A movement to mobilize the Portuguese Ornamental (OS) sector to reduce waste and improve flexibility began in 2004. Boosted by R&D Mobilizing Projects in consortium and fostered by two of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG9 and SDG12), this mobilization resulted in a new generation of technologies, concepts and innovative practices, matching the needs of Portuguese OS companies, stressing an integrated approach to European Competitiveness that should be fostered by a sustainable industrial policy, combined with innovation and skills. Bearing in mind that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) are the blueprint to achieve a better and more sustainable future for all, and considering the importance of following the goals and guidelines of SDGs 9 and 12 in the industrial processes optimization achievement in the Portuguese OS sector, the following research question arises: What is the impact of the R&D Mobilizing Projects on the efficiency and image of Portuguese OS companies?
The objective of this research is to conceptualize an empirical framework based on a mixed methodology, to assess the efficiency and image benefits resulting from participation in these R&D Mobilizing Projects. Through applying the empirical framework to two case studies, it was concluded that for companies that since 2004 have been part of R&D Mobilizing Projects, the evolution in terms of improved energy and raw-material efficiency, soft skills and improved facilities is more positive than in other OS companies. Moreover, there are potential gains in efficiency and image of 9.62%, compared to companies that have never participated in this type of project. This results match with the EU's integrated climate and energy policy and an integrated approach to the sustainable management of natural resources, the protection of biodiversity and ecosystem services. The sustainable production and consumption revealed in the Portuguese OS sector are among the drivers for achieving objectives under both the SDG and the Lisbon strategy.