibres evaluated. As indicated Figure 13 above the main contaminant indentified was 70% rayon 30% linen blend which was found with the Carbis Bay blank filtration papers as was the rayon staple. Viscose rayon was indentified in relation to the Marazion blank filtration papers.

Section 5 Discussion

5.1 Fibre abundance

Initial results using the ANOVA test as mentioned in section 4 concluded that the total micro plastic fibre abundance throughout each individual location were normally distributed (Table 3, 4) This was also consistent with the follow up t-test analysis (Table 5) supporting the Null hypothesis; The micro plastic fibres between all site locations has no significant difference in distribution.

The most evident explanation for this similarity in distribution may be due to the geographical position of both locations which experience related forcing factors; the North coast is exposed to the Celtic Sea and the South coast is similarly exposed to the English Channel, where in both cases the wind direction is predominately blowing in from the Atlantic at a south westerly direction (Met Office (b), 2000). The tidal patterns for both the North and South coast follow a related semi diurnal trend. Shipping routes throughout the Atlantic Ocean, Celtic Sea and English Channel are habitual of the Cornish coast and consistently increasing (Fig 14) this corresponds with the global trend in the shipping trade (McElvaine, 2009).

Figure 14 indicating the location of major shipping ports and the increase in world imports sourced with permission John Vidal (2008)

Cornwall has significant economic developments in fisheries and tourism (Bradfield et al, 1976). This is generic of the coasts in the county. Illustrated in Figure 15 are the results from the UK Beach Survey (2009), indicating the major potential sources, of plastic pollution in different regions. It is clear in the Southwest that public and fishing variables are the main factors which attribute to plastic pollution.

Figure 15, Diagram depicts the amounts and sources of pollution found in different regions of the UK sourced with permission from the UK Beach Watch Survey Report (2009)

Similar forcing actions are assumed to be the most fitting explanation for the hypothesis. There is no significant distribution between micro plastic concentrations between the locations. However as only two locations were reviewed the data sets may have been too diminutive for a truthful analysis. The overall amount of micro plastic fibres discovered were a larger percentage of the total microfibres found (Fig 6). In addition the sample size of 50g of sediment is minute compared to the vast volume of sediment found at any one beach. The method of identification was also initially based on being able to differentiate the fibres by appearance. Which were usually brightly coloured and fibrous, this is thought to represent a small proportion of the micro plastic fibres in the environment. Further research into accurately quantifying the total fibres present is recommended (Thompson et al, 2009). Research carried out by Sea Education Association1986-2008 has reported on plastic micro debris being present in the waters from the British Isles to Iceland (Law, 2010).

Annual accumulation of all marine debris (predominantly plastic) on shores of selected islands with year.

Figure 16 Annual accumulation of all marine debris (predominantly plastic) on shores of selected islands with year. Data for Bird I. and Signy I. are from Walker et al. (1997); Convey et al. (2002) and CCAMLR. Data for Tern I. are from Morishige et al. (2007) and for the UK from Beachwatch 2006 (MCS 2007). Sourced with permission from Barnes D K A et al. Phil. Trans. R. Soc. B 2009;364:1985-1998

Figure 7 Update of of Beachwatch Survey (2009) which effectivelyillustrates beach litter levels have been steadily increasing since 1994, despite yearly variations sourced from with permission Beachwatch 2009 (MCS, 2011)

Studies by Thompson et al; 2004; 2006, Brown 2009; Scontus, 2011, Travis, 2011; Colton, 1974; have also conclusively shown evidence of micro plastic debris in the marine environment. Figure 15 illustrates plastic debris that have been found in the Antarctic, Sub-Antarctic, Tropical Pacific Ocean and the Temporal Atlantic. The Quantities of plastic debris appear to have stabilised. However this could indicate that inputs of plastic debris may be declining but the debris already in the ocean is continually being deposited on the shore or seabed (Brown et al, 2011). Figure 17 illustrates that plastic debris is steadily increasing on the shorelines of the UK despite annual variations (MCS. 2011).

Despite the vast institution of study sites, irregularity of sampling, differing protocol and observers, has resulted in a very small amount of datasets spanning for more than a decade (Barnes & Milner 2005). Therefore the distribution of plastic particles in the marine environment is fundamentally lacking in research (GESAMP, 2010).

5.2 Microfibre Identitity

The majority of microscopic fibres identified using FT-IR spectroscopy demonstrated in Figure 6 showed that true plastics were the most persistent overall with polyethylene contributing to the highest concentrations (35%). Polyethylene was discovered in 1933 by Reginald Gibson and Eric Fawcett at the Imperial Chemical Industries (ICI). Which was evolved into two forms, low density polyethylene (LDPE) and high density polyethylene (LDPE), polyethylene is cheap, flexible, durable, and chemically resistant and is the most widely used plastic. Polyethylene has an annual production of approximately 80 million metric tons (Piringer and Baner, 2008). LDPE is used to make films and packaging materials, including plastic bags while HDPE is used more often to make containers, and automotive fittings.

Concentrations of polyethylene were highest at Carbis Bay. An explanation of this could be related to tourist activities from the use of plastic drinks bottles, plastic food containers, plastic toiletries bottles, plastic caps / lids, cigarette lighters / tobacco pouches, combs / hair brushes / sunglasses, crisp / sweet / lolly / sandwich wrappers, cutlery / trays / straws / cups, pens, plastic shoes / sandals (MCA Beach Report, 2009). The Carbis Bay and St Ives area are holiday hotspots which have a high reliance on the tourist industry for its economy. This is evident by the high number of tourist related shops and food outlets within the area. The tourist industry makes up around a quarter of the economy estimated to contribute as much as 24% of the County’s GDP (Cornwall Tourism Board). Five million tourists visit Cornwall each year, mostly drawn from within the UK.

Fishing in this area is also an economic foundation on which there is local reliance. There are 1,148 fishermen employed in Cornwall and the Isles of Scilly. Newlyn is the largest fishing port in England, in terms of value. In 2000 landed ?18.1 million of fish (Fishing Industry Task Force, 2010). The primary synthetic compounds used in the fishing industry are polyamide (nylon), polyester, polyethylene, and polypropylene (Pruter, 1987). This could also explain the concentrations of nylon concentrations which were highest at Marazion. Other sources of true plastic fibres identified were varied ‘acetate’. This has industrial uses such as cigarette and other filters and ink reservoirs for fibre tip pens. Each cigarette filter has more than 12 000 white fibres. That contains the delustrant titanium dioxide. The fibres are made of cellulose acetate, a synthetic plastic-like substance. During production a plasticiser, triacetin (glycerol triacetate), is applied to bond the fibres (Pauly et al 2002). In 2009 the Ocean Conservancy data revealed that over three million (3,216,991) cigarette filters were removed internationally from beaches and inland waterways as part of the annual International Coastal Cleanup (ICC, 2009). During the Annual Beachwatch (2009) litter survey a total of 11,670 cigarette filters were found. Ranking it in the top 10 most littered items nationally. This could therefore be a major source of acetate fibre found on the two locations. Polyester, acrylic and polymide were found to be relatively uniform at both locations (Fig 10a; b) these polymers are used in apparel including many forms of clothing, home furnishings: carpets, curtains, draperies, sheets and pillow cases, wall coverings, and upholstery. Other usesare hoses, power belting, ropes and nets, thread, tire cord, auto upholstery and sails (Fibresource, 2010). The potential sources for these polymers as well as from the fishing and tourist industry could be related to shipping (Fig 15) which includes fish boxes, fishing line, fishing net and net pieces < 50 cm, fishing net and net pieces > 50 cm, floats (fishing buoys) / reels, plastic lobster / crab pots and tops rope / cord / string , rubber boots, heavy duty gloves, tyres with holes/rope, fishing weights / hooks and lures (Beach Watch Report 2009). The wide range of sources of identified polymers suggests that the fragments have resulted from the breakdown of larger items (Thompsen et al, 2004).

Out of the non-plastic fibres identified rayon deemed most abundant (Fig 11a; b). This could be due to its many applications; clothing, furnishings and industrial uses in medical surgery products, tie chord and other uses such as feminine hygiene products and diapers ( Fibresource, 2010). The admiral data charts sourced from Edina marine digimap for Carbis Bay and Marazion illustrated outlet pipes from those immediate areas (Appendices 3a,4a) and extended areas (Appendices 3b;4b). However due to the large scale of the coastline the admiral chart could not indicate other possible outlets pipes that could be potential sources for sewage related pollution. Like that of plastics rayon has a highly absorbent quality. That could indicate that it may also have the ability to absorb and transport persistent organic contaminants (Teuten et al, 2007). Rayon manufacture today utilizes the viscose process. This dates to the early 1900s, with most of the growth in production occurring between 1925 and 1955. In the early stage, production was mainly textile filament. The invention of modifiers in 1947 brought on super tire cords and initiated the beginning of the high-performance rayon fibres (Fibresource, 2010). This extensive time in production may also be a contributing factor for the concentrations found. However despite these possible explanations, there was not sufficient data analysed. To establish if micro plastic fibre distribution shows a discrepancy from that of other fibres (semi-synthetic and non-plastic). The micro fibres identified in the blank controls were of rayon and rayon blend origin. This could be from a number of sources. However clothing is thought to be the most plausible explanation for contamination during the separation filtration process.

5.3 Comparison of other studies of micro fibre identity and distribution

As mentioned in the previous section the amount of available comparative data is limited due to for mentioned factors. However research carried out by Thompson et al (2004) who identified micro plastic fibres in sedimentary habitats ranging from 0.5- 6 fibres 50ml-1sediment. It was found that subtidal habitats have significantly higher concentrations. However the abundance was consistent amongst beaches and estuarine habitat types. Out of all micro fibres identified Thompson et al (2004) reported that one third was of true plastic origin. The results in Figure 6 illustrates that true micro plastic abundance is larger than that discovered by Thompson et al, (2004). Where a significant percentage of the overall fibres collected were of true plastic origin.

To assess long-term trends in abundance Thompson et al (2004) also examined plankton species that have been collected consistently since the 1960’s along routes between Aberdeen and the Shetlands; and from Sule Sherry to Iceland. They discovered that plastics were archived with the plankton samples back to the 1960’s but with significant abundance overtime. This can be related to the growth in plastic production (Thompson et al (2004). In the same study it was found that similar polymer types were present in the water column. The research demonstrates the advanced spatial extent and accumulation of plastic as a contaminant (Thompson et al, 2004). This also suggests that polymer density cannot attribute as a major cause influencing distribution. However a change in the type of polymer entering the ocean could affect observed amounts of plastic debris. Density analysis of plastic samples collected at the sea surface showed that 99% were less dense than seawater. These properties were consistent of polyethylene and polypropylene (Moret-Ferguson, 2010; as cited in Lavender-Law et al 2010). This suggests that distribution and abundance within the marine environment consider the polymer type as a variable.

A report by Brown et al (2009) indicates that 80% of plastics in the Tamar valley UK are microscopic particles. In Los Angeles watershed microscopic plastics accounted for 90% of total debris found (Moore et al, 2008). One of the main sources of plastic in the marine environment is thought to be fishing related. As plastic is a major component of fishing materials it appears prevalent in fishing areas (Galgani et al , 2000). Fishing gear was thought to be the dominant source of plastic in Caifornia (Moore and Allen, 2000) in Eastern China up to 72% (Lee et al (2006) and in the Celtic Sea 65% of all debris found were fishing related plastic debris (Galgani et al 2000)

Figure 18 Chart indicating the abundance of microplastics blue bars illustrate Sardinia results purple bars illustrate Cornwall results.

A comparative study only on the abundance of micro plastic fibre was performed with fibres collected from Sardinia Scontus (2011).The above results (Fig 18) suggest that there are higher concentrations of microplastics found at the Sardinian locations compared to that of Cornwall. This could be due to a multitude of factors such as; tourism which is one of the most important revenues of income for many Mediterranean countries. However, tourism has also played major role in the degradation of the coastal and marine environment. Rapid development has been encouraged by Mediterranean governments to support the large numbers of tourists visiting the region each year (Kocasoy, 1995). Who continues to report that this has caused serious disturbance to marine habitats such as erosion and pollution in many places along the Mediterranean coasts. In addition several of the world’s most demanding shipping routes are in the Mediterranean Sea. It is estimated that approximately 220,000 merchant vessels of more than 100 tonnes cross the Mediterranean Sea each year. This is estimated to be around one third of the world’s total merchant shipping. These ships often carry hazardous cargo, which could result in severe damage to the marine environment (Horsman, 1982).

A similar study was conducted by Travis (2011) at the location of Challaborough in Devon UK ( Grid reference: SX 64891 44789). This comparison of data (Fig 19a; b) was useful in illustrating the multitude of micro plastic polymers that can be found on any one site in a similar region.

Figure 13 Ilustrating the types of polymers (%) found at: Challaborough (b) Cornwall, the polymers that are of the same type have been separated from the main body of the chart.

Though there is differences in the types of polymers found there are similarities between the abundance of polyethylene at both locations. Challaborough like that of Carbis Bay is a popular tourist destination and has a strong recreational value for surfing and other water sports. This could indicate that the high concentrations of polyethylene are linked to public litter as discussed in section 5.2.

5.4 Comparison of Global Plastic Pollution

A study by Ng and Obbard (2006) recognised synthetic polymers in beach sediment. The study revealed using FT-IR spectroscopy polymer types as: polyethylene, polypropylene, polystyrene, nylon, polyvinyl alcohol, and acrylonitite butadiene styrene. The greatest quantities were found at two popular tourist beaches in the Eastern part of Singapore. The plastics ranged from 0-4 per sample replicate. This was consistent with a study by Thompson et al (2004) who recorded similar quantities along the sedimentary coasts of the Atlantic. These plastics were assumed to be sourced from ongoing waste-disposal from industries, recreational activities, and discharge from shipping (Ng and Obbard (2006).

Research by Pichel (2007) collected marine debris within the North Pacific Subtropical Gyre Convergence Zone (STCZ). This study revealed over 11800 individual pieces. This included 122 derelict fishing nets. The largest concentrations were found north of the North Pacific Transition Zone Chlorophyll Front (TZCF). In a study by Moore et al (2001) in the North Pacific Central Gyre. Revealed that the abundance and mass of plastic found in the neuston layer were the largest ever recorded anywhere in the Pacific Ocean. They counted 334271 pieces per km2 and 5114 g km2. The mass of the plastic was approximately 6 times that of the plankton collected. The most evident types of polymers identified were; thin films, polypropylene/ monofilament line and unidentified plastic of which were miscellaneous fragments (Moore et al 2001).

Colton et al (1974) found plastic debris at differing locations in the North Western Atlantic ranging from 1,292-166,991 individual pieces per km2. The types of plastic found were polystyrene spherules, polyethylene, Styrofoam, plastic sheets and miscellaneous plastic. In a report by Carpenter and Smith (1972) in the Sargasso Sea surface layer, plastic debris averaged 3500 per km2. The plastic debris was reported widespread throughout the Western Sargasso Sea. The plastics identified were not polystyrene, acrylic or polyvinyl chlorides polymers. They were mainly identified as white pellets.

Accumulation rates of plastic debris vary considerably. This is due to variables such as urban settlements, shore use, prevailing-wind and ocean currents, and region (Brown et al, 2009). In the 1909’s it was reported that mega and mega plastic debris in the northern hemisphere were increasing. However these quantities have stabilised over the last decade (Brown et al, 2009). Who continues to report that on the shoreline quantities are increasing. This could indicate that the amount of debris entering the ocean could be declining, but the plastic already in the environment is continually being deposited on the shore or seabed. In the Southern Hemisphere accumulation appears to be much lower but still increasing at a steady rate. Studies by Brown et al (2009) suggest that on remote Antarctic islands and ocean areas plastic accumulation will stabilize over the last decade.

A report by Zarll and Matthies (2010) in a study on plastic fluxes in the Arctic Ocean has suggested that plastic is transported through; Cold ocean currents from the Bering Strait, The Fraim Strait where the water is saline and warm and the North Atlantic current. The report estimated that the plastic mass varies between 16,200 -1.9 million tons per annum (Zarfll and Matthies, 2010). This variation in mass can be explained by a multitude of reasons:

Spatial heterogeneity; where plastic is extended through the ocean surfaces depending on location such as urban and industrial areas. The ocean current transfers the floating plastic debris, which is influenced by wind and relief of the seabed.

Temporal variability; as plastic production has increased over the years. This had led to an increase in release of plastics to the marine environment.

Different sampling methods; the measurements have differing methods and assess varying types of sizes, therefore resulting in different counts.

In a study by Lavender-Law et at (2010) in a plankton net tow in the western North Atlantic and Carrabean Sea. A total of 64000 plastic pieces were counted out of 6100 surface plankton tows. In one 30 minute tow found 1069 plastic pieces. This is equivalent to 580,000 pieces km-2. The highest concentrations were found in large-scale Sub-tropical convergence within the surface velocity field (Lavender-Law et al, 2010). That was created by Eckman currents and geostrophic circulation. This zone extends across most of the Subtropical North Atlantic basin (Maximenko et al, 2009). This was reported to coincide with the highest concentrations of plastic counted (Lavender- Law et al, 2010). This indicated that plastic distribution and floating debris can act as a tracer of large scale surface currents (Lavender-Law et al, 2010). The same study using satellite-tracked drifting buoys, for the purpose of tracking potential pathways, in and out of the central region in the North Atlantic. It was discovered that plastic entering the US population centres could contaminate an area more than 1000km offshore (Zarfll and Matthies).

The global distribution of plastic pollutants as discussed above varies considerably because of the influence from a multitude of factors. There is evidence of micro plastics in the marine environment but few studies have been considered in the marine sediment which makes comparison difficult.

5.5 Environmental Impacts

On the shorelines exposure to abrasion and photo-degradation are prolonged. This makes plastics more brittle and fragmented in this environment. Some of the first pioneering research came from the examination of the gut content from sea birds (Albatross) in the 1960’s (Kenyon and Kridler, 1969). In the 1970’s micro plastics were found in plankton species in the North Sea (Buchanan, 1971).

There is evidence to suggest that one million sea birds and 100,000 marine mammals and sea turtles perish annually worldwide, due to entanglement in or eating plastic debris found in the sea (OSPAR, 2010). In a study 12% of Gannet corpses that were found in the North Sea were found entangled in plastic. In a related study found that 9% of the sea birds in the North Sea had ingested plastic fragments, from feeding on litter with 55% of birds having >0.1g apparent in the gut (OSPAR, 2010). In 1999 a study found that 90% of Gannet nests in the Bristol Channel on the Island of Grassholm now contain plastic debris (Library House of Commons, 2010).

Plastics are not biodegradable and once introduced into the environment can remain indefinitely. Once macro plastics are broken down by mechanical processes they can be ingested by marine organisms often mistaking them for food. Upon digestion, it is possible for smaller fragments of plastic to present a physical hazard. This can happen through clogging feeding appendages or the digestive system (Derraik, 2002).

