Awareness of Sustainability and its Impact on Gaining Sustainable Competitive Advantage in the Sri Lankan Food Industry
Awareness of sustainability and compliance with the sustainability requirements in volatile business environments are important with the increasing concern of customers and legislations when considered about the current business arena. Being one of the most competitive yet the most pollutant contributing industries in Sri Lanka, gaining a sustainable competitive advantage with an accountable awareness of sustainability in the food industry remains questionable. This study aims to identify the impact of awareness of economic, environmental, and social sustainability on gaining sustainable competitive advantage for an organization. The study focuses on the top management of hotels, restaurants and fast - food chains in Western Province. The research sample includes 150 respondents which were extracted through stratified and convenience sampling techniques while mixed - method technique was adopted for data analysis. The first study follows the quantitative method in which data were collected by using a self-administered questionnaire, while qualitative data were collected via interviewing participants in the second study to validate the findings of the first study. The results revealed that awareness of environmental, economic and social sustainability create a significant impact in gaining sustainable competitive advantage. Particularly awareness of social sustainability highly impacts on gaining competitive advantage compared to the other two variables (R2 = 0.85). These findings were validated via qualitative analysis and findings revealed that having awareness about the three pillars of sustainability will have a significant impact on gaining sustainable competitive advantage. The researcher was able to contribute to the existing literature of relevant constructs and the study contributes as a strategic tool for policy makers in the sustainable strategy formulation process in order to gain sustainable competitive advantage by adopting the latest market trends within the industry. This exposed to number of future research areas on different influential factors relevant to gaining sustainable competitive advantage in addition to the elements discussed within the study.
Keywords: Environmental sustainability, Social sustainability, Economic sustainability, Sustainable competitive advantage