The concept of sustainability, with the intention of ensuring humanity’s long term well-being, drives many industries in today’s competitive world. The importance of sustainability, as the core competency of many corporate strategies, requires organisations and strategic decision-makers to consider the 3Ps (people, profit and planet) rather than focus, to the exclusion of all else, on profitability for the success of their firms. Whilst food security remains a global sustainability challenge, post-harvest grain losses account for the majority of grain losses occurring in developing countries. This study intended to explore the interplay between the reduction of post-harvest grain losses and the sustainability strategies of agri-grain firms to, firstly, identify enablers and inhibitors to implementing corporate sustainability strategies of these firms and, secondly, establish a comparison between the reduction of post-harvest grain losses and other enablers influencing the triple bottom-line in the grain industry.
Qualitative, exploratory research methods were adopted to gain new insights into corporate sustainability strategies within agri-grain firms and to identify the focus areas, measurement approaches, enablers and inhibitors that drive sustainability within these firms. A total of 26 semi-structured, in-depth interviews were conducted with executive and senior managers of agri-grain firms in the grain handling, grain storage, grain processing and grain trading sectors as well as relevant non-profit organisations in the grain industry. Collected data were transcribed by the researcher and two qualitative analyses approaches, Summative Content Analysis and Thematic Analysis, were applied in two phases to ensure a thorough analysis and thus enhance the trustworthiness of the study.
This study contributes to literature by ascertaining whether agri-grain businesses share a common understanding of corporate sustainability strategies whilst, in addition, identifying the impact of enablers and inhibitors on the sustainability of the firms, and thus the grain industry as a whole. The study also highlights the importance of sustainability thinking when attempting to reduce post-harvest grain losses and support the Sustainable Development Goal of Zero Hunger, as a global challenge. In an effort to aid industry business leaders, managers and stakeholders in their strategic decision-making, as well as the sustainability management and development of their firms, a model is presented to support overall sustainability in the grain industry. The hope is that agri-grain firms’ pursuit of sustainability, will consequently contribute to worldwide food security.
Mini Dissertation (MBA)--University of Pretoria, 2018.