Press release: SMEs are essential to environmental and social change


New insights give small businesses practical sustainability tools.

SMEs and the accountancy practices which support them play a critical role in the transition to a sustainable future. SMEs are vital to employment, food production and distribution, construction, health and wellbeing and the delivery of vital services. Collectively, they have a major economic impact and are essential to environmental and social change.

However, for SMEs with small teams, finding practical ways to embed better practice can be a challenge.

Launching today, new guidance from ACCA and Chartered Accountants ANZ (CA ANZ) aims to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on embedding sustainable practice in their businesses.

Enabling a sustainable future is a primary focus of this year’s World Congress of Accountants, in Mumbai on 18-21 November, where ACCA and CA ANZ will be highlighting the vital role smaller business play in achieving this.

The new insight series covers five key areas: the role of SMEs; developing a sustainability strategy; climate and the environment; waste and the circular economy; and social sustainability.

ACCA’s Head of Skills, Sectors & Technology, Jamie Lyon, commented on the significant role accountants play in leading SMEs through this transition:

"As a huge source of employment and production around the world, the actions of SMEs are critical to a more sustainable future. Many thousands of our members work in small and medium-sized accountancy firms and support SMEs on their sustainability journeys. From analysing data and business models to reporting on non-financial metrics and setting strategic aims – accountants have a vital role to play."

The latest guide, ‘How SMEs can create a more sustainable world’ provides a range of resources and insights as well as setting out the business case for SMEs. This includes how embedding sustainability can strengthen the supply chain, drives down costs, create value, attract talent, and improve access to finance.

CA ANZ Business Reform Leader Karen McWilliams FCA says that increasingly, SMEs are renewing their social license to operate, by embedding sustainable practice.
"There’s a huge opportunity for businesses to embrace sustainable practice in their operations, and at a minimum, sustainability planning is part of maintaining a social licence with clients and customers. Accountants can both start and lead the conversation using this insights series."

‘The uptake of the original SME sustainability playbook showed there is huge appetite within small and medium business sector, for sustainability. These insights make the original content even more usable for accountants and businesses.’

The insights series can be found here.