The environmental impacts of micro plastic/fibres can pose serious potential threats to marine organisms by attracting, holding, and transporting water pollutants (Teuten et al 2007). This research is in its infancy. However there is long standing knowledge that macro plastics can sicken and kill fish, birds, and other marine organisms. Research has shown that A marina which was exposed to phenathrene found that just a few millionth of a gram of contaminated micro plastics in sediments caused an 80% increase of phenathrene in the tissues of the worms (Teuten et al 2007). This study suggests that since the A Marina is at the very base of the food web contaminants from micro plastics could be passed on and biomagnified in other marine organisms. Recent studies by BIOCET (2006) revealed that persistent organic pollutants (POP’s) are found in harbour porpoises, common dolphins, bottlenose dolphins and harbour seals. This study was conducted on the coasts of the ; Celtic Sea, NW Scotland, North Sea, Southern North Sea, Western Channel and Bay of Biscay. The POP levels found in the female common dolphin were shown to be linked to diet, area, and reproductive status. Additional research by Thompson et al (2004) shows that a variety of organisms with differing feeding habits (sediment feeders, filter feeders), have all shown to ingest plastic fragments/ fibres. The results of these trials indicates that ingestion of contaminant-sorbed plastics, have the potential to be a pathway of contaminant transport to benthic organisms

Another potential threat to the marine environment is that plastic debris including micro plastics could transport invasive and alien species (Derraik, 2002; Moore, 2001) such as bacteria, diatoms, algae, barnacles, serpulids, hydroids, tunicates, and bryozoans (Winston, 1982; Derraik, 2002). These species could pose serious harmful impacts on native biodiversity on a global scale to littoral, intertidal and shoreline ecosystems (Gordon 2006).

The current levels of production as discussed in section 1, and the quantities already in the environment it is a concern that the abundance of plastic fragments will continue to rise into the projected future (Brown et al (2011). This therefore needs a multitude of research regarding the modelling of environmental consequences of plastic debris and the production of environmental risk assessment models. This would assist in predicting the transport range of contaminants in plastic fragments of common polymers (Thompson et al 2005; Teuten et al, 2007).

Section 6 Conclusion

The mass production of plastic has transformed the world beyond that of urban developments. Plastics of all types and sizes have been found from Europe and Arctic Island shores to Tropical seabeds. Studies have also shown that plastics have been found in birds nest, through to the digestive systems in numerous marine species. The quantities of plastics fluctuate between countries. Despite this overall estimates report that 10% of solid waste is plastic. It has also been mentioned that 80% of this waste that accumulates on land, shorelines, ocean surfaces, and the seabed is plastic. The most common items are that of primary and secondary packaging which includes plastic bags which are chiefly polyethylene. Fishing equipment has also been found in significant quantities which are predominantly of nylon (PMMA) origin. The quantites of plastic debris have appeared to have stabilised in the oceans over the decade. But have increased on the shorelines. This could suggest that quantities of debris entering the sea are declining. However the plastic debris already present in the sea is still being deposited on the shorelines or seabed. Accumulation rates are lower in the Southern Hemisphere but are still significantly increasing. Other evidence, suggests stabilisation over the last decade in the Antarctic Islands and oceans. Beaches, ocean surfaces, and enclosed seas support the largest densities. However research has shown higher accumulation rates in deeper waters stretching hundreds of kilometres from the coast. Even though there is better knowledge today about the sources, quantities, and distribution there is still little understood about the longevity of plastic in the marine environment and the impacts it may have on organisms.

The review has indicated that there is evidence suggesting that micro plastics have the potential to have negative impacts on marine organisms and ecosystems. However this research is still in development with need for broader research on uncertainties such as; plasticizers since even though research in the laboratory coincide with natural environmental concentrations and the possibility looks likely to have some impact on wild populations, full research studies investigating the population effects, have not been reported (Oehlmann et al, 2009). The transportation of POP contaminants with regard to sorption and leaching is not fully understood (Teuten, 2007). There are also gaps in knowledge to determine the precise impacts of micro plastics acting as sinks for these contaminants in the world’s oceans (Arthur et al, 2009). A worldwide cooperation between researchers giving the policymakers the best information possible on the current status of micro plastics (Weisman 2009), is required to also determine the life cycle of micro plastics in varying marine environments with regard for the assessment of ecosystem-level impacts (Arthur et al, 2009). Data is scarce to demonstrate the negative impacts of micro plastics on marine organisms. This is notably the most prevalent knowledge gap to fill. Further suggestions would be to research into collection methods, species impacts and removal methods on prospective micro plastic hotspots already known.

There is little being done in the way of reducing the release of plastics into the environment. There is some evidence that the temporal trends of macro plastics on remote islands has reduced because of regulations for reduced dumping at sea. In 1991 in retort to the EPA (Environmental Protection Agency) study. Industries compiled a voluntary institute program to prevent or recapture spilled pellets. This effort to reduce plastic input indicated measurable success in reducing land-based sources of contaminant (Lavender-Law et al, 2010). Marine pollution is a local, national, regional and international concern therefore management and policy needs to be implemented at these varying levels. These also need to be adopted to the appropriate systems such as terrestrial and marine based sources of pollution. One of the biggest problems with water pollution is its transboundary nature. Many rivers cross countries, while seas span whole continents. Pollution discharged by factories in one country with low environmental quality standards can cause problems in neighbouring nations, even when they have more stringent laws and higher standards. Environmental laws can make more difficult for people to pollute, but to fully achieve success they have to operate across national and international borders

The findings in this report suggest that micro plastics are widespread worldwide and do have a potential environmental threat. Society should not overlook these impacts. The sustained demand for plastic indicates that contamination of the environment by micro plastics is fixed to increase particularly that of economically developing countries. The negative environmental impacts should be carefully measured to prevent, inadvertent release, magnification and transport of contaminants (Thompson et al, 2009)

Section 7 Recommendations

One of the main dilemmas using the FT-IR spectroscopy for identification of polymers was that even though it has the potential to identify thousands of polymers to the spectra available on the library database it has limitations. This can arise from two potential causes; Firstly the composition of the fibre could be too degraded and weathered in comparison to the original true fibre which may be less degraded therefore the radiation absorbed could be different from that used for the library standard. Secondly blended fibres were problematic and time consuming as they were difficult to identify and correlate as an accurate match to the library database

Rayon and cellulostic fibres were discussed in relation to feminine hygiene products. Applicator tampons are made from 100% rayon or a mixture of rayon and conventional cotton, overwrapped with polypropylene, a by-product of the petroleum industry (Natracare , 2011). The applicator tubes of many brands are often made from plastic. One of the chemical groups found in this plastic are phthalates.Though it is not conclusive, phthalates and oestrogens such as estradiol could be analysed in the fibres to observe if there is a potential connection.

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Categories
Free Essays

Management and the Business Environment

Abstract

Porter’s Diamond Model analysis reveals that all the important factors used in the assessment of a nations’ competitiveness in the global business, seem to indicate a positive score for India in both the embedded software as well as the robotics field. Industry friendly polices by government, continuously available pool of high quality IT professionals, world class IT research centers and flexible organizational culture have all contributed to this growth. Tax exceptions and infrastructural provisions made possible by the establishment of the Small Economic Zones across the country have greatly boosted industrial growth. Porter Diamond analysis of the Indian software and embedded robotics sectors clearly suggests India’s high competitive stature in these industries. ABC Ltd should invest in India to capitalize on these advantages.

Introduction

International competition at the firm level has been extensively studied by economists and there are scores of literature. However, there is a distinct lack of economic theory pertaining to international competition at the country level. Since Adam Smiths theory of absolute advantage in the nineteenth century, there has been so much research into international trade theories. There followed the theory of comparative advantage by David Ricardo. Porter in 1990 proposed his new theory to explain the competitive advantage of nations in what is now familiarly known as the Porters National Diamond theory. Porter includes four national attributes that determine the competitive advantage of countries. These are ‘Factor Conditions’ , ‘Demand Conditions’, ‘Related and Supporting Industries’, ‘Firm strategy structure and rivalry’. (Smit, 2010) Porter’s model also includes two exogenous factors namely government policy and chance. Porter’s competitiveness model though not widely accepted by economic theorists is much researched by management researchers. Porter’s Diamond model is used as a tool to analyze the existing home based advantages and how companies could exploit these factors at the global level. (Rugman & Verbeke, 1993) Porter’s model could also be used to assess the scope and potential profitability in expansion of businesses overseas. This would aid in the investment plans of multinational corporations in the global business arena. Managerial researchers advice merging SWOT analysis along with Porter’s diamond analysis to analyze the competitiveness level. This paper applies Porter’s diamond model to assess the prospects of Indian Software industry in order to advice on the investment climate and the growth potential for American Robotics and embedded software company ABC Ltd.

ABC Ltd. (The Company)

ABC Ltd , is a company focusing on semi autonomous robotic devices useful in household applications such as vacuuming and cleaning services and providing embedded software solutions to a variety of clients in America. The company is looking to increase its market share by entering India attracted by its cheaper and high quality chip designing facilities as well as the rapidly growing embedded software market. The company not only plans to leverage the cost and production efficiencies that India offers but also to use the rapidly growing Indian middle class population as a target for its advanced and semi autonomous cleaning and vacuuming robots. With the current 50 million middle class Indian population slated to swell into more than 550 million people by 2025, entering the Indian market at this time would create a vast customer base for its home based robotic products. (ACMA, 2011) Particularly, since there is not much competition for its robotic products in the country, ABC Ltd would gain the advantages of being the early entrant into the market.

The thriving Indian economy would boost its business prospects enormously. Furthermore, the cost effective design solutions from India could help the company greatly reduce its product costs which would give comparative advantage for the products in America. With a proposed contract from the American government for its surveillance robots, the company might need to make its business process efficient and the Indian venture would fulfill that objective. Currently only looking to establish a design laboratory and a software company for its embedded software solutions, the company is also planning future expansion into a total assembly unit for its robotics division in Bangalore which is the IT hub of India. Since India is flourishing in software and since the country presents immense scope for the growth of robotics and embedded electronics, the company decided to analyze the business climate further. The management wanted to perform the Porter’s Diamond model analysis of India with respect to the software and electronics industry before actually venturing into the country. The following discussion is centered on a brief analysis of the competitive ability of Indian software and electronics industry in the global arena.

Indian Software Industry

Indian software industry is undoubtedly one of the successful industries that capitalized on the market opportunities that globalization offered. Some of the Indian Software giants such as Wipro, Infosys, and TCS have carved niche markets across the world securing multi million dollar contracts with a growing list of western clientele. Over the past decade or so the success story of the Indian software sector has attracted investments from major western software firms such as Microsoft, IBM , Cognizant technologies, Accenture etc. that have heavily invested in India as a source of their software design and development. The cost effective and high talent pool of Indian employee population has contributed to this remarkable success story of the software industry in India.

Porter’s Diamond model framework describes the six attributes that contribute to the competitive advantage of a nation in any particular industry. These six attributes that were described above would be further explored in context of the Indian software industry. This would provide ABC ltd, an American software and robotics firm which is actively exploring the option of making a significant investment in India to develop an embedded software and robotics firm in the country. The following diagram illustrates the Porter’s Diamond model of assessing international competitiveness (Huang, 2011).

Factor Conditions

Factor conditions represent those factors that improve production in a country. These might include labor supply, resource or raw material supply, arable land, linguistic skill set of labors, Infrastructure, Knowledge base, etc. These factors are further classified into basic factors and advanced factors. According to Porter, the differences in nature and availability of these factor conditions that affect productivity give rise to competitive advantage to some nations over other. For instance the US being a huge country with vast arable lands is a big exporter of agricultural products across the world. On the other hand countries such as Japan which do not have such arable land depend mostly on exports of machinery and electronics goods.

As a rising global economy Indian infrastructure is steadily improving over the last decade and it already has a very sophisticated digital and mobile communication infrastructure. Already 4G services are launched in the country. Furthermore, the highly qualified talent pool with computer degrees and research in computer applications gives it a distinct advantage in the advanced factors. The large pool of electronics and communication engineers in India is under utilized since there is a dearth of electronics industry in the country. However for ABC, Ltd this would mean the availability of electronics and telecommunication engineers for its new planned expansion of the robotics division. This, as porter says, gives India a distinct advantage in the advanced factors condition. (Porter, 1990) India currently ranks first in terms of the youngest population in the world with over 70% of the Indian population below thirty five years of age and more than 35% below 15. (Dyson, 2004) This assures a steady stream of talented workforce.

Demand Conditions

Another important factor ascribed by porter in the evaluation of a nation’s competitiveness is its domestic demand. Investors are attracted to a country not just because of its position as a low cost production center but also because of the surge in local demand for the products. In India the electronics and robotics sector is growing at a steady pace currently but the growth is projected to be more than 10 times in the next 8 years. The statistics from a recent government report suggests the demand for electronic goods in India is slated to grow from $20 Billion in 2009 to $100 billion in 2020. (GOI, 2011) Therefore there is a large projected home demand for electronic goods in India. Similarly the market for IT products and services is slated to reach at least US$41.2bn by 2015. (MarketResearch, 2011) The demand for IT personnel is such that large companies retain significant bench strength so they can allot personnel to new projects as and when they start. Big firms such as Microsoft also participate with many universities across India. The company’s I-Spark program is designed to boost entrepreneurship and innovation among students. (Microsoft, 2011) So both the software and the electronics sector are poised for high growth in the years ahead.

Related and Supporting Industries

The inclusion of the growth and the competitiveness of the supporting industries has a compounding effect on any industry. (Teece 1996) For the software sector, the semiconductor industry, computer hardware industry, the broadband infrastructure and computer academics are the related industries. These clusters impact the competition. (Porter, 1998) Though there is no chip development unit in India, Indian chip designers are far advanced than China and many big chip companies such as Intel, AMD and TI have moved most of their designing services to India making the country one of the largest chip designing facilities in the world. By 2013 the Indian chip designing services is slated to touch $10.2 billion. (Thomas, 2011) The broadband infrastructure in India is also rapidly developing making the country one of the best in the world in terms of internet connectivity. The recent rollout of very high speed 4G wireless internet services by Airtel, one of the leading broadband service providers of the country, is suggestive of the penetration of advanced communication services across the country. (Krishna, 2012) Furthermore the IT academic sector is also expanding fast in India with the premium research institutes such as the International institute of Information technology (IIIT) at Bangalore and several Indian institutes of technology (IIT) branches across the country offering advanced research and PhD programs in IT. At the school level too ICT is integrated into the curriculum. Therefore the combination of the growth factors of the related and supporting industries in India is adding to the competitive advantage of India as a nation in the global IT market.

Firm Strategy, Structure and Rivalry

This is another of Porter’s factors that could impact the competitiveness of a nation or an industry within the country. Firm structure, organization and culture maybe different in different countries and each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages. While many production companies follow the traditional hierarchical structure many other new and knowledge based firms have changed over to flat, team based and organic structures. (Amri et.al, 2010) Team based culture promotes employee participation and increased employee participation is viewed as the key to improve organizational productivity. (Perry et.al, 2006) In India most of software organizations have evolved into flat structures with young management. Indian software companies have an informal culture which is at the same time professionally managed. There is stress on optimizing productivity, improving efficiency and delivering products on time (Arora et.al, 2001).

Chance events and Government Policies

Chance events describe those events that are out of control and not natural to the environment of a country. Anything from rapidly fluctuation exchange rates, political instability, war, terror attacks, natural calamities such as earthquakes, tsunami, etc are chance events which affect the business competitiveness of an economy. Government policies have a significant impact on the other attributes of the Porter’s diamond model. For instance government policies can create a conducive environment for the growth of software exports or may deter the same. Particularly, tax policies, financial regulations including FDI permit and anti trust laws impact the competitiveness of a country. (Porter, 1990) Indian government polices facilitate software exports. The establishment of the Special Economic Zones (SEZ’s) in different states across the country is considered one of the important policy decisions by the Indian government that created a huge boost in the software exports sector in the country with the rapid entry of several multinational companies availing the industry friendly policies, incentives, and international level infrastructural facilities that were provide at these Special economic Zones. Some of these incentives include 100% exemption from income tax from the accrued profits for the first 5 years, total exemption of sales tax, services tax and a single window approval, SEZ companies permitted external borrowing of up to $500 million per year, etc. (GOI, 2009)

The factors conditions, demand conditions, related industry support as well as the firm structure and strategy are all very attractive in India. The brief analysis of these factors along with the exogenous factors of chance and Government policies suggests that India scores well in the national competitive scale in the software industry. The analysis also indicated that the growth is projected to continue in the upward direction for many more years to come. With the recent Indian government stance of accepting even 100% FDI in many sectors the promise of economic growth in the country is immense. The demand for software products both internally as well as the export market are expected to increase tremendously. Previous studies including Porter’s diamond analysis have also attested to India being the choice destination for the software industry. (Kogut 1997) To sum it up we could say that India fairs well on all the factors of the Porters Diamond model of assessing national competitiveness.

Conclusion

The software market in India is ripe and continues to grow at an alarming pace. The robotics and embedded electronics industry on the other hand, though in the early stages of development, is also expected to grow rapidly in the next few years. As the Porter’s Diamond Model analysis reveals, all the important factors that are used in the assessment of a nations’ competitiveness in the global business, seem to indicate a positive score for India in both the embedded software as well as the robotics field. Many reasons are attributed for this success of India. Industry friendly polices by government, continuously available pool of high quality IT professionals, world class IT research centers and flexible organizational culture have all contributed to this growth. Tax exceptions and infrastructural provisions made possible by the establishment of the SEZ’s across the country have greatly boosted industrial growth. Excellent telecommunication infrastructure and the availability of high speed 4G internet services will further propel the growth of the hardware and software industry in the country. ABC Ltd which is focusing on cost cutting and process optimization for its embedded robotics division would be greatly benefitted by launching its Indian operations as early as possible. Besides the cost effective service exports that are possible from the proposed Indian base, the company could also tap into the surging middle class market for its home appliance robots. In conclusion we can say that the Porter Diamond analysis of the Indian software and embedded robotics sectors clearly suggests India’s high competitive stature in these industries. ABC Ltd should invest in India to capitalize on these advantages.

Reference

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Categories
Free Essays

European Business Environment

Introduction

This paper discusses the validity of the statement: The European Union does not represent a true union between its members. There are six levels of economic integration: preferential trading area, free trade area, customs union, common market, economic and monetary union, and complete economic/political integration (Alva and Behar, 2008). These categorisations imply that increased trade leads to an increased economic integration and that, as nations become more intertwined economically, they will necessitate the need for some level of political integration (Alva and Behar, 2008). The European Community (EC) was founded in 1957 with six member states by the signing of the Treaty of Rome under the name of European Economic Community (EEC). It became the EC in 1992 under the Maastricht Treaty and is the first of the three pillars of the European Union (EU). Today, the EC is the principal component of the EU. In this paper, this term ‘the EU’ is used to refer to this union, including those periods when it was known as the European Economic Community (EEC) and then later known as the European Communities.

