Date of Award

Winter 12-20-2022

Document Type

Honors Thesis



First Advisor

Joe Kantenbacher

Second Advisor

Doug Peterson

Third Advisor

Emily Quinn


sustainability, business, challenges, corporate social responsibility (CSR), South Dakota, economic

Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations | Business Law, Public Responsibility, and Ethics | Economics | Environmental Studies | Nonprofit Administration and Management | Other Business


Sustainability is a broad concept that encompasses environmental, social, and economic factors to meet current and future needs. Many individuals and large businesses are becoming conscious of the effects they have on the planet and the people around them. However, despite the financial benefits and positive publicity of environmentalism, many businesses are not adopting sustainable practices. This study interviewed local business owners to answer the question “What are the main reasons that small businesses in the Sioux Falls area of South Dakota do or do not adopt sustainable practices that benefit the environment and the community?” Five business owners were interviewed over Zoom. Their responses were analyzed using thematic inductive coding to categorize themes and patterns. Results identified eight themes that both encouraged and challenged businesses with economic reasons acting as the strongest force. This information adds greater depth to the research on the topic of sustainability in businesses which will allow sustainability-minded advocates to better engage this sector. Based on these findings, cities should offer more education and resources to entrepreneurs and improve infrastructure so that the community can easily engage in sustainability.



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