Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are key players in achieving sustainability. In the EU-27, 99% of companies are SMEs (with 250 or fewer employees) and they employ two thirds of European workers (EU, 2017). An individual SME may have small social, environmental and financial impact; collectively SMEs have a great impact. More than 70% of all pollution can be attributed to SMEs.
Graph showing the number of SMEs as a percentage of the total number of enterprises in EU countries
SMEs can benefit from sustainability by:
- Strengthening relationships with stakeholders.
- Demonstrating transparency.
- Enhancing business value and
- Securing their right from society to operate.
- Achieving continuous improvement and innovation.
- Attracting long term capital.
- Strengthening risk awareness and management.
- Improving regulatory compliance (e.g. greenhouse gas emission data).
- Reducing the burden of environmental fines and taxation.
However, SMEs lack the knowledge regarding sustainability problems (i.e. what is sustainability, which process to follow, what are the potential benefits, etc.). Existing frameworks, standards and protocols to assist companies in adopting and implementing the sustainability practices are complex, especially for SMEs, since they are designed as “one size fits all” with large enterprises in mind. SMEs’ staff do not have the experience or tools to address sustainable issues and need to be educated and trained about sustainability principles if they are to take a proactive approach toward sustainability.
Report ASAP Project (Adoption of Sustainable Accounting Practices for Reporting), aims to help small and medium size business report on their sustainability by providing the necessary training and tools to adopt sustainable accounting and reporting practices in a cost-effective way. This project will provide the necessary training and tools for SMEs staff in six (6) countries: UK, Spain, Italy, Croatia, Bulgaria, and Greece.
This project will develop a training course and an online tool, where SMEs can discover the most relevant sustainability reporting practices for them. Help us define the features and content of this tool by filling the online questionnaire available at https://report-asapproject.eu/.
If you would like to be invited to the training please remember to tick the relevant box at the end of the questionnaire. The outcome of this study will be available online as well. Feel free to send us any additional comment/question to the project leader Dr Souad Moufty at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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