In the early part of the twenty‐first century, the term sustainability has become a buzzword. Although featuring strongly in the popular media, trade, professional and academic journals, the very concept of sustainability is elusive for businesses. There is, however, a little empirical research on the perceptions of the UK industrial sectors on the concept of sustainability – which is the core raison d'être of this paper. The purpose of this paper is to capture the general perceptions of the UK industrial sectors on the concept of sustainability.
The aim of this paper is to capture the general perceptions of the UK industrial sectors on the concept of sustainability using a qualitative approach. Four industry sectors: energy and utility, transportation, construction and not‐for‐profit organisations (NPOs) were considered based on the environmental, social and economic impact on the UK society. Semi‐structured interviews were used to collect industry perception which was then analysed using content analysis for inference and conclusion.
The data analysis revealed that the perceptions of the UK industrial sectors on the concept of sustainability vary significantly across the four industry sectors. Four core categories were identified: environmental, economic, corporate social responsibility and triple bottom line dimension.
The paper concludes that the concept of sustainability is multifaceted and diverse. Although the importance of sustainability is broadly acknowledged across the four industry sectors, there is a significant lack of a common and operationalised understanding on the concept of sustainability. Therefore, it is recommended that there is an urgent need to develop and deploy an industry‐wide awareness‐raising programme on the concept of sustainability.
The paper provides a richer insight into the understanding and awareness of the meaning of sustainability at a conceptual level.
Renukappa, S., Egbu, C., Akintoye, A. and Goulding, J. (2012), "A critical reflection on sustainability within the UK industrial sectors", Construction Innovation, Vol. 12 No. 3, pp. 317-334. https://doi.org/10.1108/14714171211244578
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