SMEs divided over sustainability strategies

A man videoconferencing at home.

(04.01.2023) Amidst soaring energy prices, many SMEs are taking steps towards sustainability. According to a survey by the insurance company AXA, almost half of the SMEs have a strategy in this regard, a figure that rises to 84% among SMEs with more than 50 employees.

More than half (54%) of the SMEs surveyed consider saving resources to be of paramount importance, while more than two out of five companies (43%) say that sustainability is one of their " core values ". Just under a third (28%) see it as an effective way to reduce costs – reaching 48% among companies with 50 to 250 employees.

Only a minority (15%) indicate that they use sustainability to foster their reputation. This proportion doubles among SMEs with more than 50 employees (30%). About 15% of them state that they see no reason to implement any sustainability strategy. In companies with 10 to 49 employees, this proportion is as high as 21%.

Among the obstacles to implementing a sustainability strategy, red tape is cited by nearly one-fifth of the companies surveyed and by one-third of companies with more than 10 employees. One in six SMEs also points to a lack of personnel or financial resources. For 15% of them, sustainability strategies would be ineffective or fall under the category of greenwashing.

The most frequently implemented concrete measures for sustainability are waste recycling (67%). In addition, almost half of the SMEs with 50 to 250 employees use energy-efficient materials, reduce business travel, and encourage teleworking and travel by public transport.

The authors of the survey also reveal that only one in eight SMEs know their carbon impact. Even among those with a sustainability strategy, only a minority (32%) have measured their CO2 emissions resulting from their operations.


Last modification 04.01.2023

Top of page

News and useful information for founders and entrepreneurs.