Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) account for 99% of businesses in the UK and employ 13.8 million people, or more than half of those working in the private sector. Their contribution to the British economy amounts to some £1.5 trillion, which is half of the combined annual turnover of all UK businesses.
Despite the huge significance of SMEs for the domestic economy, very few of them have embraced sustainability policies that could be the difference between staying in business and being squeezed out of the market, says Steve Malkin, chief executive of environmental organisation Planet Positive, writing for the Guardian.
One of the reasons why so few UK SMEs have started working on sustainability reporting is the fact that they do not quite understand the essence of sustainability and how it can be made to work for business. That is why, to encourage SME chief executives to respond, sustainability should be made simple, Malkin claims. The only way to get people to invest in it is to show them the benefits of efficiency, cost reduction and potential for growth, he argues.
Meanwhile, Environment Agency chairman Lord Smith has expressed his approval of recent data showing that a growing number of UK businesses are adopting sustainability strategies, saying that companies´ efforts to become more sustainable are helping the economy. Figures also suggest a better understanding of the matter, as more companies are given the highest ‘A´ excellence rating for environmental performance, he says, commenting for Business Green website.