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Title: Perceptions of context, contribution, challenges and critical success factors in the adoption of sustainability footprints by Scottish SMEs
Author: James, Lowellyne
ISNI:       0000 0004 6422 4169
Awarding Body: Edinburgh Napier University
Current Institution: Edinburgh Napier University
Date of Award: 2015
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This research explores perceptions of the context, contribution, challenges and critical success factors in the adoption of sustainability footprint strategy amongst Scottish SMEs. Critics of sustainability footprint measurement insist that by nature it records historical impact and does not incorporate the views of future generations and are a luxury for most firms except those achieving near monopolistic profits. Recent UK greenhouse gas policy initiatives are specifically targeted at large organisations and do not provide the institutional support required to assist SME's in greenhouse gas emissions reporting. Despite overwhelming evidence as to the benefits of sustainability footprint tools such as carbon footprints very few companies set emissions targets. Surprisingly still there is limited research conducted as to the benefits of sustainability footprint tools to SMEs and their perceptions as to its contribution to business success. Interviewees highlight that case study Scottish SMEs are driven to implement sustainability footprints to pre-empt future GHG legislation, process improvement, cost reduction, senior management commitment, emissions reduction, CSR and waste reduction. However the emphasis on GHG emissions has contributed to “carbon myopia” an exclusive focus on carbon footprint measurement. This research supports the view of senior management commitment as critical to the success of sustainability footprint measurement initiatives but policymakers also have an enabling role by ensuring fair competition, access to grants, mandatory guidelines for SMEs, tax incentives, fines, legislation, emissions league table and carbon reporting as a pre-qualification criteria for government tenders. Scottish SME interviewees adopt a sustainability negative perceptual orientation suggesting barriers to placing sustainability on the agenda such as implementation cost, lack of knowledge, sustainability competing with other issues on the agenda, time constraints, the transience of sustainability, inability to recoup carbon footprint costs, failure to recognise benefits, generational issues and communication Scottish SME case studies however reveal an ambivalent “love hate” relationship amongst interviewees with sustainability which varies depending on the proximity of the individual to the economic, social or environmental issue. Thereby underlining the importance of management's ability to influence stakeholders to remain sustainability positive in orientation through training, instruction and supervision that promotes sustainable behaviour. The Sustainable Strategic Growth Framework is proposed as a solution to the Sustainability/CSR Dilemma and to align employee behaviour with sustainability objectives.
Supervisor: Stonehouse, George Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: SMEs ; Scottish business ; sustainability ; carbon footprints ; 658 General management ; HD28 Management. Industrial Management ; Business