Over the last twenty years the European financial landscape has been radically transformed, with the establishment of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU) having a large role in accelerating the pace of this transformation. A significant change has been the continued process by which the European financial markets have integrated, which has been a basic component of the wider process of economic and political integration in Europe. Financial integration has been one of the items at the top of the European political agenda, with the eventual objective (set at the Lisbon European Council in March 2000) of transforming the EU into the most competitive and dynamic economy globally by 2010 (Gjersem, 2003). The extent of progress in EU financial integration is undeniable. With the introduction of the euro, several EU financial sectors have become very integrated. But this integration has not spread to all areas and is largely the outcome of monetary integration (Frangakis, 2004), suggesting the persistence of significant gaps in the integration process (Walken and Raes, 2005). Indeed, the extent of the capital market integration between EU countries lies somewhere between the international capital markets and national ones, indicating that liberalisation is still not complete and that deep integration of financial markets is still not a reality in some aspects of the financial markets (Gjersem, 2003). Therefore, even though there is no single measuring stick that allows us to judge exactly the extent of integration, there seems to be clear indication that financial markets within the EU still have a distance to go before national demarcation lines will actually disappear and financial market integration is acceptable (Gjersem, 2003).

The EU has periodically added new members expanding the number of member states several times throughout its history and promising of continuing this trend in the future. Indeed, when Romania and Bulgaria joined the Union in 2007 the EU expanded toward South-Eastern Europe and naturally other countries in this area hope to become members of the EU. Three countries currently have candidate status (Croatia, Macedonia, and Turkey) and other four countries are participating to varying degrees in the Stabilisation and Association Process (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Montenegro).[1] The EU is now a 27-member state with the biggest single market in the world. As the EU continues to enlarge, there has been discussion as to whether the EU should prioritise ‘widening,’ which would mean expanding the Union to the east, or ‘deepening,’ which means that the focus would be on greater economic and political integration building on the accomplishments of the Maastricht Treaty (Kubicek, 2005).

This paper argues that, in the early days of the EEC, internal cohesion of the member states, based on fundamental cultural, economic, ideological, and political similarities, took precedence over any pressure to enlarge. However, it might be said now that enlargement may have taken precedence over internal cohesion. In explaining the reasons for this change, this paper is organised as follows. The first main section provides an overview of the Union’s history from the EEC to the current EU. The second main section discusses the initial reasons for integration followed by the reasons for subsequent enlargement. The third main section explains the reasons for this change in focus from economic, ideological, and political integration to enlargement and discuses whether they are mutually exclusive. The paper concludes with a brief summary.

Background to the EEC/EU

The EEC evolved from the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) in 1958 and was established between Italy, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Belgium, France, and West Germany, often called the ‘Common Market.’ Under the EEC, attempts were made to achieve harmonisation and the EEC had as its ultimate objective the economic union of its member nations, eventually culminating in a political union. According to Haas (1961), the process of attaining the terminal condition of a political community among nation states is called integration. Integration is thus the process in which political actors in different nation states transfer their political activities to a new, expanded centre, whose institutions have authority over the original national states (Haas, 1961).

In 1956, the United Kingdom (UK) proposed a Europe-wide free-trade area that would incorporate the Common Market, and again attempted to become a member of the EEC in 1963 and 1967, but these proposals was vetoed by France (Baldwin, 1994). Thereafter, the UK and Sweden formed in 1960 the European Free Trade Association (EFTA) and other European countries that did not belong to the Common Market (see Figure 1) eventually joined. Later the EFTA and the EEC made arrangements to ensure uniformity between the two groupings and by 1995 all of the EFTA members had become members of the EU except four (see Figure 2). The EU has continued to expand. In 2004, ten additional states joined the Union, the largest expansion in its history – Cyprus, Czech Republic, Estonia, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania, Malta, Poland, Slovakia, and Slovenia. Bulgaria and Romania are the latest additions, joining the Union in 2007.

Currently, the EU covers over 4 million km?, with France as the largest country with a population of 62 million. And while the EU is less than half as big as the United States, its population of 491 million is more than 50% as large as the American population. Since the accession of the new member states in 2004, the EU’s GDP is now slightly larger than that of the US, with its GDP estimated in 2009 at US$14.5 trillion. Figure 3 (below) shows the relative size of the various economies making up the EU-27. The German economy is largest, with 19.4 % of EU’s GDP in 2008, followed by France (15.2%), the UK (14.1%), Italy (12.3%), and Spain (8.5%).

Figure 3: Percentage of GDP accounted for by each country in the EU

The Rationale for Integration

According to Leonard (2005), France’s foreign minister, Aristide Briand, was the first leading politician to suggest a European Union and this took place at the end of the 1920s. However, real European integration was driven by (1) geopolitical factors affecting Europe after the second World War, (2) unrelenting pressure from the USA during the Cold War, and then (3) European policymakers’ mercantilistic aspirations in the 1960s and 1980s (Evenett, 2004). According to Baldwin (2003, p. 6), “[t]he key question in the mid-1940s was, ‘How can Europe avoid another war?’” As a solution, the Europeans chose to “eliminate destructive nationalism by binding European nation-states into an economic and political union” (Baldwin, 2003, p. 6). This is exemplified by the Schuman Declaration (9th May, 1950):

The coming together of the nations of Europe requires the elimination of the age-old opposition of France and Germany… The solidarity in production thus established will make it plain that any war between France and Germany becomes not merely unthinkable, but materially impossible…

European integration was thus the foundation of the post-WWII architecture in Western Europe. Thus, in the first instance, Europe’s motives were peace and stability and, secondly, a safeguard against communist Russia. According to Baldwin (2003, p. 7),

…it is clear that EFTA and the EU especially have indeed promoted peace and understanding in Europe. With their economies so thoroughly entwined, a war among Western European nations has been unthinkable for decades.

In Bilefsky (2006), Jules Deelders, described as one of the Netherland’s leading poets, argues that a shared attitude and culture are important. And it apparent that the initial formation of the EEC (and the EFTA and then the EU) was done among nation-states that were very well aligned in cultural, economic, ideological, and political terms. The initial grouping, the Six, were close geographically, as well as economically, ideologically, and politically and this was very important and was the main reason that the UK’s petition to join this group was rebuffed twice, since it was not very close to these nations in the terms that they (particularly France) thought was important. However, the EEC eventually took other Western, and eventually Eastern, European nation-states onboard and, according to Baldwin et al. (1997, p. 128), “Eastern enlargement of the EU is a central pillar in Europe’s post-Cold War architecture.”

It is key to understand that each enlargement is different from earlier enlargements and the last enlargement of the EU into Eastern Europe is an unprecedented case. These countries were qualitatively different from the previous member states, with primary mention being generally made of the economic differences – the most recent member countries are much poorer than the previous member countries (Kubicek, 2005; Lejour et al., 2007). Additionally, these countries are politically and ideologically different, being mostly former Soviet States or otherwise proponents of Socialism/Communism, unlike the democracies of Western Europe.

A number of other countries are seeking to join the EU, including Albania, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Turkey, and Ukraine and some argue that these countries are even further from being ‘European’ (Choudhury and Naidu, 2009). For example, Kubicek (2005) argues that “[m]any of Turkey’s supposed shortcomings are well-known: it is too big, too poor, too agricultural, too authoritarian, and, perhaps above all, too Muslim” (p. 1). Kubicek (2005, p. 1-2) further notes that “Turkish membership, unlike membership for the Poles, Czechs, Latvians, etc., will compel Europeans to ask a fundamental question: what is Europe?” Overall, Turkey’s entry into the EU would transform the Union in fundamental ways (Kubicek, 2005, p. 2): geographically – “its inclusion in the EU would mean that the EU would now border Iran [and] Syria;” culturally – “expansion to Turkey would be the first time the EU would cross the traditional border of ‘Christendom;’” and politically – “what does inclusion of Turkey say about Europe’s identity and values and how would Turkish membership jive with the goal of fostering an ‘ever closer union?’”

The Rationale for Enlargement

There are four explanations put forward for European enlargement (Evernson, 2004). The first is called ‘technocratic entrepreneurship.’ Moravcsik (1998, p. 4) explains this explanation thus: [2]

[European] integration has been driven primarily…by a technocratic process that reflects the imperatives of modern economic planning, the unintended consequences of previous decisions, and the entrepreneurship of disinterested supranational experts.

The second explanation is put forward by many proponents supporting EU expansion – trade expansion. Additionally, the rapid rates of growth achieved by the member countries of the EEC and EFTA in the 1960s created a belief that economic integration is a key factor in terms of the level and growth of economic activity (Brada and Mendez, 1988). Almost from its start as the EEC, the EU has led to the hope, if not the expectation, that it would lead to dynamic gains from trade, possibly including a sustained rise in the growth rates of the member states (Dearoff and Stern, 2002). Overall, Moravcsik (1998) argues that the leading (Western) states have for fifty years behaved logically in using the EU to promote their economic interests. However, according to Baldwin et al. (1997, p. 128) intra-regional and extra-regional “geopolitical considerations constitute the engine driving enlargement.” For example, the 2004 expansion of the EU assures good neighbourly relations and security in a region that has been a source of volatility and an area of constant aggression for a long time the past and this type external stability is decisive in states such that Slovakia that have many internal issues (Abraham, 2003).

The third explanation is the most developed economic theory as to why regional agreements enlarge over time and that is the explanation called ‘domino regionalism,’ which was originally presented by Baldwin (1994, 2003). Baldwin (1994, 2003) argues that the achievement of the Single Market programme of reforms in Europe, supported by the fall of the Soviet Union, was the trigger for negotiations about enlargement with the outstanding members of the EFTA agreement and the previously communist states of Eastern Europe. Overall, the latest entrants to the EU expect increased political stability and the Union expects enlargement to contribute to a more stable Europe. Plus, regional integration may stimulate growth in the region as the foundation of the EEC and the former enlargements have proven. According to Baldwin et al. (1997, p. 125) “[t]he bottom line is unambiguous and strongly positive: enlargement is a very good deal for both the EU incumbents and the new members.”

Discussion

The initial rationale for European integration is still the rationale for current expansion: geopolitical and economic considerations – in general, a move towards a political community and complete economic integration. However, while in the beginning, internal cohesion took precedence over the pressure to enlarge (as evidenced by earlier rebuffs to interested countries); this is no longer the case. After the recent addition of 12 countries to the Union, many Europeans are protesting that the EU is growing too far and too fast. And at a time when people seem to be increasingly dubious about European identity, the EU may be suffering from ‘enlargement fatigue’ (Kubicek, 2005, p. 1). Indeed, the enlargement has become a priority for the Union for several reasons, three of which are highlighted here.

First, as mentioned several times, European stability has been a driving factor for integration and with the recent upheavals in Eastern Europe, their integration into the rest of Europe seems the only way forward in terms of European stability. The majority of Europeans seem to have embraced the EU’s growth eastward in 2004 for a range of reasons, but maybe primarily reasons because it reinforced the idea of the fall of the Soviet communist regime. The EU commissioner in charge of expansion, Olli Rehn, is quoted by Bilefsky (2006) as saying “It would be utterly irresponsible to wobble in our commitments and disrupt a valuable process which is helping to build stable and effective partners in the most unstable parts of Europe.”

Second, as previously outlined, regional economic integration is hard for individual countries to resist because countries find that they have to react to increasing liberalisation by becoming a member of the existing group or by creating a counterbalancing group (Baldwin, 2003). The third reason is related to the second and has to do with the stability of multiple arrangements within a single area. That is, it is not likely that each country in Europe will be able to choose its own type of regionalism. Therefore, it is most likely that, ultimately, ‘gravitational forces’ will draw all of the main countries in the region into a single agreement (Baldwin, 2003). However, this does not mean that everything will go as planned. For example, member-states’ implementation of the EU directives to implement the EU financial services regulatory framework has tended to take a long time and it was argued that “the harmonisation of regulation, while substantial on paper, was not as effective in practice” (Danthine et al., 1999, p. 45). More significantly, several legislative areas ended unresolved in political deadlock (Hertig and Lee, 2003). Therefore, even though internationalisation, disintermediation, and globalisation of financial services continued, financial markets in the EU remained very much fragmented at the end of the 20th century (Frangakis, 2004).

Has enlargement taken precedence over internal cohesionThis is an important question if we think that a ‘true union’ between EU members rests on cohesiveness. Kubicek (2005) argues that such a question assumes that cohesion and enlargement are mutually exclusive. European integration was meant to be “open to all countries willing to take part” (Schuman Declaration, 9th May, 1950) and Kubicek (2005, p. 1) is firm in his belief that the EU has done both. In addition to the addition of 12 new members, the EU

…adopted a draft European Constitution, which promises to forge a tighter political union among its members as well as a stronger European identity. Geographically, politically, and culturally, one can thus speak of a ‘New Europe,’ one with a broader mission that covers over twice the number of countries that originally signed the Maastricht Treaty just over a decade ago.

Conclusion

What is now known as the EU came from integration efforts that start in the 1950s with the hopes of great economic and politic benefits being gained by those involved (Haas, 1961). This was initially shared among countries that were very similar culturally, ideologically, politically, and economically. But The EU, however, looks nothing like the EEC and contains many diverse countries. And thus the EU’s goal is now to “form an ever closer union among the peoples of Europe” (Baldwin, 2003, p. 7). According to Baldwin (2003, p.7), “the intensity of regional trade has produced a continuous exchange of ideas and exposure to cultures … has fostered mutual understanding.” It can be concluded that, for economic and geopolitical reasons, enlargement is now a priority and may have even taken precedence over internal cohesion of the member states, based on fundamental economic, ideological, and political similarities. It may thus be concluded that the EU does not represent a true union between its members. However, ‘widening’ and ‘deepening’ are not mutually exclusive and seem to be necessary to really strengthen the EU as an economic and political power.

Word count: 2997 words

References

Abraham, S. (2003). The EU expansion: Hopes and worries. Eurozine, 28 November. Available at http://www.eurozine.com/articles/2003-11-28-abraham-en.html [accessed 24 January 2011].

Aitken, N. (1973). The effect of the EEC and EFTA on European trade: A temporal cross-section analysis. The American Economic Review, 63, (5): 881-92.

Alva, M. and Behar, A. (2008). Factors that contribute to (or detract from) successful outcomes in African Regional Agreements. Background paper, World Development Report 2009: Reshaping Economic Geography. Available at: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTWDR2009/Resources/4231006-1204741572978/alvabehar.pdf [accessed 28 January 2011].

Baldwin, R. (1994.) A domino theory of regionalism. Mimeo. November. Available at http://heiwww.unige.ch/~baldwin/AcademicPapers/AcademicPaper Files/dom_old.pdf [accessed 24 January 2011].

Baldwin, R. (2003). East Asian regionalism: A comparison with Europe. Presentation to the Japanese Ministry of Finance’s Study Group on China. February. Available at http://www.mof.go.jp/jouhou/soken/kouryu/h14/ chu14_05f.pdf [accessed 24 January 2011].

Baldwin, R., Francois, J., and Portes, R. (1997). The costs and benefits of eastern enlargement: The impact on the EU and Central Europe. Economic Policy, 12 (24): 125-76.

Bilefsky, D. (2006). For many, EU ‘is big enough.’ International Herald Tribune, May 10.

Brada, J. C., and Mendez, J. A. (1988). An estimate of the dynamic effects of economic integration. The Review of Economics and Statistics, 70, (1): 163-68.

Choudhury, A. and Naidu, G. (2009). Turkey’s economic integration with the EU: An evaluation of current status and future prognosis. Journal of International Business Research, 8 (1): 29-44.

Danthine, J., Giavazzi, G., Vives, X., and Von Thadden, E. (1999). The future of European banking. Monitoring European Integration 9, CEPR.

Deardorff, A. and Stern, R. (2002). EU expansion and EU growth. Discussion Paper No. 487, University of Michigan October 29. Available at http://www.spp.umich.edu/rsie/workingpapers/wp.html [accessed 24 January 2011].

Evenett, S. J. (2004). The sequencing of regional integration. Available at www.evenett.com [accessed 26 January 2011].

Frangakis, M. (2004). Financial integration policy in the EU: Perspectives and challenges. EPOC Conference on “A New All-European Development Model in an Enlarged EU Social and Economic Aspects,” Poznan, 7-9 May. Available at http://www.epoc.uni-bremen.de/publications/pup2004/files/Poznan_Frangakis_ Abstract.PDF [accessed 24 January 2011].

Gjersem, C. (2003). Financial market integration in the euro area. Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, Economics Department Working Paper no. 368. Available at http://www.oecd.org/eco [accessed 24 January 2011].

Haas, E. (1961). International integration: The European and the universal process. International Organisation, 15 (3): 366-92.

Hertig, G. and Lee, R. (2003). Four predictions about the future of EU securities regulation. Journal of Corporate Law Studies, 3 (2): 359-77.

Kubicek, P. (2005). Turkish accession to the European Union: Challenges and opportunities for the ‘New Europe.’ Prepared for Workshop, ‘The New Europe II,’ Centre for European Studies, University of Florida, in Paris, France, February. Available at http://www.ces.ufl.edu/files/pdf/outreach/symposia_conferences/ TurkishAccessionToTheEU_021805.pdf [accessed 24 January 2011].

Lejour, A., Mervar, A., and Verweij, G. (2007). The economic effects of Croatia’s accession to the EU. EIZ Working Papers No. 0705, The Institute of Economics, Zagreb.

Leonard, D. (2005). The Economist Guide to the European Union: Definitive Guide to All Aspects of the EU. London: Economists Books.

McCauley, R. and White, W. (1997). The euro and European financial markets. Bank for International Settlements Working Paper no. 41. Available at http://www.bis.org [accessed 28 January 2011].

Moravcsik, A. (1998). The Choice for Europe: Social Purpose and State Power from Messina to Maastricht. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.

Schuman Declaration, The. 9 May 1950. Available at http://www.library.pitt.edu/ subject_guides/westeuropean/wwwes/teu.mspr-fr-sd.html [accessed 28 January 2011].

Tumpel-Gugerell, G. (2006). Concluding remarks: Financial integration and stability in Europe. Speech by Member of the Executive Board of the European Central Bank Conference on “Financial Integration and Stability in Europe” organised by the Banco de Espana, the Centre for Financial Studies and the European Central Bank Madrid, 1 December. Available at http://www.ecb.int/press/key/date/2006/html/ sp061201.en.html [accessed 28 January 2011].

Walkner, C. and Raes, J-P. (2005). Integration and consolidation in EU banking: An unfinished business. European Commission, Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs, Economic Paper no. 226. Available at http://europa.eu.int/comm/ economy_finance [accessed 28 January 2011].

[1] This is a legal framework for the relations between the EU and potential members in the period before possible accession (Lejour et al., 2007).

[2] This is not the explanation that Moravcsik (1998) proposes; he argues that integration was spurred by the core economic interests of Britain, France, and Germany.

Categories
Free Essays

The credit and debit card market environment has been affected significantly by the economic situation, in which a variety of macro environmental, industrial and internal company factors have had an impact on participating companies.

1. INTRODUCTION

Barclaycard is a market-leading provider of credit and debit cards within the UK. With 8.4 million customers, we have built a considerably reputation of growth and innovativeness over the years. However recent external and internal issues in the credit card market have had significant effects on the opportunities and threats present within Barclaycard.

Being the Marketing Manager at Barclaycard, I have conducted a situational analysis of the macro economy within the UK, the plastic card industry and within Barclaycard as a company, in order to ascertain the major issues affecting the company, and highlight future strategic options that may be relevant for growth.

