The Perspective of Small Retailers on Sustainability: An Exploratory Study for Scale Development

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Developments in Marketing Science: Proceedings of the Academy of Marketing Science


The retail industry has grown globally with retail revenues above $11.5 trillion (2010) and expected growth to $20 trillion by 2020 (Court and Narasimhan 2010). Discerning companies recognize that to be truly green they must holistically address the 3E’s (i.e., ecology, environment, and economy). It is more than selling green products; the retailer must also make green decisions for the betterment of society. Best known for their greenness are the big-box US retailers. Nevertheless, the small US retailers account for 40 % of all retail sales and provide jobs for around eight million people; therefore, managements’ collective environmental sustainability decisions have a significant impact on the 3E’s. Almost 95 % of retailers have one store outlet in the US and thus small retailers make up most of the retailing industry (Independent Retailer 2011). The multiple retail footprints (1,067,984 in 2010) on US soil of which 1,041,996 (97.6 %) represents the footprints of small retailers ( 2011), thus their collective impact on the built environment warrants research as to their sustainability attitudes and behaviors.


Management, Marketing, and Logistics

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