Beyond Corporate Environmental Management to a Consideration of Nature in Visionary Small Enterprise

Today, we highlight another article in the Special Issue of Business & Society focusing on A New Future for Business”

Kate Kearins, Eva Collins, and Helen Tregidga answer questions about their article, “Beyond Corporate Environmental Management to a Consideration of Nature in Visionary Small Enterprise”

Who is the target audience for this article?

The target audience is academic scholars in business and management, particularly those with a concern about the natural environment.

What Inspired You To Be Interested In This Topic?

We have been studying business and sustainability for several years now and we have been wondering about the potential of small business entrepreneurs with paradigm-shifting visions to embrace a business model that was more in harmony with nature. We talked to the visionary entrepreneurs of these three micro-enterprises to see whether they operated with a fundamentally different business model than the one implied by corporate environmentalism – that puts business first.

Were There Findings That Were Surprising To You?

Yes – the three micro-enterprises operated quite different nature ethics. One owner definitely put nature first, and at some cost to her business.  For the owners of another of the micro-enterprises, nature was considered at each step but customers were not deemed ready to buy into an entirely nature-centred view.For the owners of the third business, nature entered into decision-making but was not always prioritised over other business concerns.

How Do You See This Study Influencing Future Research And/Or Practice?

We’d like to think that future researchers would perhaps pay more attention to the earnest efforts of visionary micro-entrepreneurs to embrace a more nature-centred ethic – it is what key researchers were pointing to as far back as 1995. Yet corporate environmentalism and associated rhetoric has won much more acclaim, when critics acknowledge it as remaining corporate-centric.

How Does This Study Fit Into Your Body Of Work/Line Of Research?

We have or are about to publish comprehensive teaching cases (with instructor’s manuals) on each of the cases here. Two have already won placings in the international oikos Ashoka case-writing competition. We continue to theorise around what sustainability can mean in and beyond the business context.

How Did Your Paper Change During The Review Process?

The review process certainly clarified our ideas and pushed us toward writing a stronger paper.

What, If Anything, Would You Do Differently If You Could Go Back And Do This Study Again?

We wonder whether a more purposefully selected sample might have made writing the paper easier. However, such a contrivance would perhaps have rendered it less useful in teasing out subtle differences that emerge from a more inductive study.

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