A conceptual framework for understanding how the green city philosophy translate into sustainable behaviour and performance: The case of retail businesses in Cape Town

Dr Virimai Victor Mugobo, Dr Herbert Ntuli

Vol 18 | Issue 1 pp. 128-142


The concept of a “green city” is increasingly gaining momentum across the globe being driven by western values and ideologies. The green city philosophy does not only require investments in green infrastructure, but also adoption of sustainable behaviour based on societal norms and values. Researchers and policymakers believe that declaring a city green might incentivise the retail industry to adopt sustainable behaviour which in turn result in higher performance at both firm and industry level. However, there are still challenges in terms of operationalizing the “green city” concept and achieving its benefits in most developing countries in Africa. In particular, the link between sustainable behaviour and performance is not well understood as the relationship is governed by latent and contextual factors in addition to complex interactions among system variables in the economy. The evidence that is available is mainly coming from the developed world while few a studies have been done in developing countries. Furthermore, there has been a challenge in adopting and implementing policies promoting the green city philosophy in developing countries which made it difficult to translate the rhetoric of policy into practice. We develop a conceptual framework based on the green city philosophy and use it to examine the conditions under which sustainable behaviour might lead to increased performance of retail outlets in the context of an African city such as Cape Town.


Keywords: green city philosophy, practice, sustainable behaviour, performance, retail outlets, Cape Town


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