The road to sustainability: The hurdles for SME’s

The road to sustainability: The hurdles for SME’s

The “why” of sustainability is clear. The “how” and “what” of it, much less. How can your company move towards carbon neutrality, with extension to climate neutrality, as soon as possible?

These are questions that many companies often grapple with. No surprise, since the European ambition to reduce 55% of our carbon footprint by 2030, will quickly change from “subsidization” to “sanctioning”. Therefore, it is crucial to proactively look for a pathway to ensure the future of your company and our planet.

Sustainability is becoming more important to customers, investors, partners. As the effects of climate change become increasingly visceral, adapting to the situation is crucial. There’s no escaping it! The reality is, that as a company, you will be held accountable if you can’t be transparent about the climate-positive actions you are or aren’t taking. But sustainable entrepreneurship is easier said than done. With expectations rising, we notice that many companies are quickly discouraged by the various barriers that sustainable entrepreneurship entails.

Contrary to popular belief: sustainable business is good business

When it comes to sustainability, the more you invest in it, (the better the return on investment), the better the business. But it came to our attention that many companies are put off by financial requirements for implementing sustainable measures. Whilst the advantages outweigh the disadvantages immensely, this is oftentimes overlooked. Sustainable practices are easily associated with higher costs and thus a decrease in profit, instead of being seen as an investment, that will pay off.

The above is one of the many consequences of being ill-informed. Not to point fingers, but unfortunately, it’s the reality. We notice that many companies have little to no knowledge and/or skills to effectively implement sustainable measures. This is partly due to preconceptions and a lack of motivation to do more sustainable business, because of the time and effort it takes. It’s not that there’s a lack of willingness to become more sustainable, many companies have tons of good intentions. But since they don’t know where or how to start, these intentions are not turned into actions.

But putting all the blame on companies would be unfair. Today, consumers are thinking just as black and white. They either go 100% sustainable or not at all. The reality is that there is no one-fitted solution. The whole market has to come together in order to make a real lasting impact. Past scandals and greenwashing have led to mistrust among consumers. They often doubt whether the sustainability claims of a company are legit.

Knowledge is power!

To help bring these barriers and hurdles to light, we, at The Ecological Entrepreneur, are conducting research together with Unizo, VITO, VLAIO and KdG into this matter. We aim to gain insight into what the biggest stumbling blocks are. This will enable us to look for sustainable solutions for companies to become greener. Interested to take part? You can here!

Let’s make sustainability mainstream! Let’s make ecology self-evident!

Marie Caerts

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