Date of Graduation

5-2021

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Science in Business Administration

Degree Level

Undergraduate

Department

Management

Advisor/Mentor

Rapert, Molly

Abstract

Over the years phrases like “going green” or “reduce, reuse, recycle” have been the war cries of environmentalist conservationists. Now, a new word has begun to heavily circulate among the environments communities and beyond: sustainability. However, the concept of sustainability has been around for centuries. According to the World Energy Foundation sustainability was “coined in German, the original term was Nachhaltigkeit, meaning ‘sustained yield.’ It first appeared in a handbook of forestry published in 1713, and was used to mean never harvesting more than the forest can regenerate.” (The World Energy Foundation, 2014). Since then, the word and concept has creped into science, legislation and policy, core company values, and now pop culture. Sustainability is a buzz word that has become woven into the daily conversation of people, business, and government.

The United States Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) defines the concept of sustainability as:

“everything that we need for our survival and well-being depends, either directly or indirectly, on our natural environment. To pursue sustainability is to create and maintain the conditions under which humans and nature can exist in productive harmony to support present and future generations.” (Environmental Protection Agency, 2021).

To ensure prosperity not just at an environmental level, but also at a social, economic, and humanitarian levels, we as the human race, must work towards creating a regenerative environment that utilizes resources well.

Another word and concept that is just as pervasive in American society is small business. The Small Business Association (SBA) released their 2020 Small Business Profile report which stated that small business make up 99.9% of the business in American and employ almost half of the United State workforce. (US Small Business Administrative Office of Advocacy, 2020). The SBA define a small business as any company with less than 500 employees. Given the sheer volume of businesses that fall into the small business category, it is clear to see the power small business movements can hold and how they support the American economy in essential ways.

In this paper, I will review two overarching themes divided into subtheme. First, we will take a look at sustainability. The subthemes are: what is sustainability, what is our interaction with the environment, what is the actual state of the environment, business and culture shifts towards sustainability, cost and benefits of sustainability, and key mindsets to have when moving towards sustainability. Then, we will move into discussing small businesses. The sub-themes of this topic include small business at large, customers' opinions of small business, the economic impact, small business application and technology, and the opportunities that small business faces.

After diving into those two themes through a literature review and an analysis of survey responses, I will apply the information to a small business case study. I have been working as a supply chain intern for a growing small business called UpSpring. I will suggest the best practices for UpSpring and reason out why that recommendation will provide both a sustainable and economic solution to a growing small business.

Keywords

Small Business, Sustainability

Available for download on Sunday, May 01, 2022

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