With growing awareness of environmental issues — from global warming to local waste disposal — business and government have come under increasing pressure to reduce the environmental impacts involved in the production and consumption of goods and services. However, organizations consider environmental assessment fairly late in the product development process, which generates additional design constraints and increases the development costs. The integration of environmental requirements through life-cycle stages of a product is a likely approach, leading to a new paradigm of green manufacturing. Empirical studies by various authors have indicated that Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) find it difficult to implement environmental issues in product and process design because of lack of time, resources, expertise and/or framework in comparison to large enterprises. This paper presents the results of an empirical study carried out on Indian SMEs to develop product and process characteristics of green manufacturing. Fifteen product and four process characteristics have been developed to be considered during the product and process design to address the environmental issues for the life cycle of the product. These characteristics provide an easy to use self assessment framework to the SMEs to address the various environmental issues during the product and process design. The characteristics identified from the literature have been validated by using SPSS for Windows statistical tool. The reliability and validity of the data has been assessed by the Cronbach alpha and factor analysis respectively. The results provide sure evidence that the developed characteristics are highly reliable having Cronbach alpha values more than 0.9. Factor loading values for all characteristics are above 0.6, which shows the high validity of the data. A high value of Pearson correlation coefficients also reflects the high correlation among the developed characteristics. The study highlights the various environmental issues to be considered by the SMEs during the product design and development phase.

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