The following report therefore highlights a situation analysis of the UK macro environment, industrial analysis of the credit and debit card industry, and a SWOT analysis of Barclaycard. The major issues affecting the organization, as a result of these analyses would be discussed subsequently, followed by four major strategic options that could drive the organization’s growth. An update to the case study has also been provided in the last chapter, which highlights relevant factors that have occurred since the case study was written.

2. SITUATION ANALYSIS

The following situation analysis contains key factors that have been identified using the case study, as being relevant and having a direct or indirect effect on the macro economy, payment processing industry and Barclaycard as a company.

a.MACRO ENVIRONMENT USING PEST

i.ECONOMICAL FACTORS

The credit crisis that emanated from the US in 2007, hugely affected financial institutions the world over, and led the UK government to nationalize Northern Rock, one of the nation’s biggest mortgage lenders, and part nationalise RBS and Lloyds TSB, two leading UK banking groups.

The financial crisis resulted in restrictions on capital movement, and tightened lending criteria, amongst financial institutions, effectively affecting economic growth. Though the government may have hastened the availability of credit by bailing out some major banks, it is unlikely that the UK economy would recover soon.

The UK household debt increased to ?1.4 billion in April 2008, though it is mostly as a result of mortgages and secured lending, it does reflect the relevance of debt in the everyday lives of the average UK resident. Being in debt has become an inevitable part of living, especially amongst younger individuals who have embraced the ideology of buying items on credit.

ii.SOCIOCULTURAL FACTORS

The lacklustre potential for future recovery or growth within the UK economy, has impacted on most indebted citizens as 25% of adults have plans to repay back their debt in coming months. These decisions to repay debt and cut back on spending are also as a result of the increasing cost of living within the UK, and cost of oil.

43% of consumers surveyed regarding their concerning social issues, cited money as the most concerning issue. This reflects the impact that the current state of the economy has on each individual, and their growing attitude towards personal finance and cash management.

b. MICRO ENVIRONMENT ANALYSIS

i. INDUSTRY TREND

The amount of credit cards in issue has also been in steady decline, compared to the growth in debit cards. This illustrates that consumers are increasingly turning to their savings to make payments, as opposed to using credit cards for purchases, hence the growth in debit cards.

The credit card market is also becoming increasingly settled with a reduction in switching intentions amongst customers, thereby reflecting negatively on the current strategy amongst lenders to attract customers by offering attractive balance transfer incentives.

The average purchase made through debit and credit cards is currently high, thereby establishing an opportunity to facilitate spending on lower value items. This could increase customer reliance on plastic cards, and subsequently help increase the total amount spent on each card.

ii.ECONOMICAL EFFECT

The economy may take longer than expected to recover, which adversely affects consumer income. Though this may potentially increase application for credit, it also increases the risk of customers who are likely to default on loans.

The average loss on credit cards issued has grown recently, with banks being hit with larger impairment charges on consumer credit cards and other related personal loans.

The economical situation has resulted in mistrust between lenders, and a subsequent unwillingness to lend between each other. This is resulted in lesser amount of available credit for these banks to loan to customers.

iii.REGULATION

Recent legislations by the government have outlawed the sales of payment protection insurance, thereby resulting in fines for several credit card providers, and refunds to all customers that have paid premiums for the insurance.

The FSA administered Insurance Conduct of Business (ICOB) has also released new regulations regarding the process in which financial service companies disclose information during sales of insurance products, and has also increased the length of cooling off period, thereby impacting on credit card companies’ ability to sell insurance products to consumers.

iv.CUSTOMER ANALYSIS

There is an increasing divide in the market amongst credit card users. A huge amount of customers are increasingly shifting their focus from obtaining credit to paying off credit card debts, whilst another portion of consumers are using credit cards to pay off house rents and mortgages, amidst rising unemployment. This could therefore result in a situation whereby credit worthy individuals are paying off their credit card debts, while those that do not have a source of income, run the risk of becoming bad debts due to lack of available income to service the credit card bills.

Consumer trust in financial service providers has been seriously affected due to the events surrounding the credit crisis. Consumers are increasingly weary of financial service products due to the effect of the credit crisis on the leading banks within UK.

Due to the increasing competition amongst lenders, the bargaining power has shifted towards the consumers. They are increasingly consulting price comparison websites to compare credit card packages for the best deal.

Consumers are also drawn to transfer their balances to new credit cards, wherein they would not have to pay interest on the amount they owe for longer periods of time.

Debit card users have become active in switching, and this has adversely affected the major players within the cards industry, as the five major banks have jointly lost 5ppt of their market share over the past 12 months.

v.COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT

The competitive rivalry amongst industry participants is high. Presently there are five players controlling the credit card market and these are Barclays/Barclaycard (22%), Lloyds TSB (17%), HSBC (12%), Natwest (12%), and Halifax (11%). Lloyds TSB however has the largest market share in the debit card market, followed by NatWest/RBS, Barclays and HSBC.

However the two largest debit card companies (Lloyds TSB and RBS/NatWest) are partly owned by the UK government, thereby posing a threat to their competitive sustainability if the government continues to exert substantial influence over their operations. Banks such as Barclays and HSBC are therefore at a competitive advantage as they can leverage their reputation and financial independence.

The economic condition has resulted in various lenders tightening criteria on lending conditions, therefore higher risk individuals are unable to obtain credit cards, while those with good credit rating are being fought for by several lenders, thereby resulting in a wave of competitive and low priced offers.

The fierce competition amongst providers has led to various competitive strategies based on very attractive offers and loyalty schemes for customers. Offers such as 0% on purchases and balance transfers are being promoted strongly, while other providers such as Barclays are offering lifetime low interest rates on consumer credit. Providers such as Lloyds are promoting Air miles loyalty scheme, while Capital One and Virgin Money offer long term zero interest rates so as to attract new customers. Customers that are feeling the effect of the credit crisis are likely to shop for such deals and switch providers.

vi.SUPPLIERS

The major suppliers are Visa and MasterCard, however, they only provide the relevant infrastructure through which payments are processed, and charge a fee to banks for utilising their services. Their supplier power is therefore considerable as they are the two major credit card companies.

c. INTERNAL SWOT ANALYSIS

i.Strengths

Barclaycard is currently the biggest provider of credit cards within the UK, with a market share of 22%, whilst its debit card share is third only to Lloyds TSB and NatWest. Barclaycard claims to have 8.4 million credit card customers, and posted impressive profits for 2009.

The company has invested significantly in product innovation such as its contactless technology, which allows its cardholders to make purchases lower than ?10; by tapping them card against a contactless reader. It has also launched the OnePulse card that incorporates the Oyster card for transportation purposes.

ii.Weakness

Barclays’ inability to gain substantial market share in the debit card market, may result in a loss of possible income if the debit card growth trend continues to persist.

Barclays has been severely affected by the credit crisis and consumer default, as it had to write off ?5.4 billion off its asset, as consumers failed to make payments for credit card and other personal debts. Rising unemployment and the current economic situation has led many consumers to declare bankruptcy or profess their inability to make payments.

iii.Threats

The current state of the economy also serves as a considerable threat to Barclaycard as it is increasingly difficult to gain new credit worthy customers that would be profitable and repay back loans.

The competition amongst existing players is only slated to increase as the number of credit cards in circulation decreases, while that of debit cards increase. The outstanding balances may fall, while the profit made off charges and interest could also reduce significantly.

The drop in advertisement within the leading providers of credit card could result in a situation whereby other smaller brands take advantage of their lack of media presence, and gain considerable market share in the process.

iv.Opportunities

There are opportunities in contactless technology, which is new and revolutionary, and may indulge more people into switching to an innovative provider or paying for lower priced goods with their credit and debit cards.

Barclaycard’s partnership with Oyster and O2, could result in newer products that have the possibility of ensuring that their market share continues to increase on the back of innovativeness.

The economic condition presents the right opportunity for lenders that have been less affected, such as Barclays, to gain market share by leveraging its reputation. Barclays is one of the two major banks that did not seek government protection during the credit crisis, and that has helped improve its reputation in the financial markets and also amongst the population. Consumers would therefore trust the brand better, as opposed to those that have been previously accused of mismanagement and risky practices

3. MAJOR ISSUES

Based on the situational analysis conducted above, these are the four major issues currently affecting Barclaycard:

There is a general decline in the use of credit card for transactions. The number of credit cards in issue has declined in recent years, while that for debit cards has increased. This represents a significant issue because, as the outstanding balances in the lender’s portfolio reduces, so does the fee chargeable for interest rates, wherein their profit is derived from.

Consumers have cut back on spending amidst rising unemployment and low confidence about the UK economy. Consumers cutting back on spending, due to the rising unemployment and uncertainty about the economy, reflect negatively on the credit card industry. Consumers would be less willing to use their credit cards for purchases or incur more debt, and this affects the interest attributable to card companies and the number of new cards issued.
The current economic situation has led lenders to tighten lending conditions, in order to avoid increasing impairment charges. Impairment charges for Barclays were ?5.4 billion in 2008, thereby illustrating the increasing threat of the economy on Barclaycard’s business. This increases the emphasis on managing bad debts, and obtaining credit worthy customers that are able to service their credit card debts.

Competition amongst existing players in the credit and debit card market is on the rise. Smaller companies are gaining market share, leading companies are offering lucrative deals, and consumers are looking for more attractive offers. In order to protect it’s market leading position in the credit card market, and gain substantial share of debit cards, Barclaycard needs to device strategies that attracts and retains consumers.


4.STRATEGIC OPTIONS

Based on the situation analysis already conducted and the four major issues affecting Barclaycard, the following are strategic options that have been developed based on Porter’s (1980) Generic Strategies and the Ansoff’s (1984) Matrix.

a. OPTION 1

i.Strategic Option

Introduction of new and innovative debit and credit card products into the market, that follow suite on the success of contactless technology, and encourage users to adopt the card for everyday multiple processes.

This could increase Barclays’ market share by increasing the number of consumers who switch to its innovative service, and improve customer usage of plastic cards for smaller purchases.

ii.Model:

This strategy is based on Ansoff’s Matrix: New Products + Existing market = Product Development

iii.Justification

The amount of credit cards in issue is declining, so this could help improve applications for credit or debit cards within a particular brand.

Consumers do not really use their credit cards for lower value purchases.

Contactless technology and multiple applications in credit cards (Oyster and Mobile Phone recharge) could change the industry and attract more consumers to a particular brand.

iv.Marketing Strategy

The Product would be a new range of innovative cards capable of handling multiple applications such as the already existing contactless technology, and Oyster card. It could also be integrated into other useful cards like School ID and Gym membership cards. APR Pricing would be slightly higher than a normal card due to the innovativeness of the product. Promotion for the card could be targeted at young professionals and students who would like to use their cards as a one-stop shop for transport, credit card, gym membership and even school ID. The product could be marketed at Universities, through affiliates, and other relevant channels.

b. OPTION 2

i.Strategic Option

Barclaycard could strengthen its position in the debit card market by offering attractive packages that lure customers into opening current accounts within its bank.

Since debit card issuance is based solely on the number of current accounts within a bank, Barclaycard could utilise this in growing its market share from third position into first or second and beat rivals Lloyds TSB/HBOS and RBS/NatWest.

ii.Model

This strategy is based on the Ansoff Matrix: Existing Markets + Existing Products = Market Penetration.

iii.Justification

The current market for credit cards is reducing, with a subsequent increase in debit card issuance, it seems consumers are reducing their reliance on credit and focusing on using their savings and debit cards for purchases.

Consumer confidence has fallen in recent years; therefore Barclays could leverage its untarnished reputation in gaining market share against competitors.

Its innovative credit cards could be utilised as an effective attractant.

iv.Marketing Strategy

The Product here would be attractive current accounts, marketed with lucrative benefits and at reduced prices, in a way to encourage customers to switch from their current providers and set up with Barclays. Attractive introductory offers could be offered on current accounts, while impressive benefits such as insurance and assistance packages could also be included. An important selling point would be the issuance of innovative debit cards, and a reputable organization with excellent service. Promotion could be handled through all available media channels, while the target audience would be anyone with a current account, or who has the intentions of opening one.

c. OPTION 3

i.Strategic Option

Barclaycard could reposition itself within the industry as a provider of unique differentiated debit and credit cards. These cards would contain its full range of innovative technologies, with a slightly higher APR, premium loyalty schemes and would be targeted at ABC1 credit worthy individuals.

ii.Model

This strategic option is based on Porters generic strategies: Broad based industry wide scope + Product uniqueness = Differentiation Strategy

iii.Justification

The current economic situation increases the risk of bad debt amongst the mass population, therefore targeting a premium service at credit worthy individuals, would go a long way in securing Barclaycard against bad debt, and help in attracting sought after customers.

Individuals who already have credit cards, would be attracted to switch towards Barclaycard due to the range of premium services provided and benefits associated with using the card, thereby eliminating the high competitiveness amongst existing players all fighting to introduce the latest 0% offer to attract consumers.

iv.Marketing Strategy

The Product would be marketed as a premium service, encompassing latest technologies, premium packages, and attractive features such as Air miles, Supermarket and store discount, and a range of VIP benefits. Promotion would be aimed at ABC1 credit worthy individuals through appropriate channels, and the products would be communicated as a differentiated product, based for the affluent. APR Pricing would be slightly higher than normal cards due to the benefits, while the products could be sold through all relevant channels across the bank’s network.

d. OPTION 4

i.Strategic Option

The last option would be to adopt a cost leadership strategy, aimed at attracting as many customers as possible either through new customer acquisition or balance transfers.

ii.Model

This model is based on Porters generic strategies: Broad Industry wide focus + Low cost strategy = Cost leadership strategy.

iii.Justification

The buying power has increased and consumers are increasingly looking to online channels to compare and find the cheapest deals. If Barclays provides cheap deals, it has a fair chance of increasing its customer base.

Attractive packages such as balance transfer and payment offers, coupled with low interest rates, could go a long way in ensuring that a wide amount of other customers switch and start using Barclaycard.

Since there is already a general decline in credit card usage, customer acquisition from competitors by offering lower prices and attractive offers, could go a long way in promoting sustainable competitive advantage in the industry, and securing already existing customers.

iv.Marketing Strategy

The Product would be very cheap credit card deals for credit worthy customers. Pricing would be based on competitive offers against current competitors. Lower APRs would be offered, while balance transfer and payment would be offered at competitive rates to prospective customers. Promotion would be targeted at the general public, while the products would be offered through all available channels.

e. CONCLUSION

Though the market condition may highlight several relevant issues that currently pose opportunities and threats to Barclaycard, there is no right or wrong strategic option. I have therefore prepared four strategic options that could be interpreted based on our current strengths and competitive capacity, and utilised with the aim of ensuring organizational growth and improving shareholder wealth.

5.UPDATE ON CARD INDUSTRY

a. MACRO ENVIRONMENT UPDATE

The UK economy emerged from its recession in the 4th quarter leading up to December 2009 as GDP increased slightly by 0.3%, fuelling forecasts that the economy would experience in subsequent months (Office for National Statistics, 2010)

Unemployment rates within the UK fell by 0.3% in January 2010, and the number of people in full time employment within the UK fell by 54,000 (Office for National Statistics, 2010)

The Nationwide survey on UK consumer confidence reportedly hit a two year high in March 2010, as the UK reported a GDP growth of 0.3%. Increasing consumer confidence reflects on the general social attitude of consumers, and their views on the economic environment within UK (BBC News, 2010)

b. MICRO ENVIRONMENT UPDATE

The UK Department for Business Innovation and Skills has launched a public consultation on the card industry, which aims to examine the current allocation of payments, repayment policies, limit increases and debt re-pricing, amongst credit card companies. These policies are likely to be widespread and affect the industry and its customers, and it may lead to policies that change operations within the industry (Datamonitor, 2009).

Identity theft fraud has been increasing consistently with the increase in ecommerce, as plastic cards do not necessarily have to be present for such purchases. Thereby increasing the relative cost of IT security to prevent such occurrences (Mintel, 2009)

Poulter (2010) predicts that credit card providers that had previously sold Payment Protection Insurance would have to issue refunds of up to ?4 billion to consumers that have bought it.

Mintel (2009) reports that the number of credit cards in issue has reduced by 5.4% from its high of 70 million in 2004, to 66.2 million in 2009, while the number of debit cards in issue has increased in 19.8% within that same period.

Mintel also reports that the number of consumers that repay their balances in full each month has increased by 3.9% since 2004, reflecting the general trend in the industry, and consumer’s increasing attitude towards repayment of debt.

Payment methods such as PayPal offer a more convenient and safer method for consumers willing to buy products on particular websites, and could act as a convenient substitute to debit and credit card transactions.

c. BARCLAYCARD UPDATE

Barclaycard income grew by 26% in 2009, while average customer asset also increased by 19% to ?28.1billion, reflecting strong growth across the company (Barclays, 2010).

Profits for Barclaycard decreased by 4% in 2009 as a result of impairment charges, which increased by 64%. These impairment charges are due to customers within the UK that have defaulted on their credit payments or declared bankruptcy (Barclays, 2010).

Wallop (2010) also reports that the government could scrap the current 0% wave of offers on balance transfers and purchases, and could also force lenders to stop previous practices, which entailed charging customers for the cheaper credit first.

Word Count: 3,660


6.REFERENCES

Ansoff, H I (1984) Implanting Strategic Management, Prentice-Hall: NJ, 455pp

Barclays (2010) 2009 Annual Report, www.group.barclays.com/investor-relations, accessed: 20/03/10

BBC News (2010) UK consumer confidence ‘hits two-year high’, www.news.bbc.co.uk, accessed: 25/03/10

Datamonitor (2009) UK crackdown is likely to lead to fees and higher interest rates, MarketWatch: Financial Services – Industry Comment, www.datamonitor.com, accessed: 21/03/10

Mintel (2009) Credit and Debit Cards – UK – July 2009, www.mintel.com, accessed: 20/03/10

Office for National Statistics (2010) Employment: Employment rate falls to 72.2%, www.statistics.gov.uk, accessed: 25/03/10

Porter, M.E. (1980) “Competitive Strategy”, The Free Press, New York

Poulter, S. (2010) Banks may be forced to pay back ?4bn in mis-sold insurance scam, www.dailymail.co.uk, March 09 2010, www.dailymail.co.uk, accessed: 20/03/10

Wallop, H. (2010) Credit card reforms: 0pc credit cards could be scrapped, www.telegraph.co.uk, date accessed: 22/03/10

Categories
Free Essays

Select a consumer product/brand that has a large market in the UK and research its associated marketing programme and environment

Overview

This document is related to marketing and its various concepts. It is about the external environment in which a product or brand operates, the marketing mix and the overall marketing applications and environment.

In order to illustrate the application and how these things affect practically, a real world brand has been selected and all these concepts applied and analysed with respect to the particular brand. The assignment illustrates how marketing principles, tools and methods are employed within an organisation and how effective these strategies and actions prove to be. The brand selected for the purpose of analysis is Coke of which around 260 million products are sold every year in UK.

Assessment Task

You are to select a consumer product/brand that has a large market in the UK and research its associated marketing programme and environment.

