SMEs also make their mark (sustainable)

Caring for the present is looking to the future. To achieve this, the United Nations approved the 2030 Agenda and 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), a business and social challenge we face daily whether it is the climate emergency, inequality or poverty. Although countries like Spain have made great strides, there is still a long way to go in terms of sustainability.

There is a tendency to focus on what big companies do over the impact of their activity on the planet. While it is true that MNCs, due to their size, largely focus the attention of governments and the general public on issues related to sustainability, we cannot perhaps forget the main actor: SMEs.

Small and medium-sized enterprises are at the heart of the European economy. They represent 99% of the trade fabric and generate more than 70% of jobs in the EU, more than 50% of trade GDP, therefore are important in the transition towards a sustainable economy, However, according to statistics from the Ministry of Economy, about 78% of Spanish SMEs do not know the 2030 Agenda or only superficially. For this reason, it is essential to work so that sustainability is known and understood, and in particular is viewed not as a risk but as an opportunity for business development.

Therefore sustainability should be included as a pivot in business strategies. Choose an SDG you want to impact, leverage this strategy to differentiate yourself from your competitors, Eliminating any negative effects and increasing its attractiveness to the consumer These are the priorities that the bodies should fix in their development.

Although some Spanish SMEs have already launched sustainability initiatives, their approach is still informal, sometimes unstructured, and therefore has room for improvement. around 40% of Spanish SMEs He confirmed in 2022 Not a strategy based on sustainability, nor do they plan to implement itAccording to the white paper Promoting sustainability in small and medium-sized enterprises promoted by Generali in collaboration with the SDA Bocconi University of Milan

The study shows that the number of SMEs in the EU adopting a sustainability strategy is set to increase by 14% in 2020 and 26% in 2022. Among the countries experiencing the largest increase is Italy (from 6% to 31%). Spain (from 10% to 30%) and Germany (from 14% to 39%). so a is growing interest and sensitivity towards these issues.

It is interesting to highlight three areas in which SMEs can work to align with the 2030 Agenda strategy. On the one hand, the environment, with projects that minimize the impact on their production model, also taking into account aspects such as reducing CO2. and greenhouse gas emissions, promoting raw material recovery, recycling or the circular economy.

On the other hand, taking initiatives that promote and encourage inclusion and diversity, along with labor welfare, cohesion, and the professional development of employees and their families, in order to create a work environment that respects equal opportunities.

and, finally, the implementation of social activities, the development of which has a positive impact on the community in which the SMEs operate, with a special focus on the most disadvantaged groups, since achieving a social impact will help create a more stable and sustainable future. contribution is received. ,

Adapting business models to ESG norms helps achieve long-term success and recover quickly in times of crisis. Managing to increase the number of SMEs that follow this roadmap is an opportunity for society and a source of inspiration to attract interest and capital to the economic sector, creating wealth and employment.

To support SMEs in the categories of labor welfare, social impact and environmental sustainability, Genali launched the SME Enterprise Awards three years ago to recognize the most committed SMEs that serve as an inspiration to others. The awards conclude with €30,000 per category and companies that have developed impact projects in these areas can register now.

In short, Spanish SMEs adopting sustainable practices have an opportunity for economic growth as consumers increasingly identify with companies that respond with concern for social and environmental issues.

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