10 Reasons why SMEs should consider sustainability

There are many eco-innovation opportunities than an SME can benefit from.

1. Potential to increase profits

Eco-efficiencies are all about ‘doing more with less’. This includes reducing energy usage, waste, raw material  and transport. These all correlate directly to reducing costs
A bunch of banknotes

2. Fulfill the demand for greener products and services

There is a growing demand among consumers for greener and safer products. People are also concerned about where products are being sourced, and the working conditions in factories in the developing world, and look for fairtrade and other labels.

3. New business models

Complete new business models can be created that are service rather than product focused. E.g. Rolls Royce jet engines are not sold individually to airlines, but are leased on an ‘air-time’ basis. This ensures the customer benefits from fixed costs, and does not have to pay the huge outlay for the product. Rolls Royce on the other hand is not focused on selling more products, but have created a reliable product that will have a long life. This is better for the environment as resource use is minimised. This also ensures a steady income stream.

4. Funding opportunities & initiatives

There are many opportunities from the EU or local sources related to  eco-innovation (watch out for future blog posts).

Euro sign surrounded by stars

5. Networks

SMEs should join networks to share and gain knowledge with their peers on sustainability. Being part of a network can often have the added benefit of reduced fees from other members, and perhaps be eligible for awards for good practice.

6. Increased productivity

Sustainable practices can lead to increased staff morale, and this motivation increases productivity.

7. Better brand image

The image of being green and more sustainable  is very positive for a comany’s brand.

8. New customers

 Business-to-Business ( B2B) SMEs, can gain a ‘preferred supplier status’ by having proven environmental credentials. . In some cases larger companies that source products from SMEs (e.g. Tesco) are demanding evidence of sustainability.

9. Reduced risk of fines

If a business is more compliant with environmental legislation, there is a lower risk of receiving a fine.

10. It is the new ‘MegaTrend’

Sustainability is the New Mega Trend, where previous ones were IT and Quality. Being transparent about business practices can be an advantage, as it future-proofs you for when this will be a requirement.

And finally – these practices are good for the environment and society!

As SME make up 99% of all businesses, the cumulative effect of small changes in SMEs can make a real difference to the environment.

One thought on “10 Reasons why SMEs should consider sustainability

  1. Pingback: 7 reasons why its tough out there for small business « The Sustainable SME

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