Data analysis

The interviews conducted have been reviewed, transcribed, analysed and compared among themselves. Analysis and comparison required a significant amount of time and effort and culminated in the following table that compares various aspects of the different interviewees.
Category Company 1 Company 2 Company 3 Company 4 Company 5
Country Italy Romania Greece Greece Netherlands
Total Employees (EU) 1,500 15 280 180 Association of 5,000 member companies
Main Suppliers Italy, Turkey, France, Spain, Germany, Belgium, France, Poland, Bulgaria, and Croatia Global Suppliers Mercedes Benz, Setra Greek Suppliers No specific suppliers mentioned)
EU Directive Awareness Aware but not detailed Aware but not detailed Not aware Aware of CSRD and Due Diligence Directive Medium to high awareness
Supply Chain Position Part of Large Company’s supply chain Not part of Large Company’s supply chain Not part of Large Company’s supply chain Not part of Large Company’s supply chain Association of companies
Voluntary Changes for Sustainability Yes No No Yes LCs and SMEs generally have internal strategies
Sustainability Reporting Collection of data through a questionnaire No clear plans No plans for reporting Yes, willing to use a platform for reporting, networking, and educational tools Large companies report on their own emissions and ask for data on their supply chain
Sustainability Management Centralised sustainability department Sustainability managed by internal departments Decisions made by owners; no dedicated sustainability department Considering a partner for sustainability; cost is a relevant criterion LCs focus on environmental, social, and governance aspects
Interest in Sustainability Platform Positive, interested in using a platform for reporting and networking, willing to pay if it brings benefits Negative, not willing to use, prefers ESG reporting in their software Negative, not willing to use Positive, willing to use for reporting, networking, and educational tools, not sure if willing to pay Positive but cautious about data usage; emphasizes the need for reducing CO2 emissions

Table 2 – Key aspects of companies interviewed.

As part of the data analysis, the author considered it appropriate to analyse the sample of research according to the strategic sustainability behaviour categories (Figure 1), a framework developed in the article – Sustainability-oriented innovation of SMEs: a systematic review – written by Klewitz and Hansen[1], providing an evaluation of a company’s commitment to sustainability improvements. The diverse categories are further analysed by considering factors such as profit function, goals, and interaction with external factors (Table 3).  

Figure 1 – Integrated framework for SOI practices of SMEs.

  Source: J. Klewitz, E.G. Hansen / Journal of Cleaner Production 65 (2014) 57-75.
Strategic behaviour Profit function Goals Interaction with external actors
Resistant Ignorance of environmental and social factors, no ambition Compliance No interaction
Reactive Environmental or social issues are seen as an additional cost, response to external pressure like regulation Compliance and limited action beyond Limited interaction
Anticipatory Consideration of environmental and social factor can reduce costs, attempt to stay ahead of regulation Ahead of compliance and tangible cost reduction Low interaction
Innovation-based Consideration of environmental and social factors can lead to market success in the form of differentiation Differentiation Medium interaction
Sustainability-rooted Integration of economic, environmental, and social aspects define core business Market transformation High interaction

Table 3 – Extended taxonomy for strategic sustainability behaviours.

Source: J. Klewitz, E.G. Hansen / Journal of Cleaner Production 65 (2014) 57-75. The feedback from the interviews with the companies reveals a diverse landscape of approaches and attitudes toward sustainability and compliance. Company 1, with its centralised sustainability department and significant workforce, demonstrates an awareness of sustainability directives and actively engages in voluntary changes and reporting. In contrast, Company 2 seems less inclined to adopt external platforms, preferring embedded ESG reporting in its software. Company 3 lacks awareness of EU directives and is less open to voluntary changes or using online platforms for sustainability. Company 4 stands out with its awareness of EU directives and a positive outlook on using platforms for reporting and networking. Lastly, Company 5 underscores a medium to high awareness level among road transportation companies, emphasizing the importance of collaboration in achieving sustainability goals. The following scheme (Table 4) categorises the companies interviewed into the strategic sustainability behaviour framework. Overall, the feedback reflects a spectrum of responses, highlighting the diverse approaches in different countries.
Resistant Company 3
Reactive Company 1 Company 2 Company 4
Innovation-based Company 5

Table 4 – Categorization of the companies into the framework adopted.<

[1]Brand, F.S., Berger, V., Hetze, K., Schmidt, J.E., Weber, M.C., Winistörfer, H. and Daub, C.H. (2018), “Overcoming current practical challenges in sustainability and integrated reporting: insights from a Swiss field study”, Sustainability Management Forum, Vol. 26 Nos 1/4, pp. 35-46.


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