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Research project

Small and Medium-sized Enterprises (SMEs) Sustainable Growth: A Collaboration among Southampton Business School (SBS) Students, Staff, and SMEs Owners to Produce Sustainability Reports

Project overview

In 2021, the principal investigator (PI) and colleagues were funded by the Southampton Business School (SBS) small research grant to investigate the extent to which small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have adopted sustainability practices and reporting. A key finding was that only a few SMEs had adopted sustainability reporting (SR). As a result, the Department of Accounting trained its undergraduate (UG), and postgraduate (PG) programmes students (BSc Accounting & Finance - 4 students) and (MSc Accounting and Finance students -11 students) in SR. The students were then divided into groups to work with six SMES (4 UK-based and 2 China-based). To date, 2 UK-based and 1 China-based sustainability report have been completed.

This project extends the pilot described above to the rest of the SBS undergraduate and postgraduate programmes. The project has (1) research and (2) education and enterprise elements. The research phase consists of face-to-face interviews with SME owners to determine effective ways to engage them in SR. The education phase involves recruiting students from all taught undergraduate and postgradute programs and also postgraduate research (PhD) program. The students will be trained in SR by academic staff. Following the training, students will be divided into groups to work with SMEs in UK and abroad worldwide to help them produce their sustainability reports under the supervision of academic staff.

The success of the project means that the UG and PG sustainability reporting modules currently restricted to BSc Accounting & Finance and MSc Accounting & Finance programmes can be offered to all SBS students as optional modules from next academic year. PhD students will also be able to enrol and do a sustainability reporting module during their studies.


Lead researcher

Professor Ven Tauringana PhD, M.Acc, MIEMA, CEnv, FHEA, CGA, AIBZ

Professor of Accounting & Sustainability
Other researchers

Dr Renata Konadu

Lecturer in Accounting

Research interests

  • Sustainability Disclosure/Reporting
  • Corporate Governance
  • Financial  Accounting

Dr Raymond Xiaoti Hu FHEA, PhD, MSc, LLB

Lecturer in Strategy, Innovation and Ent

Research interests

  • Social entrepreneurship
  • Entrepreneurial process and opportunities
  • Entrepreneurial social capital

Dr Pingli Li

Head of Department-Accounting

Research interests

  • Performance measurement and management in public hospitals
  • Sustainability reporting
  • The evolving roles of accountants

Mr Richard Cartwright

Principal Enterprise Fellow

Mrs Lakshi Doorgakunt

Senior Teaching Fellow

Research interests

  • Auditing
  • Financial Accounting 
  • Sustainability Reporting 

Collaborating research institutes, centres and groups