The Brand-Coca Cola

Introduction

Coca-Cola is a worldwide global brand that exists in more than 200 countries. It is known for making carbonated soft drink generally known as Coke. Coke has been the top most consumer brand in UK throughout and was the leader in 2009 and 2010 as well (Source: The Nielsen Company). Coke is produced by the Coca Cola Company that also makes drinks for sports, juices etc. Coke is made from the extracts of coca leaves. The origin of the brand is United States. Coke is the industry leader and has the largest market share in United Kingdom and world over (Daily Mail, 2010). The company is involved in both related and unrelated diversification. Coke is a range brand that in turn has a product line under it in the form of diet Coke, Coca Cola Vanilla, Coca Cola Cheery, Coca Cola Zero and also comes in the flavours of coffee, lemon and lime.

The greatest focus on the brand is on the health aspect of its customers and this is the reason that the brand has decided to move towards the production of products made from natural raw material instead of synthetic ones (Daily Mail, 2010). The motto of the brand is to provide its consumers with life full of happiness and refreshing moments. It aims to provide the best value for people’s money in the form of a quality and tasteful product at affordable price. The brand provides employment opportunities to many people around the world thus adding values to their lives and improving their lifestyles and living. The brand has a proactive and learning approach.

Part ‘1’- The product/brand’s macro and competitive environments

Macro Environment

The macro environment consists of the overall external environment in which a product, brand or company exits. It consists of all the external forces which affect the performance of a brand or product but are not under control such as the overall political factors, cultural state, environmental factors etc. For this, the PESTAL analysis is used to study, understand and analyse the forces existing in the external environment and their overall affect. PESTEL analysis stands for political, economic, socio cultural, technological, environmental and legal forces that exist in the external environment and are uncontrollable that affect the firm externally. Research has claimed that organizational scanning technique is linked with improved organizational performance (Newgren, et al, 1984; Dollinger, 1984; West, 1988; and Murphy, 1987). The first component of environmental change, complexity is defined as a measure of heterogeneity or diversity in many environmental sub-factors such as customers, suppliers, socio-politics or technology (Lane & Maxfield, 1996:217; Chae & Hill, 1997:8 and Chakravarthy, 1997:69). Since complex and turbulent environments can be desirable, but since many businesses are uncertain about how to cope with such situations, it makes sense to identify ways to handle such environments. Many believe that identifying a causative link between environmental variables and management action is not possible because of the complexity of variables and the chaotic nature of environments (Winsor, 1995:181). However, recent research has stressed the inter-relationship between an organisation and its environment (Polonsky, Suchard & Scott, 1999:52). Organisations co-exist and co-evolve with their environments and therefore are able to influence the environment to a greater extent than previously thought (Brooks & Weatherston, 1997:13). Organisations shape their environments by influencing their industries or collaborating with each other, thereby gaining some control over some part of their environments. The environment is thus not completely determined by external forces, but can also be influenced by the organisation (Anderson, Hakansson & Johanson, 1994, in Ford, 1997:229).

Competitive Environment

Competitive environment consists of the factors affecting the competitive position of the firm. It consists of the competition a product or brand faces in terms of both; direct and indirect competitors, suppliers, buyers etc. For this, Porter five forces model best suits to analyse the effect and present situation of the competitive position of the firm. There is continuing interest in the study of the forces that impact on an organisation, particularly those that can be harnessed to provide competitive advantage. The ideas and models which emerged during the period from 1979 to the mid-1980s (Porter, 1998) were based on the idea that competitive advantage came from the ability to earn a return on investment that was better than the average for the industry sector (Thurlby, 1998). Porter (1980a) defined the forces which drive competition, contending that the competitive environment is created by the interaction of five different forces acting on a business.

You are required to write a report on the product/brand’s macro and competitive environments, so what you have presented is not required. You have written a literature review/essay on PESTEL and PORTER, both covering about 500 words. Not needed. You are only required to go straight into the product’s macro and competitive environments. Even though it is recommended to insert a bit of theory, it does not have to own its own chapter, or be composed of about 500 words in a 3,000 word report.

PESTEL analysis for Coke

Figure 1 on the below shows the forces affecting a firm externally.

Figure: 1 ( shell-livewire.org)

Political

Coke comes in the food category of consumer products. Favourable state policies and a stable government with no war, unrest is necessary for the production of Coke. A sound governmental policy is necessary so that the necessary infrastructure facilities, investment opportunities, skilled labour and manpower, technology advancement, distribution ease, resources and access to raw materials is possible and the necessary plant and production set up can be installed and executed properly. Changes in governmental regulations regarding production, policy regarding transfer of money across countries etc affect the company and all of these are determined by the political state. The ability to enter into strategic alliances also depends on the political conditions set by the state.

Economic

A strong economic environment with low interest rates, high GDP growth rate gives boost to any business and is helpful in generating sales and profits. Same is the case with Coke. If the overall economic environment in which a brand exits is healthy, growing and developing, the consumers have high demand, more disposable income and thus they spend more on consumer products which means more business for Coke. This also involves less spending on R&D by Coke and more innovative products can be introduced. It also helps to achieve economies of scale and scope. This also means better chances of business and penetration in emerging markets.

Socio Cultural

As Coke is a family brand that is meant for people of all ages, gender, occupation, lifestyle etc it is bought equally by individuals and families. Particularly, in countries where there is a broad family structure, it is consumed more and so is by youngsters and teenagers particularly by students. As the world is seeing more and more societal changes for example more women joining the work force, students living outside their homes etc, Coke has seeing tremendous growth as it is a time saving, quality and tasty beverage. People’s view regarding health is also changing dramatically and they are becoming more health conscious day by day. That is why Coke came up with and introduced Diet Coke meant for people who are diet conscious, have some health related issues such as diabetes or are generally more aware about healthy food products. Another evidence of changing societal and cultural aspects is that Coke has decided to come up with alternative to synthetic elements used in Coke. One such element is sodium benzoate which is addictive in nature and is the major constituent of Diet Coke. Research showed that this element is primarily responsible for damaging DNA in of yeast cells and causing children to become hyperactive. In light of increasing pressure, Coke has decided to come up with natural elements and stop suing this particular material in all its products including Diet Coke and Sprite.

Technology

Advancements in technology help a business in improving its functions, management, processes, distribution network, marketing techniques etc. It helps save both cost and time and exert less effort. Technology is also a vital part of Coke and has led to advancements in its marketing practices and techniques as Coke now makes use if the internet and indulges in e-commerce, m-commerce etc. which has become a medium of advertising and selling. Technology also helps in effective supply chain management for Coke and integrates all the functions and processes of the brand. Technology also helps to innovate and make products more appealing and attractive to customers. Technology has led to introduction and advancement in machinery which has enabled Coke to produce more number of products and thus fulfil the increasing demand conditions. Coke CCE UK employs state of the art technology which produces quality products in no time. It produces Coke cans faster than bullets come out a machine gun.

Environmental

Every brand has to look up towards the safety of the society and environment it operates in. It has to adhere to universal environmental laws and regulations. Coke is no exception in this regard and works actively towards the betterment and protection of society. The production of plastic bottles and cans are an example of this as they are bio degradable and easy and safe to dispose off. It also participates in corporate social responsibility and conducts various activities that focus on creating awareness, education, improving social welfare and providing facilities and benefits to the people and society and climate protection. That is why it pays special attention to the need and importance of recycling and disposal of its products. In order to preserve the natural resources and climate, Coke has constantly been reducing the amount of water used in its products in an effort to preserve water.

Legal

Like all other industries, Coke also has to adhere to legal procedures and regulations set by the government. Without abiding to these laws and regulations, Coke cannot carry out its business. These include accounting principles, transparency and reporting standards, taxation laws, and foreign firm restrictions as all these form part of the legal environment and is mandatory for all firms operating in the industry to abide by. So changes in any of these things also affect Coke and the way it does its business.

There is no actual evidence, or reference that supports any of your analysis. They seem like something a non academic would write by having known Coke all their life. In order to present a good quality work, you must present “ good range of issues identified; evidence of clear thought and subject perception.”, When writing such, I would recommend looking for actual evidence of PESTEL from the company’s annual reports. There is always talks on their political issues (you should have spoken about Saudi there), and when doing such, you should reference appropriately, so the writer knows your arguments are well justified and have been obtained from somewhere.

Porter five forces model for Coke

This model is used to access the competitive position of the brand and see where it stands relative to its competitors.

Existing rivalry among firms

Rivalry among existing firms is high as Coke has both direct and indirect competitors. The industry is generally regarded as duopoly and the small firms are not significant. The biggest competitor of Coke is Pepsi which enjoys the same kind of image, brand loyalty, customer base and geographic reach as Coke. Both of these brands compete head to head with each other and thus rivalry is intense among them. They mostly compete on the basis of differentiation and advertising and not on pricing strategies. Competition between them is at a global level as both are multinationals.

Figure: 2 below shows the five forces model.

Figure: 2 Source: Marketingteacher.com

Bargaining power of buyers

The major buyers of Coke not only include end customers who buy from retails stores, vending machines etc but also include restaurants, fast food chains, cafes in schools, colleges and universities. Thus, the bargaining power of buyers is high as there are many buyers of the product.

Bargaining power of suppliers

The bargaining power of suppliers is low because the raw materials that Coke requires are general and easily available such as sugar, caffeine etc. Switching costs from one supplier to another are also very low. Threat of forward integration is low as well.

Threat of substitute products

Threat of substitute products is high in the form of both direct products and in the form of other non alcoholic drinks like; Pepsi and indirect substitutes such as water, tea, juice, energy drinks, coffee etc. Switching costs are also low. Also, all the products are almost the same in terms of value and pricing. Thus, product for product substitution, generic substitution and related substitution are all there in this industry.

Threat of new entrants

Threat of new entrants is low due to several barriers to entry. Firstly, it involves huge capital investment setting up bottling plants, machinery etc. The market is already mature and saturated with market leaders. Coke has achieved economies of scale and scope. Its ingredients are rare, valuable and difficult to imitate. Customers are very brand loyal and it’s difficult to have the same brand image and equity as Coke. Coke has agreements with distributors and suppliers in every region and no other company can enter into agreements with them. Also, for a new entrant it’s not easy to spend so much on advertising campaign the way Coke does as it has a strong financial muscle.

Just like I wrote in relation to PESTEL. You show that you do have an understanding of relevant theories as they have been incorporated accurately. However, the main issues you are analysing are not necessarily backed up with evidence, which may then affect the student. How do you know they have substitute products, except for what you can readily think ofHow do you know they are actually substitute productsWho told you soWhat new substitute products have come up recentlyWhat recent issues have they had with suppliersWhat are the current strategiesWhere are the referencesWhat are the new most recent threats to Coke?

Part ‘2’ – The marketing programme elements (marketing mix elements) currently employed

Marketing Mix

Marketing mix or the 4 P’s or 7 P’s of marketing refers to the tactics and strategies of product, price, placement, people, processes, physical evidence and promotion of a brand. These are all part of the marketing plan and help create brand image, equity and loyalty among the target market segment. It defines how a product or brand is positioned. traditional market research and traditional marketing mix models are too simplistic to understand complex marketing situations, as such models assume linear relationships between mix variables and the resultant outcomes (McGlone & Ramsey, 1998:248 and Tedesco, 1998:5). Since the simplistic approaches recommended by traditional theories can be dangerous, marketers should consider the overall environmental position when designing their strategies and adopt non-traditional marketing methodologies (Wollin & Perry, 2004:568). The classic 4Ps of marketing have been questioned as inadequate (Van Waterschoot & Van den Bulte, 1992:91), and developed further into the 7Ps of Booms and Bitner (in Zeithaml & Bitner, 2003:24) and of Christopher et al. (in Palmer, 1994:32). However, the 4Ps is still the most common model of the marketing mix (e.g. Kotler & Keller, 2006:19)

I have a feeling that if I did have the time to count, the number of actual theories (that were not requested for) would exceed the actual company analysis (that was requested for).

Marketing Mix of Coke

Product

Coke is a non-alcoholic, soft carbonated drink that is made from the extracts of coco leaves. It has a distinguishing taste and is of great quality and taste. Apart from the regular Coke, it also has other variants such as Diet Coke, Coca Cola Vanilla, Coca Cola Zero, and Coca Cola Cheery along with special types of Coke that comes in lime, coffee and lemon. The concentrate which is the sole of the product is manufactured by the company itself and then sold to licensed bottlers who later produce the finished product by making a mixture of the concentrate, sweeteners and water. It is then poured into cans and bottles and sold. The brand name is well known, famous, recognised and recalled by virtually everyone in UK and around the globe.

Figure: 3Source: marketingteacher.com

The product’s logo, design and colour are all well known and people associate themselves with this brand. It’s a symbol of lifestyle. The brand is among the highest equity brands. The product keeps on innovating to maintain its attractiveness and appeal. It comes in glass and plastic bottles as well as cans of different sizes and capacities in order to suit the needs of everyone be it individuals or big families, parties etc. Coke even comes as Coke Mini which is a can of 7.5 ounce. The brand is known for its great quality and taste. It gives special attention to the health and safety aspect of its consumers and that is why is moving towards the use of all natural elements used in production. The introduction of Diet Coke and focus on recycling and safe disposal of the product are also given great importance. The design of the bottle has a great appeal and is known as the Contour bottle. It is distinctive in nature and looks smart, hip and trendy. It serves to fulfil the physiological or basic needs of its consumers. Figure 3 above shows the elements of a marketing mix.

Price

Coke is seen to be involved in competitive pricing in order to better compete with its competitor Pepsi but it does not compromise on quality. The price of Coke is fixed but it occasionally comes up with seasonal discounts and pricing, bundling, volume discounts, etc in times of holiday season or other such events. Coke does not indulge in discriminatory pricing however it offers wholesale pricing when selling to fast food chains such as McDonalds, restaurants etc.

Placement

A distribution channel is a non-linear system that can be stable, periodically oscillating, or chaotic (Priesmeyer, 1992:79). Distribution network of Coke is very extensive and that is why it is available everywhere. It makes sure that Coke is easily available to everyone by making use of supermarkets, retail stores, vending machines, restaurants etc. The company has contracts with distributors and suppliers and occupies the best shelf space in every store and market. It can be found everywhere. It works all over the globe by making use of franchising.

Apart from the Promotion subchapter below, no other marketing mix element has been reported with actual proof. Even the promotion subchapter below does not contain any references, therefore where did you get your information fromThey all seem to be based on the understanding of the writer and nothing else. This is an academic report, and as such needs market report. For instance Datamonitor, Mintel or KeyNote would have been very crucial in understanding the soft drinks market which Coke operates in, and thus assist you in conducting a better analysis.

Promotion

Promotion has been the biggest success factor behind Coke. Coke spends heavily on advertising and is involved mainly in above the line promotion. Initially modes of advertisement were newspapers, radio, billboards and providing customers with free samples and coupons of Coke. Today, Coke relies mostly on television advertising as it has both high frequency and reach and involves both audio and visuals. Coke always comes up with new and innovative adverts and makes special advertisements for every region it operates in that are suited to the local culture and needs. Coke also has brand ambassadors and spends heavily on promotion. Coke makes use of glittering generalities which are very persuasive in nature. It is involved in the sponsorship of many events particularly related to youth and sports. The major events sponsored by Coke include Olympics, FIFA World Cup, Cricket World Cup and The Football League. Many movie and television serial producers also promote Coke in their productions.

Part ‘3’ – Your fully justified recommendations in respect of the revised marketingprogramme elements needed to improve market size and/or profitability

In light of the above analysis, there is no doubt that Coke is one of the biggest, strongest and most successful consumers brands present not only in UK but everywhere on this planet. It has a huge and loyal customer base and is the market leader.

Recommendations

But there are certain things that Coke needs to focus and improve upon in order to be more productive, efficient and earn more profit margins.

Firstly, it needs to work upon its brand image in certain countries such as Saudi Arabia and the parts of Middle East. In these parts of the world, Coke is banned and boycotted as Coke keeps on making timely investments in Israel. These countries only allow Pepsi to be sold within their premises and thus Coke is losing on a very big chunk of the market and Pepsi is making its strong hold there.
Secondly, it should focus more on its distribution channels and make them wider and more effective as Coke is still not widely and easily available as Pepsi.
Thirdly, it needs to work more on its advertisement campaigns as Pepsi has an edge over Coke in this aspect. Coke should also advertise and sell more through online channels and advertise on social networking websites such as Twitter, Facebook etc.
The company should make sure that the consumers are well aware about all its latest promotions and activities such as bundling offers, discounts, special offers, price cuts, timely offers etc. The company should also revise its segmentation strategy and form even small target market segments so it can better and effectively understand the drastically changing needs and wants of its customers and be able to fulfill and satisfy them.
Coke needs to diversify into other conventional and non conventional products thus engaging both in related and unrelated diversification (non-carbonated products) so that it has a broad and diverse portfolio of products and it can do this easily by making use of its brand name and equity.
Establishing a feedback mechanism is also very necessary.
Coke needs to pay special attention to the markets in which its performance is declining such as Thailand and Indonesia and should try to penetrate more in the emerging markets which are the biggest market for consumer goods today.

The requirements were for “Your fully justified recommendations in respect of the revised marketingprogramme elements needed to improve market size and/or profitability” And as such, each recommendation you have provided should have been backed up with actual problems, and references to these problems. These problems should have been highlighted as the major threats of your market research, and not just brought up in the recommendations chapter. One of your recommendations is “establishing a feedback mechanism is also very necessary”. How is that justified in anywayWhy is it essential to establish a feedback mechanism, who said soAnd what makes you feel it is important. If it is you, then why should it be an actual recommendation for an organisation. There is a reason why we only have 14 writers out of up to 200 applications, and it is because we need to trust everyone to provide the best quality written work. I cannot risk damaging the reputation of our site Essays by sending this work to the client. I would hate to think of the consequences.

Conclusion

There is no doubt that Coke is one of the largest and most successful consumer brand in UK and globally. It occupies the largest market share and deals with external and internal pressures effectively. Its marketing plan and mix is very good and has helped to enable Coke to stay competitive and compete with Pepsi in the best possible and efficient manner.

As everything has pros and cons, a bright and dark side, some advantages and disadvantages; same is the case the Coke. There are some aspects on which Coke lags behind and they require its immediate attention if Coke wants to stay on the top and further increase its market value, market share and size and increase in profitability.

