Greening Remote SMEs: The Case of Small Regional Airports

  • Olivier Boiral
  • Mehran Ebrahimi
  • Kerstin Kuyken
  • David Talbot
Original Paper
  • 126 Downloads

Abstract

The objective of this paper is to explore, through a qualitative study of small regional airports, how sustainability issues are taken into account in remote small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). Based on 42 semi-structured interviews conducted with managers of small regional Canadian airports and experts in this area, this study shows the quasi-absence of specific measures for sustainability, despite the seriousness of environmental issues, which tend to be subordinated to economic priorities and operational activities. The paper contributes to the literature on sustainability in SMEs by focusing on passive organizations located in remote areas and the complex reasons underlying their lack or absence of environmental commitment. The paper sheds more light on the essential role of stakeholders in providing the resources and skills necessary for the development of sustainability initiatives in passive SMEs. The study’s managerial contributions and implications for stakeholders are also discussed.

Keywords

Sustainability Air transport Remote SMEs Resource theory Stakeholder theory 

References

  1. Adler, N., Ülkü, T., & Yazhemsky, E. (2013). Small regional airport sustainability: Lessons from benchmarking. Journal of Air Transport Management, 33, 22–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Ählström, J., Macquet, M., & Richter, U. (2009). The lack of a critical perspective in environmental management research: Distortion in the scientific discourse. Business Strategy and the Environment, 18(5), 334–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Airports Council International. (2013). Wildlife hazard management handbook. Montreal: ACI World.Google Scholar
  4. Aragon-Correa, J. A., & Sharma, S. (2003). A contingent resource-based view of proactive corporate environmental strategy. Academy of Management Review, 28(1), 71–88.Google Scholar
  5. Aravind, D., & Christmann, P. (2011). Decoupling of standard implementation from certification: Does quality of ISO 14001 implementation affect facilities’ environmental performance? Business Ethics Quarterly, 21(01), 73–102.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Ayuso, S., Ángel Rodríguez, M., & Enric Ricart, J. (2006). Using stakeholder dialogue as a source for new ideas: A dynamic capability underlying sustainable innovation. Corporate Governance: The international journal of business in society, 6(4), 475–490.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Ayyagari, M., Beck, T., & Demirguc-Kunt, A. (2007). Small and medium enterprises across the globe. Small Business Economics, 29(4), 415–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Besser, T. L. (2012). The consequences of social responsibility for small business owners in small towns. Business Ethics: A European Review, 21(2), 129–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Blackburn, R., & Kovalainen, A. (2009). Researching small firms and entrepreneurship: Past, present and future. International Journal of Management Reviews, 11(2), 127–148.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Blanes, L. M., Costa, A., & Keane, M. M. (2013). Simulation to support ISO 50001 energy management systems and fault detection and diagnosis: Case study of Malpensa airport. In Proceedings of BS 2013: 13th conference of international building performance simulation association (pp. 26–28).Google Scholar
  11. Boiral, O. (2007). Corporate greening through ISO 14001: A rational myth? Organization Science, 18(1), 127–146.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  12. Boiral, O., Baron, C., & Gunnlaugson, O. (2014). Environmental leadership and consciousness development: A case study among Canadian SMEs. Journal of Business Ethics, 123(3), 363–383.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Boiral, O., & Ebrahimi, M. (2013). L’intégration du développement durable dans le transport aérien et la gestion des aéroports au Québec, (R 695), Université Laval, Québec, UQAM, Montréal, Canada.Google Scholar
  14. Bos-Brouwers, H. E. J. (2010). Corporate sustainability and innovation in SMEs: Evidence of themes and activities in practice. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19(7), 417–435.Google Scholar
