Assessing SMEs' Awareness Level About Sustainability Issues: A Case of Pietermaritzburg (South Africa)-Based SMEs)

Conference proceedings article


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Publication Details

Contributor list: Kimanzi M

Publisher: True Scholar Research Limited

Place: London

Publication year: 2019

Start page: 273

End page: 278

Number of pages: 6

ISBN: 421-0341-9040-030


Sustainability has become a core part of business in the 21st century. Businesses of all sizes and sectors are facing increased expectations to ensure that the world’s social and environmental challenges are met, in keeping with the prescripts of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Awareness and knowledge of sustainability concepts is the first step towards encouraging businesses to practice sustainability. This study was conducted to determine the awareness levels of sustainability concepts among SME owners and managers, knowledge of sustainability standards applicable to their enterprises as well as their familiarity on sustainability related regulations that may impact their operations in South Africa. A quantitative research approach was adopted, where questionnaires were distributed to the SME owners and managers in Pietermaritzburg area of South Africa.182 SMEs participated in this study from a sample of 252 SMEs. It emerged that corporate social responsibility is a concept that is well known by the SMEs, while cleaner production and national energy strategy were the least known concepts. Concerning sustainability standards, ISO 14000 is well known while OHSAS, Global Reporting Initiative and Carbon Disclosure Project concepts were least known by SMEs. Lastly, results indicated that SME managers and owners know sustainability related legislations well.


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