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Business Sustainability: A cleaner production approach to small business management

Student Manual

Environment Australia
October 2000
ISBN 0642547149

Business Sustainability: Session 6 - Presentation to the Small Business

Objective of this Session To plan formal presentations to the small business
The following topics will be covered in this session
Presentation Planning
Formal Agreement with Business
Preparation of Formal Presentations
Appendix - Summary of Cleaner Production Project

Presentation Planning


The team should make a formal presentation to the small business before the business manager is asked to sign the formal agreement. This presentation must be given by the end of Week 4.

Topics to be Covered

The following topics are suggested for the formal presentation:

What the Team will Need from the Small Business

It is important that the team tell the small business what is required from the business during the project, namely:

Data on overhead costs, business profits and profit margins is not needed.

All this information will be kept confidential (covered by a formal agreement).

Other Information about the Project

The following additional information about the project should be offered in the presentation:

One-page Summary Document

A one-page summary document (attached below as Appendix 6.1) should be left with the small business after the presentation. (This summary will be a useful guide in preparing the presentation).

Formal Agreement with Business


The business manager, the academic supervisor and each student in the team will sign a formal agreement. Some of the team and business' obligations are discussed below.


All data and information on the business collected by the student team must be treated in the strictest confidence. Seek the guidance of the business representative on the team as to which data and information can be shared with students from other teams in the tutorials.

It is very important that no financial, technical or operational information from client businesses be passed on to anyone outside the course either during or after the course is completed. This applies equally to student reports.


All data and information gathered by the team will be disclosed to the business manager/owner or business team member.


The team may enter the business' premises only with the permission of the business manager. Teams will abide by any restrictions imposed by the business manager, and must be aware of and follow all safety rules and procedures.

Read the Agreement

The formal agreement covers a number of issues in addition to those discussed above, so every student must read it carefully.

Preparation of Formal Presentations - Class Activity

Class Activity

Objective: to get the presentation planning process started in an environment where teams can bounce ideas off other students and the facilitator if needed.

Break into your teams and start planning your presentations. You may be invited to discuss with the facilitator (or the whole class) any issues arising from the planning process. (You have a very tight timeframe for completing your presentation to the business).

Anticipate some of the likely questions that you may be asked by business employees, and prepare answers to them. Notes from the class activities in Session 4 may be useful.

Appendix 6.1 - Summary of Cleaner Production Project

Objective of the Project

For a group of three students to work with your business to perform a cleaner production assessment. The cleaner production assessment will identify waste reduction options that will potentially reduce business operating costs and increase the business' economic sustainability.

The cleaner production method seeks first to identify waste reduction options, then to implement these options. The student teams will work with the business to complete the first phase - the cleaner production assessment. It will be up to the business to implement these options.

Cost of Waste

Waste comprises all process inputs not incorporated into the product, and all process outputs that are not saleable. All wastes have had value added to them by production processes (eg. transport, storage, handling, heating, and partial processing costs). The full cost of waste is therefore not only the initial purchase cost and the disposal cost, but also the cost of this added value. If business managers realised the full cost of waste to their business, then most would put more effort into waste reduction.

Overview of Cleaner Production Assessment Method

The cleaner production assessment comprises two stages: the preliminary assessment and the detailed study.

In the preliminary assessment, data and information are collected about the business, its premises and operations, and its processes. The business' main inputs and product and waste outputs are identified. This stage culminates in the choice of those inputs and waste outputs that are most likely to provide opportunities for improvement. The selected inputs and waste outputs will be the focus of detailed study in the next stage.

The detailed study is a systematic compilation, validation and assessment of process data to identify specific opportunities for reducing or eliminating wastes. This leads into development and evaluation of options for improvement, and finally a business improvement plan.

Advantages of a cleaner production assessment for small business

A cleaner production assessment offers a business the opportunity of reducing its operating costs. Savings are achieved by reducing wastage in the business. This benefits the business' bottom line and our environment.

What the Team will need from the Business

The project requires commitment from the business' management team. It will also require:

(Data on overhead costs, business profits and profit margins is not needed).

Other Information

The following additional information about the project should be offered in the presentation:

Project Outcome

There are two main outcomes of the project: (a) a business improvement plan identifying options for improvement and cost savings, and (b) demonstration of a methodology that the business can use to identify further waste reductions to continually increase their profitability and so obtain competitive advantage.