References:

Aaker,D. (1991), Managing Brand Equity: Capitalizing on the Value of a Brand Name, Free Press, New York, NY.
Aaker, Jennifer (1997), “Dimensions of Brand Personality”, Journal of Marketing Research, 34 (3), 347-356
Amirkhan, J.H. (1990), “A factor analytically derived measure of coping: the coping strategy indicator”, Journal of Personality and Social Psychology, Vol. 59 No. 5, pp. 1066-74.
Batra, Rajeev, Donald R. Lehmann and Dipinder Singh (1993), “The Brand Personality Component of Brand Goodwill: Some Antecedents and Consequences” in Brand Equity and Advertising, ed. David A. Aaker, Alexander Biel, Hillsdale, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 83-96.
Ben Delaney, (2007), The Marketing Mix.
Chandy, R., Tellis, G. J., MacInnis, D., & Thaivanich, P. (2001), What to say when: Advertising appeals in evolving markets. Journal of Marketing Research, 38, 399–41
Dacin, P.A. and Smith, D.C. (1994), “The effect of brand portfolio characteristics on consumer evaluations of brand extensions”, Journal of Marketing Research, Vol. 31, May, pp. 229-42.
Davis, F.D. (1989), “Perceived usefulness, perceived ease of use, and user acceptance of information technology”, MIS Quarterly, Vol. 13 No. 3, pp. 319-39
Doyle, Peter (2001), Marketing Management and Strategy, 3rd edition, New York.
Fernandez, Colin (2008,. “DNA Damage Fear”. London: The Daily Mail.
Gerard J. Tellis. (2006), Modelling Marketing Mix, University of Southern California.
Hanssens, Dominique M., Leonard J. Parsons, Randal L. Schultz. . Market Response Models: Econometric and Time Series Analysis ,2nd ed. Kluwer Academic Press, Boston, M,2001.
Michael Porter, (1990), The Competitive Advantage of Nations.
Porter, Michael E.(1980) Competitive Strategy. New York: Free Press
Tellis, G. J. (2004). Effective advertising: How, when, and why advertising works. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage
Terwiesch, C, 2005, Product Development as a Problem-solving Process. in S. Shane, Blackwell Handbook on Technology and Innovation Management, forthcoming
Simon , Kucher & Partners (2004), Power Pricing, WHU Koblenz.
Singh V., K. Hansen, R. Blattberg. 2006. Market entry and consumer behaviour: An investigation of a wal-mart supercenter. Marketing Sci. 25(5) 457–476.
Shankar, V., R. Bolton. (2004), An empirical analysis of determinants of retailer pricing strategy. Marketing Sci. 23(1) 28–49
Rajendran, K. N., & Tellis, G. J. (1994). Is reference price based on context or experienceAn analysis of consumers’ brand choices. Journal of Marketing, 58, 10–22
Wen-fei L. Uva, (2001), Smart Pricing Strategies, Department of Applied Economics and Management, Cornell University
http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1021820/Diet-Coke-drop-additive-DNA-damage-fear.html 30-12-2010

http://www.shell-livewire.org/why-u-need-a-business-plan/PEST-analysis/ 30-12-2010

http://marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/lesson-five-forces.html 31-12-2010

http://marketingteacher.com/lesson-store/lesson-marketing-mix.html 31-12-2010

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Business environment assessment

Abstract

This paper provides answers to different questions relating to the dynamic business environment in the UK. The aim is to understand the organisational purposes of UK businesses as well as of the nature of the national environment in which UK businesses operate. Another important objective of the paper is to provide a relevant understanding of the behaviour of organisations in their market environment. It is important to assess the significance of the global factors that shape national business activities.

Organisational Purposes of Businesses

Q1.1 An organisation is described as a structured, open systems unit that is managed to meet various collective goals. All organisations emerge with a management structure that regulates relationships between stakeholders and different activities (Pearlman and Mollere 2009). There are different types of organisations in the UK, such as sole traders, partnerships, companies and franchises (BPP Learning Media 2010). The sole trader is a common form of business ownership and is found to operate in different industry sectors. Approximately 20% of sole traders in the UK operate in the construction industry (Lindgreen et al. 2009). The purpose of the sole trader organisation is to make quick business decisions and to maintain close contact with employees and customers.

Partnerships as a form of organisation are subjected to regulation by the Partnership Act of 2002. This Act makes it legal for different forms of partnership to have a substantial number of partners who enjoy limited liability (BPP Learning Media 2010). The purpose of partnerships refers to sharing skills and expertise, which in turn leads to adequate opportunities to raise capital. There is a clear account of the profits and losses to be shared (Ehrhart et al. 2013). Partnerships are common in setting up professional services, including solicitors, accountants, etc.

Q1.2 A selected organisation in the UK business context is that of Tesco. The values shared by the organisation relate to understanding customers, meeting their needs and acting responsibly for local communities (Pearlman and Mollere 2009). In an attempt to define a stakeholder, it appears that this is a person or group that has interest in an organisation. Stakeholders can influence or be influenced by the organisation’s actions, aims and objectives (BPP Learning Media 2010). The wide range of stakeholders at Tesco indicates the company’s responsibility to take their distinct views into account.

Tesco has different stakeholders, such as customers, employees, communities, suppliers, governments and regulators and non-governmental organisations. Tesco’s brand is something more than the way the company simply works (Belasen 2007). The organisation ensures a high level of stakeholder engagement, which is essential to its values (Ehrhart et al. 2013). The regular meetings held in the company help managers identify and respond to evolving customer needs. In addition, Tesco engages with employees through regular feedback and open communication. Tesco is committed to participate in various community initiatives, focus groups and consumer panels. Suppliers are fundamental to the company’s success (Lindgreen et al. 2009). Tesco has also demonstrated its goal of maintaining an open relationship with political stakeholders. The organisation considers the importance of meeting with non-governmental organisations to discuss emerging issues and concerns.

Q1.3 Tesco has various responsibilities to its stakeholders, such as helping customers lead healthy lives, creating jobs and developing future leaders, optimising organisational networks, and planning relevant community activities (BPP Learning Media 2010). The strategies employed by Tesco to meet these responsibilities correspond to its aims and objectives as well as mission and vision statements. Tesco recognises its role in helping customers lead healthy lives by providing high-quality products, such as the Goodness range for children in the UK (Pearlman and Mollere 2009). The sporting events organised by the company help many people lead active lifestyles. For instance, the aerobics programme in Thailand has generated substantial success. Tesco is committed to creating jobs and developing future leaders (Knox and Gruar 2007). The opening of its zero-carbon training academy in Asia is indicative of the company’s dedication to this objective.

It has been argued that one of the most impressive things about Tesco is the opportunity it has to change people’s lives. Individuals can join the organisation even if they lack qualifications because the company provides regular training and learning opportunities to new employees (BPP Learning Media 2010). The optimisation of the company’s networks is done through maximising fuel economy and introducing alternative forms of transport, such as rail. This initiative helps reduce the release of harmful emissions into the environment. Tesco’s stores are at the heart of the communities the company serves (Vanhamme et al. 2012). The support demonstrated to these communities is evident through providing high-quality products at affordable prices, various educational initiatives and charitable work.

The Nature of the National Environment in Which Businesses Operate

Q2.1 An economic system refers to a system of production and distribution of products and services. Such economic system is also represented by the allocation of resources in a society through various institutions and organisations (Belasen 2007). One of the economic systems to be identified is that of a mixed system, which is prevalent in the UK. Another type of economic system is a command economic system or planned economy. Scarcity in the context of economic systems is associated with limited resources (Douglas and Wykowski 2010). Such resources are identified as the inputs of production in terms of land, labour and capital. Individuals are expected to make choices between different items simply because the resources that are necessary to fulfil are limited.

As mentioned, the economic system present in the UK is a mixed system. It is represented by state ownership of particular organisations, such as the British Broadcasting Corporation. The mixed economic system indicates an adequate level of government regulation as well as open market (Pearlman and Mollere 2009). The allocation of resources in a mixed economic system is done through market forces, as in the case of the grocery sector in the UK economy. Mixed economies may indicate a properly functioning public sector. Yet there is a balance between the public and private provision of resources (Douglas and Wykowski 2010).

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Global Regulatory Regime for Environment

Introduction:

The environment surrounding us is precious and of high importance for every individual, yet people and processes are causes of the highest amount of harm to the environment. As the areas surrounding us get filled up with waste, chemicals, noise, pollution, and other harmful gases, it becomes increasingly difficult to live in such areas. Moreover, these areas lose their natural beauty. Harmful chemicals, pollution, and the inappropriate disposal of waste material also causes severe harm to the forestry and the trees surrounding an area and leads to the reduction of clean air or oxygen prevalent in the area. Thus, people and other living things must succumb to breathing in carbon dioxide and other harmful gases. Such polluted environments are not only harmful to the betterment of the planet but are also highly toxic for human beings, animals, plants, and all living organisms. Thus, substantially reducing the quality of life for living things and their prospects for leading a healthy life (Gerlagh & Mathys, 2011).

While much of the pollution and harm to the environment is caused by individuals during the course of living in their own homes through the use of toxic chemicals such as body sprays, hair sprays, cooking oils, the use of their cars, inappropriate disposal of waste and lack of recycling; a large amount of harm to the environment is caused by businesses and industries. Businesses adopt processes of production and research and development which may lead to the accumulation of high amounts of waste material, release of toxic chemicals, inappropriate disposal of recyclable material, and large emissions of smoke and pollution from factory areas amongst many other forms of harming the environment. (Fredrikson,1995).

Businesses, in the process of mass production, are likely to harm the environment in substantial ways besides the smoke and pollution emissions from factory areas. Other common ways of bringing harm to the environment include using non-renewable resources in production without proper planning and control. Cutting down trees to build industrial and shopping areas is also another form of harm to the environment. Businesses and industries may also use parts of endangered species in order to facilitate their production process or as an input into their products. Animal testing is also a common method used by businesses which often gives rise to substantial levels of criticism. However, many or most of these effects are necessary or inevitable when businesses indulge in production and research processes. (Antweiker et al, 2001). Yet, many can be controlled to a large extent. However, businesses are unwilling to put in that extra amount of effort and money to ensure that their processes and the materials they use are environmentally-friendly (Grieg et al, 2005).

Corporate Social Responsibility:

Corporate social responsibility is another highly popular business practice that many businesses now aim to implement either to fulfill their own personal vision regarding the type of impact they should have on the environment or because they want to ensure that their reputation remains clean and high in the eyes of their consumers. Often, applying socially responsible techniques leads to higher levels of investment or cost as close consideration must be made when choosing appropriate materials, applying appropriate processes, and implementing other supervisory and control procedures. However, many consumers and the media, especially in developed countries, demand that organizations act in an ethically acceptable and socially responsible manner. This includes caring for the environment and ensuring that their business processes do not cause excessive harm to the environment. This is often done by controlling the amount of emissions coming from a factory, controlling the types of inputs that are put into products, using recyclable material and encouraging recycling, helping the preservation of endangered species and refraining from using animal testing, and implementing an appropriate waste disposal procedure amongst innumerous other actions (Landes, 1998).

However, while corporate social responsibility practices may be a norm in developed countries, they may be considered a luxury in the Third World. With many other problems plaguing the people of such countries, there is no control over the manner in which the environment is harmed in Third World countries. Waste is often disposed of outside factory gates or in empty land sites in residential areas without considering the filth and diseases that such waste material contains for the people living in nearby areas. Water and air is highly polluted in industrial and factory areas as business owners are mainly concerned with their own profit and are not concerned about the well-being of people surrounding that area. There are no regulations or control on such practices which force individuals living in such countries to live sub-standard or low quality lives. The amount of noise pollution caused by businesses is highly negligible as that is only the beginning of the environmental problems prevalent in these countries (Toffel et al, 1998). Oil spills and highly dangerous chemicals are often found in areas around factories and in other landfills which are often a cause for death to people or children who are found in those areas. Recycling is not highly practiced in organizations in Third World countries and there is no regard for the proper use of non-renewable resources (Bierman, 2003).

Global Regulatory Policies:

There is a very strong need for proper regulation in order to control the manner in which businesses and industries affect the environment around them and the manner in which they dispose of their waste materials. This is a prevailing problem in many parts of the world and is also an existing problem in developed countries. There are still many businesses who have not succumbed to following appropriate environmentally friendly practices. Depletion of the ozone layer, losing the fertility of soil, and permanently polluting the environment with antioxidants are just some of the highly harmful effects that can exist because of the malpractices that businesses engage in. In order to prevent the occurrence of such effects, there needs to be a proper regulation system in place. As the problem of harm to the environment is a global issue as it is highly important for the whole planet to remain free from harm, there may be a need for a global regulatory regime or policy to govern the environmental practices of businesses (Cassesse, 2010).

Global regulatory policies are often used to govern other aspects of human existence such as the relationship between countries, human rights, trade, and other such areas which involve practices worldwide. Global regulatory regimes are often made with a consensus of all the countries involved and require the assent of their leaders to implement such policies within their own country. Different countries are likely to have different policies regarding environmental control, and have their own set of laws which govern their particular borders regarding how to prevent environmental damage. However, there have been occurrences of international treaties in which numerous countries participated in order to mutually attempt to bring benefit to the environment (Abbott, 2012).

Previous Environmental Laws:

Law governing the environmental aspect of society is known as environmental law. Many such laws have been passed in the United States in the past such as the National Environmental Policy (1969), the Clean Air Act (1970), the Clean Water Act (1972), and the Endangered Species Act (1973). The National Environmental Policy Act of 1969 aimed to ensure that all activities whether federal or private must be assessed and evaluated on the pretense of their effect upon the environment and their subsequent influence upon the surroundings around them. This meant that any project in the United States excluding those performed by the President or Congress were to be assessed to ensure that they did not cause immense harm to the environment. This act was implemented when concerns for the environment began to increase and people became more conscious of the effects that their actions caused upon the environment. The Clean Air act of 1970 aimed to ensure that the air remained clean and emissions and the release of gases was controlled in order to prevent toxic emissions or the release of a high amount of antioxidants Industries and factories were given permits in order to control the amount of emissions they could release and they were heavily penalized if they exceeded the specified amount of emissions allowed to them. There were also days on which emissions were not allowed from factories and businesses were made to seize production in order to let the air remain clean for specific periods of time (Avant et al, 2010).

While the above mentioned laws were specific to the United States, there have been laws which governed the whole world at large. Some of these laws are known as customary laws and have become such common practice that it is considered necessary for all countries to be bound by them. These laws are often upheld by authorities such as the United Nations. Such laws are usually laid out after world conferences in the United Nations and examples include the United Nations Conference on the Human Environment, World Commission on Environment and Development, United Nations Conference on Environment and Development. and the World Summit on Sustainable Development. Protocols are also made between countries which are subsidiary agreements made from the main treaty. These smaller agreements govern certain aspects of the main agreement and put forward additional requirements that must be followed in addition to the main agreement. Some of the most popular protocols include the Kyota Protocol and the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (Bierman & Bernd, 2009).

Accordingly, many international organizations are also made which seek to implement such environmental goals of which some of the most popular ones include International Trade in Endangered Species of Wild Fauna and Flora and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature. Hence, there are many platforms for making international laws and global regulatory regimes in order to promote the environmental cause. Moreover, such actions have been taken before and there are many laws in place governing such issues. (Keohane, 2010).

Benefits and Prospects of Adopting a Global Regulatory Regime:

Hence, the prospects of adopting a global regulatory regime are quite high as many countries are now mutually concerned regarding the environment and the effects that businesses and industries have upon their countries. Moreover, due to high awareness levels and a lot of media coverage, individuals, businesses, and specifically multinational organizations seek to focus upon the implementation of safe and fair practices for the environment and seek help and support in this regard. There are organizations and international committees which work for this cause and serve as a platform to bring many countries of the world together to discuss important issues Accordingly, as it is often said that brainstorming and consultation can lead to better solutions, the adoption of a global regulatory regime allows the leaders and prominent personalities of the world to mutually decide what is beneficial for their country and the world at large (Keohane, 1984).

As the whole planet technically belongs to all individuals and the actions of one country are likely to affect the whole planet, it is also important for there to be a mutual consensus regarding the practices prevalent in different countries across the globe. For example, the USA’s excessive use of aerosol sprays has depleted the ozone layer and this has eventually affected global warming in the whole world. In the same manner, the excess of pollution in the air and other toxic chemicals affect processes such as rain, global warming, and the prevalence of clean water for multiple countries who share borders and water facilities through the use of rivers. Hence, while one country may adopt principles to govern the environmental aspect in their own country, they may not be completely aware of the effect that practices in their own country are having upon other countries and vice versa. Thus, it may be more beneficial to discuss these problems together and on a global platform in order to come up with mutually feasible solutions (Scott, 1998).

Accordingly, the feasibility and previous implementation of a global regulatory regime for the environment may be high, yet it is a highly difficult procedure and program to successfully implement and ensure that it is abided by. Thus, there may be several problems associated with the adoption of a global regulatory regime and the attempt to implement it in all countries of the world (Wilson, 1991).

Problems with the Adoption of a Global Regulatory Regime:

One of the most troubling problems of adopting a global regulatory regime or attempting to implement it is the setting up of an authority to ensure implementation and supervise the regime. It is literally impossible for a regulatory committee to be physically present in all parts of all countries governed by the regime, thus it becomes nearly impossible for such committees to supervise and check whether the laws governing this regime are followed in all parts of all countries. Accordingly, it is not possible or easy to maintain a proper check and balance on the laws governing this global regime and it is not possible to detect offenders easily. If there is no proper way to uphold the regulations in the regime, the regime is likely to be highly ineffective (Wilson, 1991).

Moreover, there needs to be a proper way to punish countries which do not follow the regime properly and do not uphold the laws described in it. It may be highly difficult to decide upon a punishment for such countries and even more difficult to implement such a punishment. It may also be easy for countries with higher levels of influence to avoid punishment. Another very tantalizing aspect is to decide upon the judiciary who will preside over such cases and maintain a fair and balanced system. This is highly difficult to implement on a global scale (Sim & Teoh, 1997).

The costs associated with implementing the system and maintaining a committee for check and balance purposes will be quite high and may be considered unnecessary by many countries. This may also be considered a waste of time and effort by many world leaders and it is highly difficult to arrive at a mutually agreed upon decision. Moreover, the drafting of policies governing the global regulatory regime is likely to be a highly rigorous process which is likely to take a lot of contemplation, argument, and debate. There are not likely to be many occasions on which all countries agree or cooperate and such procedures cannot be forced upon countries which do not agree. Treaties are made by mutual consent and obtaining mutual consent is likely to be the major problem prevailing in the implementation of such policies (Feigener, 1997).

Many countries argue and debate for long periods of time concerning the applicability of customary laws towards themselves. Many countries want to be free from having to abide by such laws and put up issues in United Nations meetings. Hence, if the application of customary laws becomes a matter of debate, the adoption of a global regulatory regime is likely to become a matter of intense or perhaps never-ending debate (Sadiq & Governortori, 2010).

There are costs associated with the implementation of environmental controls and these costs are likely to be high. Hence, all countries may not be willing to implement these costs within their respective country as it may be burdening upon their budget and they may have other concerns for which to allocate their national budget to. Due to the associated costs, many countries refrain from indulging in environmentally friendly practices and this includes countries such as the United States of America. Moreover, many world leaders may consider these extra costs to be unnecessary and burdensome for the economy. It will obviously take extra expenditure on the part of each country separately in order to ensure that regulatory practices are implemented within their own country. Hence, many leaders consider this to be unnecessary expenditure and do not express their consent to indulge in such excessive expenditure.

One of the most important reasons for the difficulty in adopting a global environmental regulatory regime is that the circumstances of all countries are different. While the citizens of some countries are educated and aware of the need for an environmental cause, the citizens of other countries are not aware of such problems and have other bigger problem plaguing their nation. Moreover, while some developed countries have the resources and equipment needed to implement environmental controls, other poorer nations of the world completely lack such facilities and cannot support such regimes.

