Экологически ответственное поведение: представления малого и среднего бизнеса
The study of barriers and drivers of Russian SMEs’ environmentally responsible behavior is essential, since this business cluster is characterized by its low information openness and transparency. The goal of the study was to research attitudes of owners and managers of Russian SMEs of different sizes towards diverse factors of internal and external business environment acting as barriers and drivers of SMEs’ environmentally responsible behavior. In this context, the following research tasks were set: to identify the significance of factors in SMEs’ external and internal
environment (drivers and barriers) shaping their commitment to environmentally responsible practices after analyzing a broad range of publications in the corresponding scientific domain; to compare analytical results from reviewing academic publications to findings from the empirical study of Russian SMEs’ views and opinions.
The research methods were questionnaire and interviews among representatives of 151 and 20 Russian SMEs respectively. The study revealed that the majority of respondents marked factors of external business environment, first of all, actions of federal and local authorities, as most significant barriers and drivers of environmentally responsible behavior of Russian SMEs of all sizes. They also mentioned «the culture of responsible production and consumption” in this regard. Market conditions (competition, opportunities of concluding contracts within the network
of responsible suppliers etc.) can be ranked second by their significance according to respondents’ answers. Factors of internal business environment (financial, human resources, time resources etc.) are significantly less often perceived by SMEs’ representatives as drivers and barriers for their organizations’ “green” business practices. In contrast to other developing market economies, where SMEs include large corporations, business associations and technological, demographic and religion factors, along with governmental activities, into the list of important drivers for environmentally responsible behavior, the priority of authorities’ actions is absolute in the ranks of Russian SMEs in this regard. Employees of micro--businesses were different in their estimations of restraints to environmentally responsible behavior, as well as of benefits that their firms may get from environmentally responsible initiatives, than their colleagues from medium-sized companies. The latter group increasingly relies on international organizations’ and UN recommendations, as well as competitors’ adherence to “green” practices. Research outcomes allow to
conclude that if large corporations within Russia consider expansion of cooperation opportunities for responsible suppliers from the SMEs segment, while professional associations and communities boost efforts for increasing their awareness and knowledge of environmentally responsible practices, the degree of Russian SMEs interest
to “green” projects and practices may become considerably higher.