Table of Contents

Sustainable Business

Sustainable Business

Theory and Practice of Business under Sustainability Principles

Edited by Geoffrey Wells

Recent surveys of international CEOs confirm that companies increasingly see sustainability as critical to their business strategy. The rigorous academic framework for the field of sustainable business required to respond to this need is now emerging. This book presents important new work in the theory of the sustainable firm, in the application of sustainability principles to key management disciplines, in sustainable business in practice, and in the international challenges that are critical to sustainability demands.

Chapter 12: Sustainability in the retail and services sector

Janet Sawyer and Nina Evans

Subjects: business and management, corporate social responsibility, strategic management, economics and finance, environmental economics, environment, corporate social responsibility, environmental economics


This chapter discusses a study of the attitudes and activities of small businesses located in the city of Whyalla towards strategies to enhance their sustainability through socially and environmentally responsible initiatives. Whyalla is an industrial city located on the upper Spencer Gulf in South Australia with a population of approximately 23 000 people. Over the years the city has experienced rapid expansion due to the introduction of a steel making plant in 1961 (population increased to approximately 38 000), followed by a decline with the closing of its shipbuilding operations in 1971. Whyalla is currently in an expansionary phase attributable to major growth in the surrounding mineral resources industry, which offers significant potential flow-on benefits for businesses in the city (WEDB, 2006). The study of social responsibility is currently receiving much academic attention, and has also moved up the corporate agenda. The European Commission (2001) defines corporate social responsibility (CSR) as ‘a concept whereby companies decide voluntarily to contribute to a better society and a cleaner environment’ (European Commission, 2001, p. 5). CSR involves complex issues such as environmental protection, human resource management, health and safety, and relations with local communities, suppliers and consumers.

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