توسعه سیاست های توسعه پایدار محلی: یک مطالعه موردی از سران شرکت در فرانسه
|کد مقاله||سال انتشار||مقاله انگلیسی||ترجمه فارسی||تعداد کلمات|
|29442||2012||13 صفحه PDF||سفارش دهید||10038 کلمه|
Publisher : Elsevier - Science Direct (الزویر - ساینس دایرکت)
Journal : Ecological Economics, Volume 82, October 2012, Pages 75–87
The purpose of this study is to examine business leaders' perceptions on sustainable development and their expectations about local governments. Using a questionnaire on a cross-section of 32 French business leaders, we examine the following questions: can issues related to sustainable development extend beyond questions of profit and future economic dynamism? The modern global economic crisis, in combination with the ongoing ecological one, makes regional attractiveness more topical than ever. If local governments invest in sustainable development policy, it might satisfy not only citizens but also firms in the territory, while attracting new ones as well. To determine if firms are really interested in such a policy, as well as understand their expectations, this research undertook interviews with 32 business leaders. We found that local governments should act with firms as partners to increase resilience and sustainability. The expectations of business leaders and their sensitivity to sustainable development suggest that sustainable development policies' could improve the attractiveness of a local economy, especially in the context of the current environmental and economic crises.
The purpose of this study is to examine business leaders' perceptions on sustainable development and their expectations about local governments. Using a questionnaire on a cross-section of 32 French business leaders, we examine the following questions: can issues related to sustainable development extend beyond questions of profit and future economic dynamism? Can sustainable development policies provide an element of effective crisis resolution and shock resistance? That is, might a proactive policy for sustainable development offer a form of resilience for regions that currently face economic and ecological crises? Like companies, governments therefore have to face a tradeoff between today's performance and sustainable development. However, is an investment in sustainable development truly indispensable? In economic terms, can issues related to sustainable development extend beyond questions of profit and future economic dynamism? Are local businesses willing to take part in such a policy and work together with local governments? Local companies are likely to be crucial in the attempts to maintain and enhance sustainability and resilience of the local economy in which they operate. Assuming that a company's objective is to focus on stakeholders, they can play an important role in the governance of the local economy. Its success, implying success of the politics and involvement of the territories' actors, requires sustainable development politics to benefit the firms. Sustainable development politics that benefits firms will represent an important factor of attractiveness ensuring economic dynamic of the local economy. Attractiveness can be defined as the ability of local economy to provide conditions of settlement for mobile projects more appealing than those of competing areas (Hatem, 2004). On the other hand, sustainability means that current developments do not compromise future developments.1 A sustainable development policy for businesses might act on an economic pillar by supporting green investments,2 or take action on social pillars by creating shared daycare or cafeteria facilities, or by assisting employment goals (e.g., subsidies for hiring long-term unemployed and disabled workers).On the environmental dimension, the government might financially and logistically encourage companies to reduce their impact on the environment by offering collective wind turbines3 or introducing waste recycling. A policy of sustainable development seems to be an obvious answer to questions raised by economic and ecologic crises. But governments remain cautious and focused on their need for short-term success, imposed by both economic and electoral constraints. However, citizens also express more and more concern for sustainable development. Companies, under pressure from stakeholders, increasingly consider issues related to sustainable development; similarly, local governments should invest in a sustainable development policy to not only satisfy citizens but also benefit firms already present in the region, and attract new ones as well. In this sense, the notions of attractiveness and resilience come together. The New Economic Geography (Krugman, 1991) explains the attractiveness of a local economy with factors that are strongly linked to the notion of proximity.4 In a self-reinforcing process (see De Groot et al., 2008 or Fujita and Thisse, 2002), agglomeration strengthens the phenomenon of specialization, which in turn enhances agglomeration, and so on, until a Marshallian district emerges5 (Marshall, 1890). This notion of an industrial district, according to economic geography, refers to the ability for an economic adaptation as well (Ottati, 2004). From this entrepreneurial organization a social structure – based on collaborative practices and mutual learning – emerges (Bonnet, 2009), which in turn increases the resilience of the territory (Aschan-Leygonie, 2000). Attracting firms, keeping them, and creating jobs constitute the driving force of territories' dynamism. Thus attractiveness is a major issue for local governments,6 which should recognize the major determinants of attractiveness and try to improve them as much as possible. Territorial marketing politics have emerged from a global competition to attract firms (Hatem, 2007, Hetzel, 1998 and Noisette and et Vallerugo, 1996), and local governments race to be the “lowest bidder” on tax policies, social demands, or environmental restrictions. This ‘race to the bottom’ has heated up in recent years in the face of a dual crisis of economic and ecological issues. To confront these two shocks, local economies need resilience. In addition, the financial crises of 2008 provided further evidence for some of the central propositions of ecological economics on the flaws of the current economic models (see, in particular, Jackson Tim and UK Sustainable Development Commission, 2009), calling for a reexamination process that enabled a reconsideration of social, economic and environmental priorities, and of their weights (Clapp, 2004). A resilient7 local economy will be able to absorb disturbances induced by the economic crisis, retain companies, and return to its initial (or even an improved) state. In the best case scenario, it takes advantage of the crisis to emerge stronger. In a global context, all territories compete with other territories around the world to attract firms, so having a plan with a long-term view to respond to a crisis would be effective in regards of sustainable development. To develop such a sustainable development policy,8 governments therefore must involve local companies in the effort. However, are firms expecting such policies from local governments, and do they consider sustainable development an opportunity or a constraint? To identify the needs of firms, and whether they relate to sustainable development, we conducted a survey of 32 business leaders and use textual analysis to discern the implications. We found that local governments should act with firms as partners to increase resilience and sustainability. The expectations of business leaders and their sensitivity to sustainable development suggest that sustainable development policies' could improve the attractiveness of a local economy, especially in the context of the current environmental and economic crises. After providing the theoretical framework of this research (Section 2), we explain our methodology (Section 3). Then, we outline firms' expectations of local governance (Section 4) and their perceptions of sustainable development (Section 5), according to business leaders. Finally, Section 6 offers a conclusion.
