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Examining a business community's readiness to take on sustainability

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Title: Examining a business community's readiness to take on sustainability
Author(s): Selem, Melissa
Director of Research: Buki, Lydia
Doctoral Committee Chair(s): Buki, Lydia
Doctoral Committee Member(s): Notaro, Steve; Stewart, William; Woods, Amy
Department / Program: Kinesiology & Community Health
Discipline: Community Health
Degree Granting Institution: University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Degree: Ph.D.
Genre: Dissertation
Subject(s): sustainable green business green business community environmental certification green business certificate community readiness model
Abstract: Businesses contribute greatly to climate change and can have a large impact on their local environment through their energy consumption and waste production. One way to help businesses make the transition toward green practices and engage in more environmentally responsible behaviors is through environmental certification (EC) programs. However, there is a scant literature on the implementation of ECs at the community level or the accessibility of ECs for small businesses. To address this gap in the literature I first conducted a Community Readiness Assessment to understand the local community's readiness to support sustainable business practices. Second, using Social Marketing principles I interviewed business representatives to uncover the specific factors (i.e., barriers and motivators) that influence a business to pursue an environmental certification in the Champaign-Urbana community. The results of the CRA indicate the Champaign-Urbana community is at a preplanning stage to address business sustainability and would benefit from efforts to increase awareness on the need for greener business practices. Findings from the business interviews indicate a variety of factors can influence a business’s interest in certification. Primary among these is a supportive community context, a sense of responsibility, as well as time and financial restrictions. Overall, the dissertation study makes four important contributions. First, the community context is an important influential factor in businesses’ decision to obtain an EC. Second, the study extends the literature on barriers and motivators toward certification. Third, it presents information about how businesses in a pilot EC program are unique, and fourth, the methodology implemented is a unique combination of theories that are transferable to other investigations and communities.
Issue Date: 2011-08-25
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/2142/26033
Rights Information: Copyright 2011 Melissa Selem
Date Available in IDEALS: 2011-08-25
Date Deposited: 2011-08
 

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