ACCA says SMEs need environmental management

Policy makers, regulators and finance professionals must help small businesses adopt sustainable business practices – since their huge environmental impact is currently being overlooked, says ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants).

 

SMEs represent >90% of global businesses, with about 50% of GDP and 63% of employment, plus they have a significant impact on industrial pollution. However, SMEs are often not involved in the sustainable business debate and have been slow to adopt environmental-related improvements.

 

Only 29% of SMEs in the EU have introduced measures to save energy or raw materials (compared with 46% of large enterprises) and only 4% have a comprehensive energy-efficiency system.

 

In its policy paper Embedding Sustainability in SMEs, ACCA’s Global Forum for SMEs has called on a number of groups to take action to help smaller businesses to enable them to become more efficient and environmentally friendly.

 

SME-specific measures and approaches will need to be adopted, if these efforts are to gain any significant momentum – noting the differences between large companies and SMEs, but also between micro, small & medium-sized companies, says the report.

 

As many small businesses are run by owner-managers (with no shareholders or boards to answer to) they have more freedom to implement sustainability practices – or to ignore them. This is why it is important that SMEs are aware of the quick gains they can make through increased efficiency and of the grants, financial assistance and incentives that may be available.

 

The full report is available here.

 

Article from Sustain magazine, March 2013

ACCA: Association of Chartered Certified Accountants

 

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