SME’s and Environmental Social Governance

After attending a very good workshop this week delivered by the UTS SME team and on invitation from Guido Toepfer, here are Dan Liszka’s key take aways for small to medium size businesses were as follows:


1. The SME sector is essential to the Australian economy.

2. ESG stands for Environmental, Social & Governance & simply means, from a wholistic sustainable development perspective, that there is an inseparable link between the viability of a business and the place and people that it operates in from a social and environment angle. Healthy environment, health staff, healthy suppliers all allow a business to flourish and every business regardless of size has a contribution to make to the environment and social context it operates in.

3. Basic examples of ESG indicators are as follows:

ENVIRONMENTAL: Emissions, material usage, energy efficiency, water & effluent management, biodiversity, and waste

SOCIAL: Labour relations, occupational health & safety, training & development, child or forced labour, procurement practices, diversity & equal opportunity, customer health, safety and privacy.

GOVERNANCE: Anticorruption, tax strategy, security practices, executive performance relative to E&S, economic performance, market presence.

4. Many SME’s are already very ESG aware, compliant & part of the change that Governments & the general community are seeking.

5. Adapting to have a greater ESG focus improves your business and I’m very sure no one wants to own a business that is incapable of adapting.

6. Very small changes made by lots of SME can have a huge impact right now.


There are lots of things every SME can do to lift its ESG credentials. 
Reporting requirements & frameworks that are being legislated will make all of us make these changes in the near future. If you sell to larger businesses they will make you do it if you wish to continue selling to them. This will happen relatively soon. If you get ahead of the curve now and incorporate ESG into your strategic thinking and planning sooner rather than later it can be a strategic advantage rather than a compliance burden.

Most of the actions you will take that improve your ESG score also improve your profitability.

Below are some tools that may be useful. Guido’s platform Brownee will be my first action.
– A strategic management and communication tool to describe, design, challenge, and invent your sustainable and circular transition plan 
– Brownee – Sustainability in the baking., register your interest & follow them on linkedin to receive updates on the tool when it is released
– Bob Willard – a leading expert on sustainability justifications, reporting frameworks, and sustainable procurement. Home | Sustainability Advantage: Resources & Tools for Business