Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.


Small businesses in the Central Business District of Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania were surveyed to determine their familiarity with and attitudes towards environmental sustainability, including obstacles and motivators for implementation as well as current business practices. While publications on similar topics existed for small businesses in other countries, there appeared to be little recent published research for small business communities in the United States. The research used a combination of online surveys and interviews with business owners and managers to gather data, as well as an extensive literature review for the basis of the analysis. Research results from the local survey supports the notion that “peer pressure” will be the most immediate motivator for businesses in the Wilkes-Barre Downtown area to implement sustainable practices. The two primary obstacles cited by businesses, cost and the feeling of being too small, could be overcome in several ways. First of all, a grant or other financial incentive for implementation might spur businesses that would otherwise be reluctant to do so. Second, tracking the progress of all businesses as a group towards an environmental goal could demonstrate the impact of the collective business action. Addressing the “peer pressure” factor, one thought would be to highlight some early business champions of sustainability in the downtown and through some sort of public relations campaign create enthusiasm for the concept with other businesses.