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Sustainable business practices in Spain: a two‐case study

Jesús Cambra‐Fierro (Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain)
Rocío Ruiz‐Benítez (Pablo de Olavide University, Seville, Spain)

European Business Review

ISSN: 0955-534X

Article publication date: 28 June 2011




This paper aims to study sustainable business practices of two Spanish small and medium enterprise (SMEs) belonging to different sectors: a winery and a paint company. Special attention is paid to the drivers of such business practices and the lessons that can be learnt from them.


This research employs a comparative case study approach. The authors describe and compare two business cases from different industry sectors. This paper concludes with several findings that could be of interest for some other companies, as well as interesting areas of future research.


A comparison of sustainable business practices and their drivers. Similarities and differences between companies lead to different approaches to sustainability. Sustainability may be understood as a strategic tool in order to achieve competitive advantages and help companies successfully operate internationally.

Research limitations/implications

The main limitation of this research is the specific sectors in which it has been carried out that can limit the application of the findings. Further research in additional industry sectors needs to be done to support the implications found in this paper.

Practical implications

Companies need to consider sustainability practices as a long‐term investment instead of as an immediate cost. Culture is a decisive factor in the implementation of sustainable practices.

Social implications

Customers can force companies to implement sustainable practices. However, it has been observed that sometimes there is a need for strict regulations in the sector to encourage companies to implement such practices since customers may not be influenced by the company's sustainable practices.


This research studies and compares actual sustainable business practices in two SMEs based in Spain, but of international activity and belonging to different industry sectors. The main drivers and characteristics of sustainable practices are compared and general implications are drawn from the study.



Cambra‐Fierro, J. and Ruiz‐Benítez, R. (2011), "Sustainable business practices in Spain: a two‐case study", European Business Review, Vol. 23 No. 4, pp. 401-412.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2011, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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