Development of social, environmental, and economic indicators for a small/medium enterprise

Abigail R. Clarke-Sather, Margot J. Hutchins, Qiong Zhang, John K. Gershenson, John W. Sutherland

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

26 Scopus citations

Abstract

Purpose: A growing number of companies are measuring the sustainability performance of their businesses. Some companies are using pre-existing sustainability indicator systems to assess their performance. Other companies are looking beyond measurement of impacts to create their own system of indicators to measure sustainability. Formulating relevant indicators of sustainability performance is a difficult task for any organization, but especially for small/medium enterprises (SMEs) that often lack financial, knowledge, and labor resources. The purpose of this paper is to consider two different sustainability assessment approaches undertaken by a single case study company, a start-up SME. Design/methodology/approach: The authors developed a method for an SME, Ecologic Designs, Inc., a self-identified green business that reclaims materials to make bags and accessories, to create its own sustainability indicators without outside expert help. This research chronicles the struggles and triumphs of the SME in measuring its sustainability performance using a pre-existing system and then using the developed method. Findings: The SME's managers applied the developed method to create, select, and weight sustainability indicators to help answer a strategic planning decision - where to locate operations and facilities in an expanding supply chain. Originality/value; The paper describes the struggles and triumphs ofastart-up SMEinmeasuring its sustainability performance using a pre-existing system and then using the developed method.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)247-266
Number of pages20
JournalInternational Journal of Accounting and Information Management
Volume19
Issue number3
DOIs
StatePublished - Nov 21 2011

Keywords

  • Facility location
  • Green business
  • Indicator development
  • Small to medium-sized enterprises
  • Start up companies
  • Strategic decision making
  • Sustainability
  • Sustainability assessment

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