UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

Barriers and drivers to sustainability in small to medium sized businesses in the value added wood sector Clark, Allyson Lorraine


There is currently very limited research on how firms incorporate sustainability into their business strategies and practices in the secondary wood industry. There is equally limited research on how small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs) approach sustainability; most of the research on sustainability in business attempts to paint an overall picture of issues for large multinational enterprises (MNEs), failing to recognize issues related to SMEs. The research generalizes how large firms define and implement sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) strategies without taking into account that an SME may not respond in the same way. One of the research needs is to understand how SMEs more generally define sustainability and the barriers and drivers for sustainability. One important research outcome from investigating sustainability in the secondary wood industry is more understanding of how SMEs respond to sustainability and tools and strategies for sustainability in this important business sector. This research is a survey-based project looking at barriers and drivers to sustainability in small to medium sized businesses in the value-added wood sector in Canada. Results indicated that the barriers and drivers for SMEs are similar to those for MNEs and are consistent with much of the literature. The top drivers for this sector were: mission of the company, environmental concern, competitive advantage and vision of the founder and the top barriers were cost, and time. The least important barrier was no known business benefit suggesting that SMEs have begun to understand the value of implement responsible business practices. Results suggest that further research be conducted in this field to gain a better understanding on how to help SMEs implement more sustainable business practices. The findings in this study also suggest ways in which to better survey the SME sector in the future.

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