نتیجه گیری انگلیسی
The results of our survey of French business leaders provide some answers to the following two questions: - How do business leaders perceive sustainable development and local governments' actions? - What are the implications of business leaders' perceptions on the implementation of practical policies that could favor sustainable development and resilience? Following business leaders' perceptions, local governments should act with firms as partners to increase resilience and sustainability. The expectations of business leaders and their sensitivity to sustainable development suggest that sustainable development policies' could improve the attractiveness of a region and its economic strength, especially in the context of the current environmental and economic crises. Thus, territorial resilience could be strengthened and in turn enhance sustainability. Firms even expect a proactive policy for sustainable development from local governments, though their expectations vary. Our results were consistent with our expectations and theoretical grounding. Corporate managers confirmed that firms' locations are not neutral but rather the result of explicit choices. According to them, they have high expectations with respect to the territory and local communities are important. Meanwhile, business leaders are sensitive to sustainable development and their perceptions underline the following three points: - Sustainable development enables employees to fulfill their potential. - Sustainable development encourages a positive image of the territory that will benefit the company. - Sustainable development will support business continuity and long-term performance. The local government, by investing money, energy, and effort in sustainable development, thus could initiate a self-reinforcing process of sustainable attractiveness (see Fig. 1). Assisting companies by ensuring synergy, helping them financially, and informing them seem to give local communities a way to construct the territory's sustainability and find resilience. Our contributions go further. Weichselgartner and Kaperson (2010) explain that decision makers, in policy and practice, insufficiently use the research-based knowledge available, and researchers typically fail to produce knowledge that is directly usable. With this work, we justify a specific policy, linked to sustainable development, for decision makers. We also identify different profiles of entrepreneurs that correspond to their typical speech. Thus, local governments should easily determine which companies they should address and how. The identification of different profiles can also help them to determine a policy to target their actions toward certain firms and to adapt their communication by considering which policies would be most appealing to any given class.26 As Perrings (2006, p. 423) explains, “understanding system dynamics is important for sustainability, because it enables decision-makers to choose between actions that involve adaptation to future changes, and actions that mitigate those changes.” Based on business leaders' propositions, a local policy for employees could include several actions: - Increase the number of available public day care facilities. - Provide sustainable development training for employees. - Increase the number of green spaces and green belts. - Increase funding for schools and colleges. Local authorities would find an audience for these initiatives, because the entrepreneurs consistently highlighted the importance of their employees, especially for their business performance and location choices. Indeed, the local government must communicate this new policy. Members of the “regions' image and attractiveness of the workforce” and “employee in the heart of corporate performance” groups should easily understand and appropriate this, but the communication for the “corporate image first” group needs to be different. This kind of policy, if properly explained as linked to sustainable development, will also be well received by groups that primarily embrace the concept of sustainable development. Finally, local government might choose to target a specific kind of businesses with its employee policy, while targeting another group of firms with its environmental protection policy. Communication by local governments must be the beginning of interactions between the local authorities and the business authority. Developing a targeted policy, a confrontation of views and mutual learning seem to determine good governance and a successful process. As a conclusion, by the opinions of business leaders, local governments and firms can boost the territory's sustainability in various different ways, which may enhance competitiveness in both short and long term. They are completely interested in a local sustainable development policy, but expectations are not homogeneous. To implement a sustainable development policy local governments have to consider different ways that fits those different expectations. Identifying entrepreneurs' perceptions is then useful for explaining sustainable development policy chosen for each individual firm, in order to ensure they well understand them, and they are willing to be involved in their implementation.