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Sustainability Footprints in SMEs: Strategy and Case Studies for Entrepreneurs and Small Business by Lowellyne James

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2Sustainability and Corporate Social Responsibility—Context and Definition

2.1 Introduction

The evolution of the use of sustainability footprint tools is firmly rooted in the adoption of corporate social responsibility (CSR) and wider sustainability theory by business. Although some commentators may perceive sustainability as autonomous management theory, this sentiment is not yet universal among business leaders and academics. Therefore, it is useful to explore sustainability footprint methodology within the context of contemporary management theory models and existing knowledge involving sustainability and CSR.

The risk of irreversible climate change arising from greenhouse gas emissions generated by economic activities of organizations is a growing concern to governments globally [1]. This has led to the enactment of various environmental regulations among major western economies [2] and the inclusion of emissions data [3] in CSR/sustainability reports [4]. CSR and sustainability are on the agenda in boardrooms across the world and increasingly are considered as a yardstick by investors in determining the effectiveness of a firm’s environmental and social governance (ESG) [5]. The use of carbon footprints and other methodologies to measure ecological and social impact is part of a long continuum of human attempts to understand or measure the effects of rapid industrialization within what is now being defined as the Anthropocene era on the well-being of our species and our impact ...

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