Research Handbooks in Business and Management series
Edited by Paula Kyrö
Chapter 11: The impact of micro-firm everyday practices on sustainable development in local communities
While micro firms are normally discussed in light of their function as providers of employment and substantial research has explored their various roles in the economy, little has been said about their responsibilities and capabilities in sustainable development processes vis-a-vis entrepreneurship. Indeed, more generally, as Hall et al. (2010: 339) state: ‘To date, the academic discourse on sustainable development within the entrepreneurship literature has been sparse’. Moreover, although the Brundtland Commission (1987) acknowledged at an early stage in the discourse of sustainable development the role that the micro-firm sector could (and indeed must) play, as Crals and Vereeck (2011) observe, it remains far from clear that small businesses can afford the time required to follow any one of the plethora of sustainability certification processes and guides now available. Indeed the sheer quantity of assistance on offer itself has the potential to confuse. One UK database, for example, lists over 500 environmental accounting software tools (Environment Tools, 2013). Some considerable degree of specialist knowledge and time is required to meaningfully differentiate between these offers, despite their potential to routinize data collection and to guide on action. Similarly it is difficult to imagine many small businesses, particularly of micro scale, using official guidance such as the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra)’s (2006) environmental key performance indicators, as these again require considerable understanding and time to make sense of and to use.
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