Making the Case for Environmental Sustainability Among Small Businesses

Client: United States Environmental Protection Agency
Faculty: Charles Brecher
Team: Rebecca Ackerman, Nerissa Clarke, David Glick, Joshua Mandell
Year: 2012
Corporate environmental sustainability has been identified by the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) as a key priority in recent years. Much of the research to date is on the growing success of sustainability measures that have been undertaken by large corporate leaders. The EPA asked the Capstone team to research the existing business case for sustainability and determine how the Agency might help small and mid-sized businesses build sustainable practices into their operations. With this goal in mind, the Capstone team interviewed a range of businesses about their motivations and influences, where they obtain information about sustainability, and how decisions are made. The team also collected information on the unique challenges small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs), as compared to larger businesses, face in making the case for sustainability. The team analyzed key findings from these interviews to suggest how the EPA can help disseminate information about sustainable business practices among SMEs.