Environmental problems affecting different countries are also of diverse natures but it is widely known that developing countries require even more regulatory controls than developed nations as the atmosphere in their countries is highly dangerous for the citizens of the country and leads to many deaths annually. Moreover, awareness programs and other initiatives are required in such countries in order to at least make the situation satisfactory if not excellent. However, these goals and others concerning the environment seem to be a long way away from being fully achieved (Baumgartner & Winter, 2013).

Conclusion and Recommendations:

While it is not easy to adopt a global regulatory regime, countries can hold annual conferences in order to discuss environmental issues and attempt to mutually solve the environmental concerns arising (Nielson & Jensen, 2013). Countries who do agree upon implementation of environmental controls can sign treaties and agreements in order to make the implementation of such procedures official. They can also attempt to have talks with the leaders of other countries and provide support for the successful implementation of environmental controls and regulatory regimes in these countries. Support can be through manpower, delegations, or financial aid in order to help other countries conform to the laws governing environmental concerns. However, countries who do not agree upon the implementation of such controls cannot be forced to consider them (Henri & Jornalt, 2010).

Serious offenders or countries which are severely damaging the environment can be reprimanded through boycotts from other countries, cutting off of trade, foreign aid, or through other means. However, it is necessary to consider the country’s circumstances before such severe consequences are applied and talks should be carried out in order to solve such issues (Fuerist & Mcallister, 2011).

Hence, a global regulatory regime can be applied towards some countries of the world but is extremely difficult to apply on all countries of the world and can be considered impossible to some extent.[1] However, there are manners in which countries can take initiatives as a combined body to help the environmental cause and promote the campaign against environmental harm caused by industries and businesses worldwide (Tessitore et al, 2010).

References
Abbott, K. (2012) The Transnational Regime Complex for Climate Change, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press
Anderson, R. (2010) “Who Controls the Off-Switch?’ Smart Grid Communications International Conference. 96-101
Antweiler, W., B. Copeland, & M.S. Taylor. (2001) “Is free trade good for the environment?” American Economic Review. 91. pp.877–907
Avant, Deborah D., Martha Finnemore, & Susan K. Sell, eds. (2010) Who Governs the Globe?. Cambridge University Press.
Baumgartner, R. & Winter, T. (2013) “The Sustainability Manager: A Tool for Education and Training on Sustainability Management.” Corporate Social Responsibility and Environmental Management.
Biermann, F. & Bernd S. eds.( 2009) “Managers of Global Change: The Government and Policy.” Environment and Planning Control. 30(4) pp.571-90
Biermann, F. (2010) “Beyond the Intergovernmental regime: recent trends in global carbon governance”. Current Opinion in Environmental Sustainability. 2 (4) pp. 284-288
Cassesse, S. (2010) “Is There a Global Administrative Law?”.The Exercise of Public Authority by International Institutions. 210. pp. 761-776
Fiegener, M. (1994) “Matching Business-level Strategic Controls to Strategy: Impact on Control System Effectiveness. Journal of Applied Business Research. Vol. 10 (1)
Frederiksen, B.S. (1995) “National Responses to the EC Nitrate Policy.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management. Vol. 38 pp.253 – 264.
Fuerest, F. & Mcallister, P. (2011) “Green Noise or Green ValueMeasuring the Effects of Environmental Certification of Office Values. Real Estate Economics. Vol, 39 (1) pp.45-69
Gerlagh, R. and N.A. Mathys. (2011) “Energy Abundance, Trade and Industry Location.” Working Papers Fondazione Eni Enrico Mattei.

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Grieg-Gran, M., I. Porras, & S. Wunder. (2005)”How can market mechanisms for forest environmental services help the poor?” Preliminary lessons from Latin A .Influence of International Environmental Bureaucracies. Cambridge, Mass: MIT Press
Henri, J. & Journalt, M. (2010) “Eco-Control: The Influence of Management Control Systems on Environmental and Economic Performance.” Accounting, Organizations, and Society. Vol. 36 (1) pp. 63-80
Keohane, R. O. (1984) After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Princeton: Princeton University Press.
Keohane,N. O. (2010) Thinking about Leadership. Princeton: Princeton University
Landes, D. S. (1998) The wealth and poverty of nations: why some are so rich and some so poor. W. Norton, New York, New York, USA.
Nielsen, J. & Jensen, T. (2013) “Environmental Epidemiology”. Essentials of Medical Geology. 537=547
Sadiq, S. & Governatori, G. (2010) “Managing Regulatory Compliance in Business Processes”. Handbook on Business Process Management. 159-175
Scott, R. (1998.) Organizations: Rational, Natural, and Open Systems. Prentice Hall.
Sim, A.B. & Teoh, H.Y. (1997) “Relationships Between Business Strategy, Environment and Controls; A Three Country Study.” Journal of Applied Business Research. Vol. 13 (4)
Tessitore, S., Daddi, T., & Iraldo, F. (2010) “The link between environmental and economic performance: evidence from some eco-innovative industrial clusters”. International Journal of Environment and Sustainable Development. 12 pp. 124-144
Toffel, M., Short, J. & Ouellet, M. (2012) “Reinforcing Regulatory Regimes: How States, Civil Society, and Codes of Conduct Promote Adherence to Global Labor Standards.” Harvard Business School Technology and Operations Management Unit Working Paper 13.
Voigt, S. (2012) The Economics of Informal International Law: An Empirical Assessment. In Informal International Lawmaking. edited by Joost Pauwelyn, Ramses A. Wessel, and Jan Wouters. New York: Oxford University Press
Wilson, J. (1991) Bureaucracy: What Government Agencies Do And Why They Do It. Basic Books

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Appraising an organisation’s environment

Introduction

The main aim of this paper is to present a proposal on the environmental scanning in the strategic management context. This proposal will demonstrate the main aims and objectives along with the background of the chosen organizationIt will further propose the rationale for the environmental scanning technique. The methodology section will explore the main tools, which will aid in the collection of the necessary data.

Background

It is proposed to analyse the charitable organization, which is based at Nottingham University, namely NUSA (Nottingham University Samworth Academy). This organization specializes in fundraising on the global scale (NUSA Official Website, 2012). The main unique selling point is attributed to the fact that this organization acknowledges the great power of social media and technology. This implies that the fundraising activities are maintained by means of social and interactive promotions. Additionally, this organization is using for – profit approach, which suggests that the fundraising activities generate revenue for NUSA (NUSA Official Website, 2012).

Aim and Objectives

The aim is identified in order to provide the guidelines for the research proposal (Saunders et al., 2009).

The main aim of this proposal is to explore the benefits and disadvantages of the key environmental scanning techniques in the strategic management context. The smaller objectives include:

To contrast and compare the environmental scanning techniques
To identify the main environmental scanning technique that would be beneficial in the context of strategic planning and management
To evaluate long term implications of the chosen environmental scanning technique
Rationale

There are different techniques available for environmental scanning. Environmental scanning is regarded to be the most important task prior to strategic planning and management. The chosen environmental scanning model for the purposes of this research , is based on the adherence to the main objectives related to environment evaluation. These objectives include the identification of the activities, the evaluation of the processes, the analysis of the information sharing process and investigation of information produced.

As a result, the environmental scanning model is based on implementation of PESTEL analysis, Porter’s Five Forces Analysis, Internal Analysis and Consumers (refer to the below demonstrated model).

This process is based on the utilization of both macro – and micro-environmental evaluations, namely PESTEL and SWOT analysis. PESTEL analysis is designed in order to identify the main external forces that may emerge and thus impact the organization (Johnson and Scholes, 2009). These forces, namely in the political, economic, social, technological, environmental and legal domains, are uncontrollable (Johnson and Scholes, 2009). Therefore, these have to be identified in order to be able to respond to their emergence from a strategic perspective. SWOT is a micro-level analysis, which serves as a foundation for identification of the future opportunities and threats for the company (Ip and Koo, 2004). Opportunistic matrix identifies the main activities that may be performed in relation to the identified findings in terms of the possible response (Ip and Koo, 2004).

Porter’s Five Forces, is the key framework, which is utilized in order to identify the competitiveness of the organization within the industry. This is established with the help of the analysis of the influences of the main competitive forces, namely the power of buyers, the power of suppliers, threat of substitutes, threat of new entrants and the degree of rivalry (Porter, 1985). The findings demonstrate the industry’s forces that are perceived to be weak therefore may be taken advantage of in the strategic context.

Finally, the last stage of the environmental analysis aims to investigate the consumer behaviour and the key consumer trends. It is specifically focused on the identification of the patterns of consumer behaviour and consumer needs. It is maintained in order to apply the strategies that would affect the increase of customer satisfaction and further expansion of the target audience (Kotler and Armstrong, 2010).

The information sharing process is based on the implementation of the top down sharing approach. This implies that the information is transferred from the managerial levels to business and functional levels (Anderson, 2007). This enables quick ad facilitated information processing from the decision makers to the members of a functional level.

Criticism of a Chosen Technique

Despite the effectiveness and scope of the chosen technique, it is still subject to a certain degree of criticism. This implies that this framework does not incorporate the evaluation of the social impacts, which would be suitable, given the nature of the fundraising business (Becker, 2001). A PESTEL analysis mentions social impacts, whereas Opportunistic matrix involves evaluation of the societal forces (Correia and Wilson, 2001).

On the other hand, this environmental scanning framework allows us to evaluate the company from the organization’s, industry’s and consumer perspectives, which adds the depth to the possible findings. Other than that, this model aims to identify the key trends that may emerge. As the result, based on the identified findings, the organization may plan future strategies that would aid in response to the possible trends.

Even though, a PESTEL analysis tends to incorporate the risk analysis, much more advanced and in-depth risk evaluation might have been performed by IRGC (Model of Risk Governance) (Petts, 2008). However, given the scope of the framework and actual business, this analysis might have been perceived as too specialized.

Porter’s Five Forces, is a beneficial model for industry’s investigation. However, it has been developed in relation to the idea that contemporary market is perfect. This is not true, therefore this framework fails to address some issues that would be applicable to the imperfect market.

Methodology

It is recommended to perform the analysis on the basis of integration of the secondary research. The main sources will be acquired from the academic and professional books and journals, databases , reports and news reports. The secondary research is regarded to be limited, since the material for it is collected and analysed at east 1-2 years prior to publication. Therefore, the sources may be regarded as obsolete and outdated (Saunders et al., 2009).

Conclusion

This paper, designed in the format of a proposal, has been produced in order to identify and evaluate the best environmental scanning model in the context of strategic management. The paper demonstrates the most suitable environmental scanning technique for the charitable organization, namely NUSA. This organization specializes in fundraising and is based at Nottingham University. The environmental scanning model consists of four main stages, namely PESTEL analysis, Porter’s Five Forces, SWOT analysis and Consumer Evaluation. This analysis is regarded to be multidimensional thus adding depth to the evaluation. Despite it being a quite effective framework, it still has attracted some criticism. This implies that there is lack of evaluation from the social perspective, given the nature of the fundraising business. Furthermore, larger focus should have been applied to the possible risks examination. Other than that, this framework proves to be beneficial and effective from the strategic perspective.

References

Anderson, (2007), “Social networks and the cognitive motivation to realize network opportunities: a study of managers’ information gathering behaviours”, Journal of Organizational Behaviour, Vol.29,Iss.1, pp.51-78

Becker H. (2001), “Social Impact Assessment”, European Journal of Operational Research, Vol.16, Iss.2, 311-321

Correia, Z. and Wilson, T.D. (2001), “Factors in?uencing environmental scanning in the organizational context”, Information Research, Vol. 7, Iss. 1, – Available at http://InformationR.net/ir/7-1/paper121.html, (Accessed on 21st November, 2012)

Ip, Y.K. and Koo, L.C. (2004), “BSQ strategic formulation framework: a hybrid of balanced scorecard, SWOT analysis and quality function deployment”, Managerial Auditing Journal, Vol. 19, pp. 533–543.

Johnson, G., Scholes, K. and Whittington, R., (2009), Fundamentals of Strategy, p.102, London: Prentice Hall

Kotler P., Armstrong G., (2010), Principles of Marketing, 13th ed., Pearson: USA

NUSA Official Website (2012), “NUSA’s Mamelodi Fundraising Page”, Available: http://www.justgiving.com/NUSAMamelodiFundraising/ (Accessed on 2ast November 2012)

Petts J., (2008), “Public engagement to build trust: false hopes?” , Journal of Risk Research, Vol.11, Iss.6, 811-832

Porter, M.E., (1985), Competitive Advantage, Free Press: New York

Saunders, M.N.K., Lewis, P., and Thornhill, A. (2009), Research Methods for Business Students, 5th ed., Prentice Hall: UK

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Suggestion of an Ideal Business Environment Appraisal Tool for Consensus Caring Homes Group

Introduction

One of the characteristics of the present day organisational environment is its proneness to change. It is therefore advisable for organisations to ensure that they employ ideal analysis tools in evaluation their internal and external business environments (Teece, 2010). By so doing, they will be able to formulate and implement strategies that will enable them to successfully wade through these changes and maintain their relevance to the people or clients that they target. There are different environmental appraisal tools that can be used in evaluating the internal and external environments of an organisation (Gazzola et al., 2011). Selection of these techniques is based on several factors, one of these being the aspects that the organisation is interested in knowing (Cadle et al., 2010). This paper suggests and justifies the most ideal environmental appraisal technique that can be used by Consensus Caring Homes Group, a charitable organisation that provides specialist services for adults with learning disabilities in Scotland, Wales and England.

Proposed Environmental Analysis Technique

The ideal analysis tool that can be used by Consensus Caring Homes Group is SWOT analysis. This technique evaluates the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats that characterise a business (Cadle et al., 2010). Strengths and weaknesses are internal aspects of the organisation, while opportunities and threats are elements of the external environment and out of the organisation’s control.

Aspects that are considered when establishing strengths and weaknesses of an organisation include its financial capabilities, its physical resources, the effectiveness of its workforce, quality of goods or services it offers to its clients and its organisational structure, among others (Helms, 2010). On the other hand, factors of the external market that can be analysed by this framework include the clients’ trends, economic conditions, demographics of the target markets, legislation and the rivalry in the industry, among others (Lussier, 2011). The reasons why this technique has been selected over the other available analysis tools are discussed below.

Justification of the selection of SWOT Approach

According to Cadle et al. (2010), this analysis is ideal for the strategic planning process of an organisation, which Consensus Caring Homes Group intends to carry out. On carrying out an effective and comprehensive SWOT analysis, companies are able to evaluate the new ventures in which they can involve themselves and their capabilities to do so. They are also able to identify the changes to be made in order to reduce or eliminate the weaknesses and evade the potential threats that they might face (Helms, 2010). This therefore enables organisations’ management teams to communicate the strategic adjustments that need to be made.

As opposed to many other frameworks, the SWOT analysis approach as earlier discussed analyses both the internal and external business environments. The PESTEL analysis framework, for instance, only provides an overview of the external environmental factors – political, economic, social, technological and legal – affecting a certain organisation or industry (Cadle et al., 2010). It must therefore be combined with an internal analysis technique for an organisation to make an ideal decision on the strategic direction that can be taken. This is also the case with techniques that only provide an internal environmental analysis like the VRIN framework which evaluates whether a certain resource of an organisation can provide it with a sustainable competitive advantage (Warner, 2010). This convenience that is provided by the SWOT analysis gives it an edge because it guides how internal capabilities can be used in utilising opportunities and evading threats in the external business environment.

The simplicity of the SWOT analysis approach also makes it ideal for analysis, especially if a quick strategic decision in the organisations has to be made. According to Cadle et al. (2010), anyone with a good understanding or knowledge of the business can carry out a SWOT analysis. The fact that it does not need a high degree of specialisation to be used also makes it a cost-effective approach because rather than hiring external specialists to carry out an environmental analysis, a staff member with vast knowledge of the organisation can be asked to carry it out (Helms, 2010).

Even with the mentioned advantages of SWOT analysis over the other frameworks, several researchers have questioned its effectiveness. One of these disadvantages is that it does not weigh the elements listed as strengths, opportunities, weaknesses or threats according to their levels of significance (Helms, 2010). This makes it challenging for the impacts of these factors to be determined. The analysis has also faced criticism for being subject to bias, depending on the parties involved in carrying out the analysis (Cadle et al., 2010).

Applicability of the SWOT analysis approach on Consensus Caring Homes Group

This section bases on the SWOT analysis framework to highlight the strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats of the Consensus Caring Homes Group. As the organisation intends to make strategic plans to improve its service delivery and position in the industry, this analysis will be effective in guiding its decision making process.

Strengths

The organisation serves the elderly with a wide range of learning disabilities. These include mild, moderate and severe learning disabilities, Down’s syndrome and autism spectrum conditions (Consensus, 2014a). This provides the elderly with such conditions with an all-inclusive care plan for learning disabilities, eliminating the need for referrals.

Staff members and volunteers are also highly dedicated towards providing the much needed services for the elderly with learning disabilities. The superiority of their service quality earned the organisation recognition as the ‘Specialist Care Provider of the Year’ in 2011’s Health Investor Awards (Carehome.co.uk, 2014). This has created a good reputation for the organisation, which enables it to attract more investors.

The fact that Consensus Caring Homes Group has offices throughout Scotland, Wales and England makes it accessible to a wide range of people in need of its services (Consensus, 2014b). To the target groups, it shows its dedication towards serving them. Its premises are also located in areas that are accessible to transportation, making accessibility easy for caregivers and patients moving to and from the homes.

The strategic partnerships that the organisation has formed with other primary care units and local authorities within the United Kingdom also assures it of the support it needs in accessing funds or alternative healthcare solutions for its patients (Carehome.co.uk, 2014).

Weaknesses

One of the weaknesses or Consensus Caring Homes Group is that it has been in existence for only about 10 years since its inception in 2004 (Consensus, 2014a). Whereas it is endeavouring to strengthen its position, it lacks the experience that other organisations that have been in the industry for longer possess.

The high dependence on the local government for funding is also a weakness for the organisation because in many cases, the funding is conditional. If it fails to meet the standards set by the local government, the funding may be cut.

The organisation experiences occasional insufficiency of funds, which makes it challenging for it to compensate its workers and motivate them to deliver high quality services. This also contributes to a high turnover rate for employees.

Some of the organisations premises have not been designed to sufficiently carter for people with other physical disabilities. This makes it challenging for them to move around or use some facilities when visiting these homes.

Opportunities

Improvement in service delivery by the organisation provides it with the opportunity of attracting more investors (Ordanini et al., 2011). This will reduce the funding challenges that it is currently facing.

In addition to only dealing with learning disability issues for the elderly, the organisation can expand to also incorporate other health issues that affect the elderly rather than referring them to other facilities. This will enable them to effectively monitor the progress of their patients.

The technological advancements and research breakthroughs that are being experienced in the field of mental healthcare provide the organisation with the opportunity of offering better diagnosis and remedies for the patients that it targets (Rosenberg et al., 2012).

Threats

As aforementioned, the organisation heavily relies on funding from the local government. In case of a regime change, the changes that might take place in budgetary allocations may bring about a threat of reduction or termination of funding (Teece, 2010).

