The UK-based Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) has published a report ‘Embedding sustainability in SMEs’, which highlights the need to integrate sustainable business practice within the SME sector. The report outlines a series of recommendations to governments, business support professionals and accountancy bodies for actively engaging SMEs in addressing their environmental impact. Read more…
The report says that, although often overlooked, the SME sector’s environmental impact is broadly in line with its economic contribution. SMEs account for more than 90% of global businesses and approximately 50% of the GDP all of all countries. However, SMEs are among the slowest to adopt sustainable business practices, as, unlike larger companies, they do not have pressure from shareholders. For example, in the EU only 29% of SMEs have introduced measures to save energy or raw materials. However, adopting sustainable policies presents important business and competitive advantages to SMEs, including access to grants and financial assistance for waste minimisation and energy efficiency measures, and access to new markets with increased business opportunities.
ACCA argues that governments and accountancy bodies must adopt specific measures and actions to help SMEs become more energy-efficient and environmentally friendly. It says that they should facilitate sustainability by setting conditions that will allow only environmentally responsible SMEs to access lucrative public sector supply chains, and by encouraging smaller measures such as sustainability reporting.
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