Sustainability strategies are becoming increasingly important for businesses of all sizes but for small to medium sized enterprises (SMEs), the challenge of developing and implementing one can often feel overwhelming.  

According to research by the SME Climate Hub, the top reasons SMEs struggle to implement effective action include a lack of skills and knowledge, limited access to funding and time constraints. In addition, SMEs face other challenges such as limited supply chain visibility, lack of employee engagement and the potential of low customer demand. 

Despite the challenges, there is a tremendous pressure for SMEs to act on sustainability. Collectively, SMEs account for over 90% of business worldwide and affect the livelihoods of more than 2 billion people. It is, therefore, crucial that SMEs consider sustainability sooner rather than later. Taking action not only benefits the environment but also leads to a wide range of additional benefits. 

Cost Savings

One of the most significant benefits of implementing sustainable practices is the long-term cost savings. Reducing energy consumption and waste can lead to lower utility bills and waste disposal fees, while optimizing the supply chain through better inventory management practices for example, can improve efficiency and reduce costs. 

Compliance with Legislation

It’s also important to consider the evolving regulatory environment. Compliance with relevant legislation like the Environmental Protection Act 1990 and the Environment Act 2021 is fundamental to mitigating business risk, as companies that do not comply may face financial penalties and damage to their reputation. A sustainability strategy ensures that your business follows these relevant regulations and standards, and most specifically helps you to reduce your greenhouse gas emissions to ‘Net Zero’ before 2050, as required under the Climate Change Act. 

Improved Brand Image

Developing a sustainability strategy can also improve your brand image and reputation. Customers are increasingly aware of the impact of their purchasing decisions on the planet and society, and there is growing evidence that many are favouring brands with a commitment to environmental sustainability. A positive reputation attracts new customers and investors, leading to long-term growth and profitability. Developing new sustainable solutions and products can also lead to improved operational efficiency and even greater marketability. 

Increased Talentpool

Engaging employees on sustainability can also increase motivation and productivity, which is crucial as many within the current talent pool will look for companies that consider sustainability and net zero emission targets. 

Supply Chain Resilience

In addition, developing a sustainability strategy can also help to improve the business’s resilience and product/service availability, which is particularly important when taking into consideration the impending threat of resource scarcity from climate change. 

Increased Tender Success

Businesses that have a sustainability strategies in place, increase their chances of winning new or repeat business, as they demonstrate a commitment to reducing their environmental impact and improving their social practices. This is especially important in cases where businesses are required to declare their carbon footprint and procurement policy relating to carbon reduction, in order to obtain tender success. 

How can WRM help?

SMEs should not shy away from developing and implementing sustainability strategies. While there may be challenges and obstacles to overcome, the benefits of sustainability far outweigh the costs. The time for SMEs to take action on sustainability is now. 

At WRM Ltd we understand the difficulties SMEs may face when it comes to developing and implementing a sustainability strategy. That’s why we offer a wide range of sustainability services that can be tailored to specific business needs and delivered within a flexible timescale. 

Click here to read about what a sustainability strategy is and how we can help you to develop and implement one!

Contact Us For a Free No-Obligation Consultation

If you’re interested in learning more about how we can help you to make it possible, contact us today for a free no-obligation consultation.