  15. Brammer, S., Hoejmose, S., & Marchant, K. (2012). Environmental management in SMEs in the UK: Practices, pressures and perceived benefits. Business Strategy and the Environment, 21(7), 423–434.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Brunelle-Yeung, E., Masek, T., Rojo, J. J., Levy, J. I., Arunachalam, S., Miller, S. M., et al. (2014). Assessing the impact of aviation environmental policies on public health. Transport Policy, 34, 21–28.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Budd, L. C., Griggs, S., & Howarth, D. (2013). Sustainable aviation futures. London: Emerald Group Publishing.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  18. Budd, T., Ison, S., & Ryley, T. (2011). Airport surface access management: Issues and policies. Journal of Airport Management, 6(1), 80–97.Google Scholar
  19. Castelló, I., & Lozano, J. M. (2011). Searching for new forms of legitimacy through corporate responsibility rhetoric. Journal of Business Ethics, 100(1), 11–29.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  20. Chassé, S., & Boiral, O. (2016). Legitimizing corporate (un) sustainability a case study of passive SMEs. Organization and Environment. doi: 10.1177/1086026616672065.Google Scholar
  21. Cho, C. H., & Patten, D. M. (2007). The role of environmental disclosures as tools of legitimacy: A research note. Accounting, Organizations and Society, 32(7–8), 639–647.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  22. Ciliberti, F., Pontrandolfo, P., & Scozzi, B. (2008). Investigating corporate social responsibility in supply chains: A SME perspective. Journal of Cleaner Production, 16(15), 1579–1588.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  23. Collins, E., Roper, J., & Lawrence, S. (2010). Sustainability practices: Trends in New Zealand businesses. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19(8), 479–494.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Daley, B. (2012). Air transport and the environment. Farnham: Ashgate Publishing.Google Scholar
  25. Delmas, M. A., & Montes-Sancho, M. J. (2010). Voluntary agreements to improve environmental quality: Symbolic and substantive cooperation. Strategic Management Journal, 31(6), 575–601.Google Scholar
  26. Dessens, O., Köhler, M. O., Rogers, H. L., Jones, R. L., & Pyle, J. A. (2014). Aviation and climate change. Transport Policy, 34, 14–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  27. Dixon-Fowler, H. R., Slater, D. J., Johnson, J. L., Ellstrand, A. E., & Romi, A. M. (2013). Beyond “Does it pay to be green?” A meta-analysis of moderators of the CEP–CFP relationship. Journal of Business Ethics, 112(2), 353–366.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Donehue, P., & Bakern, D. (2012). Remote, rural, and regional airports in Australia. Transport Policy, 24, 232–239.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Duarte, F. (2010). Working with corporate social responsibility in Brazilian companies: The role of managers’ values in the maintenance of CSR cultures. Journal of Business Ethics, 96(3), 355–368.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  30. Fassin, Y., Van Rossem, A., & Buelens, M. (2011). Small-business owner-managers’ perceptions of business ethics and CSR-related concepts. Journal of Business Ethics, 98(3), 425–453.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Gephart, R. P. (2004). Qualitative research and the Academy of Management Journal. Academy of Management Journal, 47(4), 454–462.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Glaser, B., & Strauss, A. (1967). Grounded theory: The discovery of grounded theory. Sociology The Journal of The British Sociological Association, 12, 27–49.Google Scholar
  33. Global Reporting Initiative. (2011). Sustainability reporting guidelines & Airport operators sector supplement (Version 3.0/NGOSS Final Version).Google Scholar
  34. Griffin, J. J., & Mahon, J. F. (1997). The corporate social performance and corporate financial performance debate: Twenty-five years of incomparable research. Business Society, 36(1), 5–31.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  35. Hammann, E. M., Habisch, A., & Pechlaner, H. (2009). Values that create value: socially responsible business practices in SMEs—Empirical evidence from German companies. Business Ethics: A European Review, 18(1), 37–51.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  36. Hart, S. L., & Dowell, G. (2011). A natural-resource-based view of the firm: Fifteen years after. Journal of Management, 37(5), 1464–1479.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  37. Hörisch, J., Freeman, R. E., & Schaltegger, S. (2014). Applying stakeholder theory in sustainability management. Organization & Environment, 27(4), 328–346.