Theory and Practice of Business under Sustainability Principles
Edited by Geoffrey Wells
Chapter 11: Innovation in sustainable business practices: greening the family firm
Eco-sustainability is focussed on wise stewardship of environmental resources and is defined as ‘the ability of a company to continue indefinitely by making a zero impact on environmental resources’ (Blowfield and Murray 2011, p. 59). Much of the eco-sustainability literature has focused on high visibility large enterprises (Bos-Brouwers 2009), largely overlooking small and medium enterprises (SMEs), which employ 250 or fewer workers (Levinsohn and Brundin 2011). However SMEs are the most common business form in the US (Heck and Trent 1999) and beyond, comprising up to 95 per cent of all businesses in both the developed and developing world (OECD 2011). These businesses create up to 70 per cent of the world’s industrial waste and pollution (Hillary 2000), yet little is known about their behaviour in terms of eco-sustainable practices. Scholars are only now beginning to recognize the importance of SMEs in managing environmental challenges (Battisti and Perry 2011; Levinsohn and Brundin 2011). Many of these SMEs are family owned and managed businesses. Despite their importance to environmental management, researchers have been slow to study eco-sustainability in the context of family businesses (Sharma and Sharma 2011).
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