Sustainability and Competitiveness: Are There Mutual Advantages for Smes?
Posted: 24 Nov 2009
Date Written: 2003
The relationship between small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the natural environment demonstrates that sustainability agendas are relevant to competitiveness of SMEs.The win-win link between sustainability and competitiveness is based on the belief that businesses that pursue environmental performance improvements may benefit financially from these activities.It is noted that SMEs have been reluctant to exploit the win-win of corporate environmentalism, and this reluctance is attributed to such factors as a lack of environmental awareness and limited access to finance, expertise, and information. Although government and non-governmental agencies in the United Kingdom have launched initiatives designed to illustrate the commercial benefits that accompany attempts to improve environmental performance, these measures have failed to create in SMEs any sustained momentum for change; rather, SMEs have effected only minor, inexpensive changes during the initial period of support and encouragement. Any initiative intended to build organizational capacity for change must be based on the recognition that training and education will fuel the momentum for change both within individual firms and across the sector.At the same time, SMEs themselves are responsible for improving their resource efficiency, minimizing waste, and designing products and services that are less harmful to the environment. (SAA)
Keywords: Sustainability, Resource management, Sustainable development, Competitive advantages, Environmental management, Industrial development, Natural resources, Program evaluation, Public policies, Resistance to change
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