News | 5 Reasons for SMEs to Embrace Sustainability at Heart

5 Reasons for SMEs to Embrace Sustainability at Heart

Small and medium-sized companies (SMEs) are realising how crucial it is to go green in their day-to-day operations. It’s not just about doing the right thing; it’s a smart move that can really pay off. Here are five reasons why it makes sense to engrain sustainability into the core of your business.
Image: Resortecs

1. Competitive Advantage

As both businesses and consumers care more and more about their environmental footprint, making environmental sustainability a core part of your business can give it a real competitive advantage. SMEs that lead the way in sustainability can stand out from the crowd and get a leg up on their competitors, especially for new customers choosing between a business that has sustainability as a core value and one that doesn’t.

Also, you may not (yet) have to comply with CSRD and other corporate sustainability regulations, but focusing on sustainability and therefore knowing your impact makes you more attractive to work with to larger companies that do.

SMEs that lead the way in sustainability can stand out from the crowd and get a leg-up on their competitors

2. Cost Reduction and Efficiency

Going green isn’t just good for the planet; it makes financial sense too*. When businesses adopt sustainable practices, they often find ways to work smarter and waste less, which adds up to savings over time. Using energy-efficient tech, for example, lowers utility bills. More importantly, cutting down on virgin material use by refusing, reusing, and recycling materials can strongly reduce procurement spends. By adopting a smart and tailored approach to sustainability and integrating circularity, SMEs can cut costs and run things more efficiently.

*Bartolacci et al, 2019

3. Minimising Risks

Starting your sustainability journey isn’t just about being eco-friendly; it’s also a smart move to deal with risks and regulations. As laws around environmental performance keep changing, businesses that are green at heart are better equipped to handle these shifts. Whether it’s dealing with scarce resources, following environmental rules (also those that the companies you may supply to have to comply with!), or staying on top of social issues, being proactive about sustainability makes businesses more resilient to changes. Following these guidelines doesn’t just minimise risks; it makes the whole business perform better. 

4. New Opportunities for Growth and Support

Today, markets and investors increasingly prioritise businesses that take sustainability seriously. Being green at heart can open doors. There are markets and partners out there who are all about environmentally and socially responsible ideas, and they’re looking for businesses that share those values. Investors are no longer looking to just make money; they’re demanding a positive impact and looking into how businesses are making a difference. 

Investors are no longer looking to just make money; they’re looking for a positive impact.

5. Winning Hearts and Keeping Them

When a business is committed to sustainability, it creates trust and respect with customers – especially with established customers. Research proves that sustainability is more than just a buzzword; it really affects how people decide what to buy. Brands that are seen as environmentally friendly and in tune with what customers care about build stronger, lasting relationships with their customers that goes beyond a one-time purchase. This loyalty is a key ingredient for ongoing business success.

Make your Business Green at Heart

So, weaving sustainability into the heart of operations isn’t just a responsible move; it’s a smart strategy for long-term resilience and success.

Still, many SMEs struggle to make the shift because of various challenges, such as not knowing where to start; the high costs of diagnostics and action plans; the lack of specific environmental in-house expertise; or the difficulty to adapt environmental legislation to your company. 

To tackle these types of bottlenecks, our upcoming EU-funded programme Green at Heart can help. Green at Heart is a game-changer that makes sustainability accessible for SMEs. Through state-of-the-art diagnostic tools, funding, and personalised guidance, the programme empowers all types of SMEs to adopt green solutions to enhance their business models and market standing.

Is your SME looking to put sustainability at the core of its business? Click the button below to do a 3-minute pre-eligibility check for our upcoming EU-funded Green at Heart programme or to get notified when applications open.

Funded by the EU

Funded by the European Union.
Views and opinions expressed are however those of the author(s) only and do not necessarily reflect
those of the European Union or European Innovation Council and SMEs Executive Agency (EISMEA).
Neither the European Union nor EISMEA can be held responsible for them.