Faculty of Business and Law
School of Management / Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre
Traditionally, environmental education has been aimed at the community or in primary schools and governmental pressure to reduce environmental damage has focussed on large businesses. More recently, the role and importance of small business and how to engage them in the environmental debate has come under scrutiny. Researchers have identified education as one method of increasing the understanding of small business owner-managers’ role and knowledge of practices that, when implemented, will reduce the negative impacts of their businesses. However, there is little attention given in the literature to the perspective of the small business owner-manager and environmental education. This research was conducted to fill this gap. Results confirm that there is limited environmental education for small businesses and that there is a disconnect in meeting the needs of such a disparate group. Six elements were identified by the small business owner-managers in the design of environmental education for them: use of plain language, provision of best practice examples, industry specific information, solutions for immediate improvement, practical content and use of trusted sources to deliver the program. As Tilley (1999, p.347) so aptly stated, although “the relationship between small business and the environment is complex … neglect the small firm at your peril”.