People discussing ideas at a worskhop using post it notes

How to create a sustainability strategy for SMEs

Trying to maximise your social and environmental impact can be overwhelming with so many options out there. Is B Corp certification right for you? Or maybe ISO 14001? What about using Doughnut Economics as a framework?

Sometimes, the best thing to do is take a step back and figure out what works best for your business. What do your stakeholders—clients, investors, suppliers—want from you? What aligns with your business values, overarching mission, and your team?

It’s easy to get caught up in the latest certification trends and the “shoulds” of sustainability. But it’s important to take the time to consider what truly makes sense for your business and how best to grow sustainably, consciously and intentionally.

Sustainability for SMEs

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) face unique challenges and opportunities when building a sustainability strategy. Unlike large corporations, SMEs typically have more limited resources, both in terms of budget and manpower (or womanpower), which can make building and implementing comprehensive sustainability initiatives more difficult.

However, this also means SMEs can be more agile and innovative in their approach. They can quickly adapt and implement new ideas without the layers of red tape that larger companies face.

One key consideration for SMEs is balancing sustainability efforts with business growth. Unlike larger companies that might have dedicated sustainability departments, SMEs must integrate these efforts into their existing operations. This often requires creative solutions and a willingness to think outside the box.

But there’s a lot of noise in the sustainability space. Trying to figure out the dos and don’ts is a full-time job in itself. When you’re already stretched thin, how do you find the time to build and implement a robust sustainability strategy for your SME?

That’s what the Sustainability Roadmap is for

Tick-box pledges or one-size-fits-all strategies don’t cut it for ambitious SMEs that are serious about making a positive impact. You know your business best and need to play a part in shaping your sustainability strategy without feeling overwhelmed.

The Sustainability Roadmap is a collaborative approach. We’ll devise an actionable plan tailored to your organisation’s needs, goals, and values in as little as six months.

Create alignment

Sustainability doesn’t work as an optional extra; it must run through your business like a stick of rock. We’ll look closer at your business to align your strategy with your brand mission, budgets, business priorities, values and long-term goals.

Calculate and understand your carbon emissions

You’ve probably been encouraged to calculate your carbon footprint, but how do you do that? And how do you make sure it’s accurate? And what do you do with that data once you have it? I’ll guide you through the steps you need to take to demystify the process.

Use the numbers to develop your reduction plan

You can’t manage what you don’t measure. Together, we’ll develop a clear reduction plan backed by the numbers.

Understand stakeholder requirements

Put simply: who cares? Whether it’s employees, clients or potential investors, you need to understand the groups with a vested interest in your performance. Then, you can align your strategy with what’s expected of you.

Risks & Opportunities

Strengths, weaknesses, opportunities, aspirations, and results. Understanding the risks of not addressing your social and environmental impacts is the first step in turning those risks into opportunities. Together, we’ll future-proof your business and create a vision for where you want to go and the results you want to achieve.

Build your sustainability roadmap

 Now, it’s time to build a roadmap for the next 12 months and beyond. The goal is to take manageable, step-by-step actions that will get you to where you want to be without overwhelm by focusing on the issues that are material to your business.

By the end of The Sustainability Roadmap, you’ll be able to:

  • Respond confidently to project bids
  • Differentiate yourself from competitors
  • Get clarity about your social and environmental impacts
  • Discover practical ways to reduce your environmental impact
  • Receive accountability for achieving social and environmental goals
  • Communicate a confident and consistent sustainability message
  • Build employee engagement
  • Back up your plans and pledges with actions and changes
  • Attract clients who are aligned with your values and morals
  • Devise strategies that save your business money
  • Attract and retain market-leading talent

If you’re done with treating sustainability as an afterthought and ready to devise a workable strategy that balances purpose and profit, let’s get to work.

For more information on how The Sustainability Roadmap could work for your SME, head right here.