How to Win at Sustainability Reporting and Influence People

Do small and medium enterprises have more clout than they think in making a positive impact on sustainability? Discover how SMEs can gain green credentials and influence change.
How to Win at Sustainability Reporting and Influence People
Photo by Mert Guller / Unsplash
In: Sustainability, Content Creation, Copywriting

Many SMEs (small and medium enterprises) face challenges in reporting their environmental activities, mainly due to reporting frameworks and energy policies not aligning with their needs. In a recent EU Commission survey, 62% of SMEs in the European Union encountered barriers to digitalization, and 70% faced obstacles in achieving sustainability, with similar figures likely in Switzerland and the UK.

Photo by Firmbee / Unsplash

Some SMEs state that a lack of skills is a barrier to engaging in sustainable practices, digitalization and innovation, but this doesn't mean that smaller firms aren’t making progress. However, they can still do more.

Here are five practical tips for SMEs to advance their environmental agenda and access support for green innovation:

1. Work with a firm dedicated to small businesses to measure emissions

For companies struggling to measure their emissions, The Carbon Trust supports SMEs in tracking greenhouse gas emissions, including Scope 1 (direct emissions from fuel and operations) and Scope 2 (emissions from purchased electricity).

2. Opt for simpler certification

Use the Green Small Business Certification scheme, tailor-made for SMEs to manage their environmental impacts with customised policies, green certification and support for becoming a 'net zero' business, providing a faster and more affordable alternative to ISO 14001 certification.

3. Win prizes and influence people

Numerous prizes and awards are available for small businesses across the EU, Switzerland and the UK. Check the European Green Award, recognising eco heroes and sustainable solutions, honouring green products, sustainable design, green marketing and "change makers".

4. Apply for grants

The European Innovation Council (EIC) Accelerator Programme supports SMEs, particularly start-ups and spinout companies, in developing and scaling up game-changing innovations. The EIC accepts applications from innovators in EU member states and Horizon Europe-associated countries. Swiss companies can seek support from the Swiss Accelerator led by Innosuisse.

5. Apply for Technical Assistance

SME United offers free technical advice on resource management, energy efficiency, transitioning to a circular economy and knowledge banks around energy use, along with post-pandemic support for the craft and SME sector in Europe. Additionally, the Covenant of Companies for Climate and Energy supports SMEs through its decarbonisation assistance program.

Are you a small business? How are you approaching your sustainability strategy? Have you applied for support, grants or resources domestically or via the EU? Share your experiences with us.

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