A diminishing quality of service, especially during periods of insufficient funding, threatens the good reputation of the organisation (Ordanini et al., 2011). This not only repels patients from seeking its services, but also increases scepticism among investors and well wishers who fund its operations. Employees may also resign citing poor remuneration, exposing the organisation to competition from other enterprises offering the same services.

Conclusion

A periodic appraisal or evaluation of internal and external business environments of an organisation is ideal for strategic planning. One of the widely used frameworks of analysis whish has been addressed in this paper is the SWOT analysis technique, which highlights the internal strengths and weaknesses, and the external opportunities and threats. Whereas it has several advantages over other analysis techniques, it also has a few shortcomings, which have been addressed. An example SWOT analysis that has been carried out on Consensus Caring Homes Group in this paper has listed most of the factors that it needs to consider before making a strategic decision regarding its performance.

References

Cadle, J., Paul, D. & Turner. P. ?(2010). Business Analysis Techniques: 72 Essential Tools for Success. Chippenham: BCS, The Chartered Institute.

Carehome.co.uk. (2014). Care Homes Owned by Consensus: Info & Members. [Online] Available at: http://www.carehome.co.uk/care_search_results.cfm/searchgroup/36151030CARB [Accessed 21 November 2014].

Consensus. (2014)a. Consensus Support Website: What Support do we offer[Online] Available at: http://www.consensussupport.com/ [Accessed 21 November 2014].

Consensus (2014)b. The Consensus Support website: Where are we located[Online] Available at: http://www.consensussupport.com/ [Accessed 21 November 2014].

Gazzola, P. et al. (2011). Enhancing environmental appraisal effectiveness: Towards an understanding of internal context conditions in organisational learning. Planning Theory & Practice, 12(2):183-204.

Helms, M.M. &. Nixon, J. (2010). Exploring SWOT analysis–where are we now?: A review of academic research from the last decade. Journal of Strategy and Management, 3(3): 215-51.

Lussier, R. (2011). Management Fundamentals: Concepts, Applications, Skill Development. Mason: Cengage Learning.

Ordanini, A., Miceli, L., Pizzetti, M. & Parasuraman, A. (2011). Crowd-funding: transforming customers into investors through innovative service platforms. Journal of Service Management, 22(4):443-70.

Rosenberg, L., Kottorp, A. & Nygard, L. (2012). Readiness for Technology Use With People With Dementia The Perspectives of Significant Others. Journal of Applied Gerontology, 31(4):510-30.

Teece, D.J. (2010). Business Models, Business Strategy and Innovation. Long Range Planning, 43(2):172-94.

Warner, A.G. (2010). Strategic Analysis and Choice: A Structured Approach. California: Business Expert Press.

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Using the Law to Protect the Environment

Introduction

When defining the environment, Dimento (2003) states that it comprises of both natural and anthropogenic elements that are not only mutually interrelated, but has an impact on the ecological balance, life, human health, historical and cultural heritage and the landscape. From this definition, the environment comprises of three main things, the natural resources, the fauna and flora, and the properties which form part of the cultural heritage (Shelton & Kiss 2005). The misuse of environmental resources and pollution worldwide has prompted commitment from governments and major stakeholders to put in place measures to protect the environment, and, consequently, environmental laws are being enacted in an effort to protect the environment (Dimento 2003). The environmental resources cannot be rejuvenated once depleted; neither can it protect itself from misuse and pollution. Therefore, only the law can be used to protect the environment. Putting in place laws in charge of the environment will speak loudly about how the environment can be used sustainably as well as give prior warnings to those who may intend to misuse or pollute the environment. Laws usually give directions and consequences of going against such directions. Environment has its own rights and any violator of such rights will only be answerable to the law.
According to UNEP, environmental law looks at the features of the protection programs which have been put in place to safeguard specific aspects of the environment and natural resources, such as water, air, waste and endangered species. It is also the reference point for judges presiding over environment related cases (Thirlway 2003). Before 1960, the environmental law did not exist as independently as other domestic or international legal issues (Shelton, Kiss & Kanami 2003). However, international laws in place currently to help tackle the scientific issues which affect the environment, such as uncertainty issues, sustainable development, issues of diversity and settings issues of individuals and the society, and economics aspects of the environment (Fitzmaurice 2003). These laws seek to control the use of resources in a sustainable manner and to eradicate contamination of the environment through pollution and similar human practices. These laws, therefore, protects against loss of biodiversity, loss of fertility, desertification and famine, depletion of fishing resources, increase of cancers due to depletion of the ozone layer and damage of future generations (Zaelke, Kaniaru & Kruzikova 2005). According to the United Nations (2003), sources of environmental laws can be classified into two categories: the National laws and the International laws. The basis of the legal mechanisms of the environmental law include prohibition and restriction of activities such as pollution, product and process standards, prior informed consent, environmental impact assessment, and land use regulation (Zaelke, Kaniaru & Kruzikova 2005). Generally, these laws are formulated in such a way that they are preventive, that is, they prevent damage of the environment such that the use of some resources from the environment must be approved through rigorous exercises of environmental impact assessment and other similar regulations. This, in a broader perspective, helps in protecting the environment. Sanctions and penalties have also been put in place for those who fail to comply and this also helps in protecting the environment (Stanley, Johnson & Gunther 1993).

References.

Dimento, J., (2003)., The Global Environment and International Law, .University Of Texas Press.

Fitzmaurice, M., (2003)., The Practical Working of the Law of Treaties, In International law, Oxford University Press.

Tarlock, D., History of Environmental law. Environmental law and their enforcement, Vol 1,

Thirlway, H., (2003)., The Sources of International Law, In International Law, Oxford University Press. (272)

Shelton and Kiss., (2005)., Judicial handbook on Environmental law, UNEP, Hertfordsire,

Shelton, Kiss & and Kanami., (2003)., Economic Globalization and Compliance with International Environmental Agreements. New York:, Kluwer Law International, New York.

Stanley, Johnson and & Gunther., (1993)., Managing Fragile Ecosystems: Combating Desertification and Drought, The Earth Summit: The United Nations Conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) n.d

United Nations., (2003),. Handbook of Final Clauses of Multilateral Treaties,
< http://untreaty.un.org/English/TreatyHandbook/hbframeset.htm>
United Nations Environment Programme, Division of Policy Development and Law (“Unep/Dpdl”) < http://www.unep.org/DPDL/law/ >
Zaelke, Kaniaru & and Kruzikova,. (2005),. Making Law Work, Environmental Compliance and Sustainable Development.,Cameroon.

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Analysis of Nestle’s Business Environment

Company Overview

Nestle, based in Switzerland, is the world’s leading food and nutrition company measured by revenues (Nestle, 2013). The company sells baby foods, breakfast cereals, coffee, confectionery, frozen food, pet foods, yoghurt and snacks through extensive distribution channels all over the world spreading out from facilities run by the company in over 100 countries. It owns several major consumer brands such as Stouffers, Nescafe, Kit-Kat, Carnation, Nestle water, among many others used by millions each year and which have established Nestle’s successful global brand image (Interbrand, 2013). This success can be attributed to clear focus and vision, as well as success in its continual differentiation and brand positioning which strengthen its market position (Jones, 2012).
To sustain this success and thus maintain leadership in its market, the company must often audit and review its strategic position in light of changing factors in its business environment. This paper undertakes this strategic assessment employing the PESTLE framework of analysis.

PESTLE analysis

The PESTLE framework is a strategic tool used to measure market potential and situation of company (David, 2009). It focuses on factors in the external environment which encompass effects from the political, economic, social, technological, legal and environmental spheres.
Political factors
With operations spread out across the globe, Nestle is liable to political influences unique to various jurisdictions including applicable laws and regulations governing business operations, as well as stringent international health and safety requirements of significance in the food and nutrition sector, such as the ISO 9002 and HACCP (Hazard Analysis Critical Control Point) preventative food safety systems. The primary goal of these regulations is the protection of consumers from poor quality, potentially health averse/harmful products (Hill, 2006). The company has suffered challenges related to contamination of its products and poor quality supplies which have led to product recalls and market concern. This has hurt the company’s image and impacted sales as well as challenging it with regard to quality control (Nestle, 2013). The company has responded appropriately to address these, to ensure quality and safeguard confidence in its products (Jones, 2012). For successful engagement internationally, Nestle should endeavour to meet these expectations and to conform to the requisite legislations and regulations applicable.

Economic factors

The global business environment has recently been significantly hindered by economic setbacks due to downturn and global recession. These have adversely affected demand for products through its effect on consumer spending. However, recovery has been swift and the continuing globalization and consolidation has further enhanced growth and demand for product with the convergence in consumer tastes and preferences globally (Hanson et al., 2011). The rise in emerging market economies portends surplus buying power, as well as economies of scale which proffer added economic advantage (Vandewaetere, 2012).
The leverage of huge resource capital and R&D capability into continual introduction and redesign of products enables Nestle to strengthen its competitive advantage. Through the localisation of operations in over 100 countries across the globe, the company manages to address the impact of foreign currency fluctuations on import and export aspects of trade (Jones, 2012).

Social factors

As a producer of finished consumer goods, Nestle is hugely dependent upon customer satisfaction and desirability of its product range to achieve success (Jones, 2012). The company, thus, chooses to embark on huge spending in its competitive sectors to maintain its brand image and to enhance product desirability. Competitive advantage in the sector requires continuous research and development leading to the frequent introduction of new products and redesign of products (Interbrand, 2013). This is a significant strength of Nestle and among the notable factors upon which its industry, sector or market leadership is based (Nestle, 2013).
There is an increasing trend towards healthy eating which is increasing demand for healthier food products. This is laden with potential to affect product lines such as chocolate drinks (Jones, 2012). The company has taken specific steps such as the acquisition of specialised start-ups, and successful partnerships to meet the needs of health conscious consumers and thereby to take advantage of emerging market trends and opportunities (Vandewaetere, 2012). Nestle is therefore considered to be well adjusted to its market segments given its focus on this growth driver as well as its focus on popularly-positioned products which aims to provide a brand to meet every need. Its more than 8,000 brands enable it to achieve this strategic focus and to compete successfully against corporate rivals (Interbrand, 2013).

Technological factors

The fast pace of technological development and associated capabilities portend significant challenge for competitiveness in modern industry. Nestle has endeavoured to keep up through enormous investments in research and development to enhance its capability, as well as process efficiency which have enabled its successful differentiation and enhanced competitiveness (Nestle, 2013). However, the company still experiences challenges in its quality control with its inability to provide consistent quality in food products hurting company image and affecting sales (Jones, 2012). The company’s response in this regard has been quite appropriate enabling it to weather this challenge successfully. It has endeavoured to ensure quality in the foregoing and to safeguard confidence in its products through its seal of guarantee initiative (Interbrand, 2013).
Environmental factors
Nestle is involved in numerous programs aimed at making the company more eco-friendly which are inherent in its CSR initiatives. However, the company is criticised for its weak approach and over the effectiveness of their programs (Jones, 2012; Interbrand, 2013). With the scale of their operations across the globe and massive quantity of output, it is imperative that the company should enhance focus on its environmental impact which is a notable concern in modern industry. This factor has capacity to ruin reputations and affect performance (Hill, 2006).

Legal factors

Global operations in diverse jurisdictions require astute legal capabilities which Nestle seems to be endowed with. The company’s successful operations in over 100 countries attest to this giving it an edge in unmatched geographical presence in the industry. It also has notable competency in mergers and acquisitions which have enabled it to diversify and to successfully enter new markets thereby sustaining its competitive edge (Vandewaetere, 2012).

Major challenges affecting the company
Three major challenges are identified and explored to gauge their effect and to find out ways in which they might be addressed.

Quality of products and supplies

A major challenge with huge capacity for adverse impact on Nestle’s business potential concerns the quality of products delivered and thus the quality control schemes for its products. There have been instances of contamination of products as well as poor supplies which have led to a number of product recalls from the market (Interbrand, 2013). This challenge is fundamental particularly with regard to operations in the food and nutrition industry which is subject to stringent quality, as well as health and safety regulations. The company is subject to a high bargaining power of customers for the most part due to the availability of a wide range of substitute and alternative products in the market and fierce competition from worthwhile rivals (Carpenter and Sanders, 2007).
Flouting of health and safety regulations also portends risk for operations in various jurisdictions and may lead to bans in markets and/or restrictions on the use of concerned products. This would definitely be a hindrance to business and would not only adversely impact sales but also would hurt company image and brand positioning which are vital intangible assets in a highly competitive market (Hanson et al., 2011).
To reduce the negative impact of this challenge, the company needs to tighten its quality control procedures and schemes for products and also needs to enforce stringent procedures in the choice of suppliers and in the procurement of raw food items from them (Interbrand, 2013). This would not only guarantee conformance with requisite legislation but would also ensure that quality is maintained and adhered to across the entire supply chain. Also essential are measures to ward off loss of consumer trust and drop in confidence in products offered. Assurances in this regard are critical for the maintenance of brand image and reputation, and as well serve to guarantee product performance in the market (Jones, 2012; Vandewaetere, 2012).
Weak implementation of eco-friendly initiatives
Nestle pursues eco-friendly initiatives as constituent in its corporate social responsibility (CSR). Yet, these initiatives have been subject to extensive criticism over weakness in its approach and over the effectiveness of their programs (Vandewaetere, 2012). Environmentally friendly initiatives are particularly of concern for such entities as Nestle given their scale of operations across the globe and quantity of product output considering its 8,000 product brands (Interbrand, 2013). The primary objective of the company is the delivery of the best quality in everything from primary produce, choices of suppliers and transport, to recipes and packaging materials (Nestle, 2013). However, every stage in its supply chain is bound to have adverse environmental impact which is a notable concern in modern industry given the drive to environmental responsibility. Disregard of such concerns exposes the company to risks to reputation which could have a direct impact on performance (Hanson et al., 2011).

Increasing trend towards healthy eating

With the rise in diseases associated with sedentary lifestyles, food choices, and eating habits, there has emerged global awareness of their impacts on individual health. This has engendered health consciousness and regard for choice of foods and their nutritive value or possible consequences. This has led to a trend towards healthy eating which continues to drive consumer preference and demand for healthier food products (Luthans and Doh, 2012). Such a trend is bound to affect popular product lines, such as chocolate drinks, that Nestle offers impacting demand and therefore market performance (Vandewaetere, 2012).
In its consumer goods business, Nestle is hugely dependent upon customer satisfaction and desirability of its products to achieve success. It is thus immensely susceptible to market dynamics and trends such as eh above which it can do very little to control and manage (Kazem and Richard, 2008). The problem is further exacerbated by the emergence of social media and global networking through the internet which continues to drive globalization and which is causing a global convergence of consumer tastes and preferences (Hanson et al., 2011; Luthans and Doh, 2012).
To counter this challenge, the company needs to embark on initiatives to develop a healthier range of products to cater to health conscious consumers and thereby to take advantage of the emerging trend and opportunities. Nestle should be keen to note the various dynamics and their impact on performance, and should develop flexibility which would enable faster response and adaptability to changes in the market (Jones, 2012). With a sound financial resource base, it is prudent for the company to pursue mergers and acquisitions, which it has done quite successfully, leveraging on its competence in that regard (Vandewaetere, 2012). This way, it is able to hasten its learning curve and guarantee success of initiatives (David, 2009) particularly in light of the fact that the company has an immense range of brands and a complex operational matrix which are in themselves quite a challenge to manage successfully.

Conclusion

Several factors affect Nestle in its international operations among them political, economic, social, technological, as well as environmental and legal factors, which are significant influences determining the success of operations in modern business environment. Three particular challenges are identified as having substantial impact on Nestle’s operations and business potential. They include: quality of products and supplies which portends loss of confidence in product; the company’s weak implementation of eco-friendly initiatives which are essential not only to check the environmental impact, but also serve as proof for goodwill to society; and, the increasing trend towards healthy eating which is a concern for future competitiveness of the company’s products. These challenges should be addressed to guarantee success of products in markets, as well as overall competitiveness.

References

Carpenter, M., and W., Sanders, (2007). Strategic Management: A Dynamic Perspective. Harlow: Pearson Prentice Hall.
David, F. R. (2009), Strategic management: concept and cases (12th Ed). Pearson, NJ: Prentice Hall.
Hanson, D., M., Hitt, R., Ireland, & R., Hoskisson, (2011). Strategic Management: Competitiveness and globalisation (Asia-Pacific, 4th Ed). South Melbourne, Australia: Cengage Learning
Hill, C., (2006) International Business: Competing in the Global Economy, (7th Ed) Maidenhead: McGraw-Hill
Interbrand (2013). Best Global Brands 2012. Accessed 1/9/2014 from: http://www.interbrand.com/en/best-global-brands/2012/Best-Global-Brands-2012.aspx
Jones, S., (2012). Strategic Management at Nestle. Accessed 1/9/2014 from: http://www.articlesbase.com/management-articles/strategic-management-at-nestle-5907881.html
Kazem, C., and L., Richard, (2008). Sustainable competitive advantage: towards a dynamic resource-based strategy. East London Business School: University of East London, UK.
Luthans, F., and J., Doh, (2012). International Management: Culture, Strategy, and Behaviour, (8th Ed). Maidenhead: McGrawHill
Nestle, (2013). Annual Report – 2013 (English). Accessed 2/9/2014 from: http://www.nestle.com/asset-library/Documents/Library/Documents/Annual_Reports/2013-Annual-Report-EN.pdf
Vandewaetere, B., (2012). Personal Interview – 28th November, 2012: Responsible for European Affairs, Nestle. Accessed 2/9/2014 from: www.Nestle.com

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Business Environment

Abstract

This paper is divided into three parts in order to explore important business and management issues. The first part of the assignment demonstrates significant details about the performance of Virgin Atlantic Airline (VAA) and its interrelations to numerous external factors such as the UK recession impact, effects of EU regulations and the business environment. Moreover, PEST analysis of VAA is presented in the first part. The issue of supply and demand as well as the way in which VAA tends to determine its pricing decisions is described. The second part of the assignment describes the differences and similarities between three economic systems: free market, command system and mixed system. A major conclusion indicated in the second part is that he mixed economic system is mostly prevailing in current economies and thus appears more effective than the others. The third part of the paper provides details of determining prices and output decisions in different market structures to include a perfect competitive market, monopoly, monopolistic competition and oligopoly.

Introduction

This paper provides answers to questions presented in three separate tasks. The first task involves numerous aspects related to the performance of Virgin Atlantic Airline (VAA). The purpose and objectives of the airline are properly defined to indicate its strong presence in the industry by providing optimal customer service. Moreover, the first part of this assignment shows the impact of the UK recession on the activities of VAA. External factors of the environment in which the company operates are considered along with the forces of demand and supply that directly affect the pricing decisions and sales of VAA. In addition, the conduct of PEST analysis reveals significant insights into the performance of VAA affected by the business environment. Task Two provides an adequate explanation of three economic systems: free market, command and mixed. Each one has benefits and limitations, but the mixed economic system appears to allocate resources more effectively than the others. Task Three explains how prices and output decisions are determined in different market structures such as a perfect competitive market, monopoly, monopolistic competition and oligopoly.

Task