Sustainability is as important for Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) as it is for large companies (see 10 reasons why here). There is a growing awareness about the importance of sustainability in small business SMEs.
However, sustainability reporting is still dominated by larger companies. Business in the Community Ireland believes that Sustainability Reporting in smaller businesses can help to increase competitive advantage by sharing their responsible and sustainable practices with customers, suppliers, employees, and the wider community.
Small is better
Many SMEs are already engaged in various activities within their communities. These can include charitable donations to community projects, sponsorship for local football teams, working with non-profit organisations, and pro-bono work.
Many are already reducing their environmental impact by greening their products and supply chain, changing behaviour to reduce resource consumption and waste, supporting conservation initiatives and NGOs, planting trees, etc.
Some are developing sustainable supply chains, for example by putting sustainability criteria into purchasing policies.
Many are investing in their workforce by developing a good company culture and supportive internal policies and practices.
Small is beautiful
The actions a company takes in an effort towards sustainable and responsible business are unique to that company and directly dependent on its operations, size, location and internal capacity. By reflecting on what it is doing and the tools at hand, a Sustainability Report can help Irish businesses to identify opportunities for improvement that are within reach.
…so why are we keeping it quiet?
Very few SMEs seek competitive advantage for their responsible business practices by reporting on and communicating their efforts. By inspiring and supporting them to do this, BITC wants Irish businesses get the message out.
Whether or not they use the term CSR, customers, employees and government bodies have an expectation for responsible and sustainable business practice, and competitors may already be doing it. Sustainability Reporting meets this expectation by clearly setting out a company’s achievements and ambitions. Sustainability Reporting has an important role to play in helping small and medium-size enterprises to share their sustainability story and do better business.
Business in the Community is an SME too, check out our most recent Sustainability Report here.
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We are currently working to build a service that is effective, useful and practical for SMEs and delivers business value.
If you are an SME, and are interested in our forthcoming service offering, and would like to keep in touch with our progress, or think that you would like to be profiled as a responsible and sustainable SME, email Sinéad on firstname.lastname@example.org