Improving key elements in SME sustainability practices

Environmental Leader reports on a new guide from the Chartered Institute of Management Accountants that sets out 10 best practices to help SME’s use sustainability to benefit the environment, their bottom line, customers and society.

Each tip is backed up with case studies and links for further information. Built Environment case studies include the likes of Billington Structures.

The tips are very apt and useful for construction SME’s moving beyond environmental issues and a sustainability approach that still rests within the health and safety arrangements.

  1. Take a broad view of sustainability.  SME’s should look beyond environmental issues.
  2. Define in detail what sustainability means to your company. This will help your company focus on the right goals.
  3. Engage all stakeholders. Include customers, suppliers, investors and employees in the discussion.
  4. Remember that you are not alone. National, international and industry-wide initiatives exist that help businesses become more sustainable.
  5. Establish responsibility and communicate widely. Make sure senior management drives the policy, appoints sustainability champions and communicates the importance of sustainability to every level of the company.
  6. Take it step by step. This is an evolution.
  7. Walk the talk. Back up your company’s intent with meaningful actions. Never make the mistake of seeing sustainability as a marketing exercise.
  8. Tie sustainability to profit. Make the link between consuming less water and electricity or producing less waste and improving profits clear within your business.
  9. Measure, monitor and review. Develop clear metrics to track your progress and review them regularly.
  10. Invest in the future. Many SMEs say the biggest investment is management time.
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