How can SMEs become environmentally responsible?

Protecting environment is a business in itself. SMEs have a major role to play in environmental protection because of their direct influence over their immediate environment. The condition of their natural environment depends on what SMEs are doing, the way they’re working, the kind of goods they’re producing, and their stance towards their natural world.

SMEs can become environmentally responsible by adopting several measures for environmental protection. These are listed below-

  1. Complying with Environmental Regulations– SMEs have a legal obligation to comply with central, state and local environmental laws. These laws aim at making SMEs a conscious consumer of earth’s limited resources. Enhanced regulatory compliance reduce the negative environmental impact of hazardous emissions in communities in which they are located. Therefore, SMEs should voluntarily adopt proactive environmental management systems to shrink costs and increase efficiency in business operations.
  2. Preventing Pollution and Adopting Clean Manufacturing Practices- SMEs can reduce their carbon footprint on environment by preventing pollution through adoption of clean manufacturing processes in their own operations as well as among suppliers, vendors and contractors. SMEs can invest in technology innovation, upgradation and retrofit to ensure cleaner manufacturing technology which produces more output with less energy consumption.
  3. Improving Processes and Producing Efficient Products– SMEs should do away with obsolete and energy consuming processes. They should use renewable energy sources in production, distribution and marketing processes of goods and services. This measure will ensure that the output is efficient, environment-friendly, recyclable, non-toxic and sustainable.
  4. Waste Management and Treatment– SMEs tend to release large quantities of untreated waste, discharges and emissions which are toxic in nature. To reduce effluents and hazardous by-products, businesses should install waste to energy conversion technologies. Alternatively, they can resort to a wide range of environment friendly technologies that mitigate greenhouse gas emissions and provide public health, environmental protection, and sustainable development co-benefits.
  5. Collaborating with external stakeholders- SMEs can develop a symbiosis with stakeholders, environmental interest groups, and local communities to address local environmental issues and to reduce negative externality caused by their activities.

In addition to the measures listed above, SMEs can also adopt green marketing practices and can train human resources in green technology.

SMEs must strive to integrate economic, societal and environmental aspects of their businesses. This can improve their long term profitability through reduction in expenses and increased competitiveness. It is also undeniably true that environmentally sustainable businesses command positive public image, investor’s confidence and are seen as market leaders and innovators.

Thus, it is in the best interests of SMEs to adopt sustainable development policy and resource efficiency in all their activities and functions as an essential aspect of management.

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