Many real-world problems have multiple competing objectives and can often be formulated as multi-objective optimisation problems. Multi-objective evolutionary algorithms (MOEAs) have proven very effective in obtaining a set of trade-off solutions for such problems. This research seeks to improve both the accuracy and the diversity of these solutions through the local application of evolutionary operators to selected sub-populations. A local operation-based implementation framework is presented in which a population is partitioned, using hierarchical clustering, into a pre-defined number of sub-populations. Environment-selection and genetic-variation are then applied to each sub-population. The effectiveness of this approach is demonstrated on 2- and 4-objective benchmark problems. The performance of each of four best-in-class MOEAs is compared with their modified local operation-based versions derived from this framework. In each case the introduction of the local operation-based approach improves performance. Further, it is shown that the combined use of local environment-selection and local genetic-variation is better than the application of either local environment-selection or local genetic-variation alone. Preliminary results indicate that the selection of a suitable number of sub-populations is related to problem dimension as well as to population size.