Client: European Centre for Environment and Human Health

Placewise Ltd in collaboration with Cath Godrey Evaluations conducted a systematic evaluation of a workplace web resource to promote sustainable business for SMEs in Cornwall.

To promote sustainable business the European Centre for the Environment and Human Health (ECEHH) commissioned an evaluation of the effectiveness of an online web-based resource. Placewise undertook this research in collaboration with Cath Godrey Evaluations. ECEHH promotes a healthier and more engaged workforce and works to ensure environmental and business sustainability. They believe that sustainable business can help improve performance, resilience and growth. Importantly, sustainable business practices can also reduce negative environmental impacts. ECEHH commissioned us to conduct a systematic evaluation of a workplace web resource. This resource was centred on small to medium enterprises (SMEs) in Cornwall.

The web-based resource was targeted at SMEs in a rural area of the UK. Of the 22,000 SMEs in Cornwall, the majority, around 19,000, are not members of the main business agencies. This means that in terms of supporting them to improve healthy responsible business practice these SMEs are “hard to reach”.

Overall the project had four aims:

  1. Identify incentives and barriers to engage SMEs with a website for responsible business support
  2. Identify information requirements to promote engagement
  3. Monitor change (outcome or effect) from using the website
  4. Explore the scalability of the website

Working closely with website designers we developed an online survey and measurement tools. Using our social science expertise we assessed the effectiveness of information provided to SMEs about sustainable business practices. SMEs in Cornwall cited many different reasons why they did not engage in sustainable business. Based on our findings we made recommendations about the content and format of business information provided to SMEs in Cornwall.

European Centre for Environment and Human Health