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How Small Businesses Can Benefit From a Meaningful ESG Strategy

Regulatory requirements and a growing public concern have placed sustainability high on corporate and government agendas. Investors, customers, employees, and society at large are driving ESG to become a top priority.

While many large corporations have already begun making net-zero emissions commitments and are taking active steps to implement environmental, social and governance (ESG) strategies, small organisations are still trying to comprehend the impacts on their operations.

ESG is a differentiator for businesses, an opportunity to evolve into an even better version of themselves. Businesses that can anticipate and adapt are without a doubt tomorrow’s winners in terms of attracting customers and talent, building resilience and driving growth.

Why become an ESG developed company?

Firstly, no matter the size of the company, the ESG principles are pretty much the same. Small businesses have limited resources but also, a range of advantages: being community and locally focused, prompt decision-making processes, less bureaucracy and better flexibility. Drawing on these benefits will enhance market position.

Another great advantage is that smaller businesses can take some simple low cost steps that can make a significant financial difference, while simultaneously decreasing carbon footprint.

For example, operational changes such as waste management, water management, onsite renewables, digital technologies to reduce paper use, wellbeing days, community engagement and rewarding behavioural change.

Additionally, demonstrating that a small company strives for positivity is a door opener to attracting influential, sustainability-oriented investors. Committing to ESG will lower the risk profile and become a significant advantage when potential investors review the company or when the company must negotiate financing.

What small businesses should do to start with ESG?

Let’s start with the basics. One common mistake that a small business can make is to focus on sustainability trends while missing important processes and certifications. However, understanding what similar companies are doing can be helpful and prevent your business from being left behind by the competition.

An action plan is an essential part of any ESG strategy and the focus should be on the most important topics in relation to the specific business and its operations. ESG is about business – that means the actions need to have a positive impact and benefit the business at the same time.

Transparency is still the foundation of sustainability and ESG. By publicly committing to ESG, the business is more likely to follow through. Being open about committing to ESG may encourage other stakeholders to make similar commitments.

ESG is not only an administrative task, it’s also about mindset. ESG thinking must be incorporated in all the activities and decisions of the company. Sustainability culture and ESG mindset can only come from the owners or top managers, filtering down to all levels in the organisation. Once ESG is embedded within the business operations, continuous performance improvement will follow.


ESG is dynamic. All that is required is ambition and a clear vision of what your company wants to achieve. This will help improve business performance, enhance your reputation and demonstrate environmental responsibility to stakeholders.

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