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  38. Hsieh, H. F., & Shannon, S. E. (2005). Three approaches to qualitative content analysis. Qualitative Health Research, 15(9), 1277–1288.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  39. Ison, S., Merkert, R., & Mulley, C. (2014). Policy approaches to public transport at airports—Some diverging evidence from the UK and Australia. Transport Policy, 35, 265–274.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  40. Jamshidi, A., Kurumisawa, K., Nawa, T., & Hamzah, M. O. (2015). Analysis of structural performance and sustainability of airport concrete pavements incorporating blast furnace slag. Journal of Cleaner Production, 90, 195–210.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  41. Jiang, R. J., & Bansal, P. (2003). Seeing the need for ISO 14001. Journal of Management Studies, 40(4), 1047–1067.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  42. Kerr, I. R. (2006). Leadership strategies for sustainable SME operation. Business Strategy and the Environment, 15(1), 30–39.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  43. Korul, V. (2005). Guide to the implementation of ISO 14001 at airports. Journal of Air Transportation, 10(2), 49–68.Google Scholar
  44. Lee, T. (1999). Using qualitative methods in organizational research. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  45. Litz, R. A. (1996). A resource-based-view of the socially responsible firm: Stakeholder interdependence, ethical awareness, and issue responsiveness as strategic assets. Journal of Business Ethics, 15(12), 1355–1363.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  46. Martin, N., & Rice, J. (2010). Analysing emission intensive firms as regulatory stakeholders: A role for adaptable business strategy. Business Strategy and the Environment, 19(1), 64–75.Google Scholar
  47. Masurel, E. (2007). Why SMEs invest in environmental measures: Sustainability evidence from small and medium-sized printing firms. Business Strategy and the Environment, 16(3), 190–201.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  48. Moore, S. B., & Manring, S. L. (2009). Strategy development in small and medium sized enterprises for sustainability and increased value creation. Journal of Cleaner Production, 17(2), 276–282.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  49. OECD. (2005). OECD SME and entrepreneurship outlook. Paris: OECD.Google Scholar
  50. Orlitzky, M., Schmidt, F. L., & Rynes, S. L. (2003). Corporate social and financial performance: A meta-analysis. Organization Studies, 24(3), 403–441.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  51. Pimenova, P., & Van Der Vorst, R. (2004). The role of support programmes and policies in improving SMEs environmental performance in developed and transition economies. Journal of Cleaner Production, 12(6), 549–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  52. Pitt, M., & Smith, A. (2003). Waste management efficiency at UK airports. Journal of Air Transport Management, 9(2), 103–111.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  53. Postorino, M. N., & Mantecchini, L. (2014). A transport carbon footprint methodology to assess airport carbon emissions. Journal of Air Transport Management, 37, 76–86.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  54. Potoski, M., & Prakash, A. (2013). Do voluntary programs reduce pollution? Examining ISO 14001’s effectiveness across countries. Policy Studies Journal, 41(2), 273–294.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  55. Redondi, R., Malighetti, P., & Paleari, S. (2013). European connectivity: The role played by small airports. Journal of Transport Geography, 29, 86–94.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  56. Revell, A., & Blackburn, R. (2007). The business case for sustainability? An examination of small firms in the UK’s construction and restaurant sectors. Business Strategy and the Environment, 16(6), 404–420.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  57. Russo, M. V. (2009). Explaining the impact of ISO 14001 on emission performance: A dynamic capabilities perspective on process and learning. Business Strategy and the Environment, 18(5), 307–319.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  58. Russo, M. V., & Fouts, P. A. (1997). A resource-based perspective on corporate environmental performance and profitability. Academy of Management Journal, 40(3), 534–559.