According to a recent survey, small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) of the 27 EU Member States should focus on and develop more specific policies and strategies related to three core themes, such as “resource efficiency“, “green markets” and “environmental jobs” to meet the European Sustainability Targets up to 2020.
The survey, requested by the European Commission Directorate General Enterprise and Industry, and coordinated by the Directorate General for Communication, was carried out between the 24th of January and the 10th of February 2012, and covered businesses employing one or more persons in the manufacturing, retail, services and industry sectors within the European Union.
The results of the survey could be considered a test about the European SMEs’ attitudes towards the environment. But, why SMEs are so important for the economic, social and political future of the European Community? Let’s give few numbers: there are 20,8 million SMEs in the European Union, representing 99% of all businesses and providing around 90 million jobs in the internal market.
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Sustainability is not only a fundamental, long term environmental issue, but also a strategic imperative that affects legislative and regulatory compliance, operations management and organizational effectiveness, brand reputation and financial risks.
By efficiently addressing sustainability management and communications issues, small, mid to large sized companies and multinationals can easily recognize new opportunities to reduce cost, enhance profitability and avoid risk.
Organizations need to manage and measure the impact of their business practices and environmental emissions, and that of their suppliers and providers.
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Sustainability can make good business sense, because it can originate extensive and positive environmental and social impacts in medium long term, as well as have significant implications for both global and local economies, as well as for international and national financial markets.
The present idea of making business more sustainable should not be considered the latest corporate “fashion trend” in business development strategy and organizational change management, but as an issue that cannot be postponed and as a “moral imperative” for all those, who are willing to preserve business and social growth and their long-term survival.
Without a growing and secure world-wide economy, stable international currencies and markets and reliable investments, there is no successful business and “healthy” society, neither a “safe” place to live for any human being, and no preserved natural resource and environment for next generations.
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