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  59. Sarkis, J., Gonzalez-Torre, P., & Adenso-Diaz, B. (2010). Stakeholder pressure and the adoption of environmental practices: The mediating effect of training. Journal of Operations Management, 28(2), 163–176.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  60. Schäfer, A. W., & Waitz, I. A. (2014). Air transportation and the environment. Transport Policy, 34, 1–4.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  61. Sharma, S., & Henriques, I. (2005). Stakeholder influences on sustainability practices in the Canadian forest products industry. Strategic Management Journal, 26(2), 159–180.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  62. Silvester, S., Beella, S. K., van Timmeren, A., Bauer, P., Quist, J., & van Dijk, S. (2013). Exploring design scenarios for large-scale implementation of electric vehicles; the Amsterdam Airport Schiphol case. Journal of Cleaner Production, 48, 211–219.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  63. Skouloudis, A., Evangelinos, K., & Moraitis, S. (2012). Accountability and stakeholder engagement in the airport industry: An assessment of airports’ CSR reports. Journal of Air Transport Management, 18(1), 16–20.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  64. Spence, L. J. (2007). CSR and small business in a European policy context: the five “C”s of CSR and small business research agenda 2007. Business and Society Review, 112(4), 533–552.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  65. Spence, L. J., & Rutherfoord, R. (2001). Social responsibility, profit maximisation and the small firm owner-manager. Journal of Small Business and Enterprise Development, 8(2), 126–139.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  66. Steurer, R., Langer, M. E., Konrad, A., & Martinuzzi, A. (2005). Corporations, stakeholders and sustainable development I: A theoretical exploration of business–society relations. Journal of Business Ethics, 61(3), 263–281.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  67. Strauss, A., & Corbin, J. (1998). Basics of qualitative research: Procedures and techniques for developing grounded theory. Thousand Oaks, CA: Sage.Google Scholar
  68. Tang, Z., & Tang, J. (2012). Stakeholder–firm power difference, stakeholders’ CSR orientation, and SMEs’ environmental performance in China. Journal of Business Venturing, 27(4), 436–455.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  69. Tilley, F. (1999). The gap between the environmental attitudes and the environmental behaviour of small firms. Business Strategy and the Environment, 8(4), 238–248.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  70. Transport Canada. (1994). National airports policy. Ottawa, Canada.Google Scholar
  71. Upham, P., Maughan, J., Raper, D., & Thomas, C. (2003). Towards sustainable aviation. London: Earthscan.Google Scholar
  72. Upham, P. J., & Mills, J. N. (2005). Environmental and operational sustainability of airports: Core indicators and stakeholder communication. Benchmarking: An International Journal, 12(2), 166–179.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  73. Van Beurden, P., & Gössling, T. (2008). The worth of values—A literature review on the relation between corporate social and financial performance. Journal of Business Ethics, 82(2), 407–424.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  74. Vidaver-Cohen, D., & Brønn, P. S. (2015). Reputation, responsibility, and stakeholder support in Scandinavian firms: A comparative analysis. Journal of Business Ethics, 127(1), 49–64.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  75. Wolfe, P. J., Yim, S. H., Lee, G., Ashok, A., Barrett, S. R., & Waitz, I. A. (2014). Near-airport distribution of the environmental costs of aviation. Transport Policy, 34, 102–108.CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  76. Yin, H., & Schmeidler, P. J. (2009). Why do standardized ISO 14001 environmental management systems lead to heterogeneous environmental outcomes? Business Strategy and the Environment, 18(7), 469–486.CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  • Olivier Boiral
    • 1
  • Mehran Ebrahimi
    • 2
  • Kerstin Kuyken
    • 2
  • David Talbot
    • 3
    • 4
  1. 1.Department of Management, Faculty of Business AdministrationPavillon Palasis-PrinceQuebecCanada
  2. 2.Université du Québec à Montréal (UQAM)MontrealCanada
  3. 3.École nationale d’administration publique (ENAP)QuebecCanada
  4. 4.KEDGE Business SchoolTalenceFrance

Personalised recommendations