5 key sustainability for SMEs

The issue of sustainability has been located in the past five years among the priorities of many companies in Mexico and the world. You might think that is a simple fashion and will happen; however, heads of large companies include this activity as one of the most important trends in business and is here to stay.

For too long, entrepreneurs saw as an expense, now, it is increasingly clear that it is a great opportunity to reduce costs and make the business more competitive. Sustainability can have a major impact on business success.

BusinessIt might seem that is a topic for big companies however, this is not so. It is true that large corporations have been the first to incorporate the concept in the industry, but does not mean that small and medium enterprises can not include sustainability in their business models. In fact, in the value chains of these large companies, SMEs are being required to implement corporate responsibility programs and environmental management, to set goals, measure performance and publish the results.

Sustainability can also be a trigger for innovation in business. SMEs are often more creative, flexible and have a better position to change direction faster than large companies. Its size allows them to operate without radical sustainability or costly changes and this can help them become strategic allies of the companies that often require changes in their processes.

An example of what an SME can be achieved, a company that managed to integrate improvements in their manufacturing processes that helped to face new challenges, including in environmental regulation; something that all companies are subject regardless of size. The company produces biodegradable bags for household waste, which today are made from recycled material.

Thanks to the advice of Walmart and Central America and the Ministry of Environment gave him through the “Environmental Leadership” program, the Monterrey SME schemes could integrate sustainable practices, such as savings in energy and water consumption, as reflected the productivity of your business.

In a simple way you can identify opportunities for improvement in processes that reduce environmental impact, but also generate cost savings. Following these sustainable practices, SMEs can improve your business, start being more responsible with the environment and at the same time become more competitive with the efficient use of resources.

1. Measure the water and energy consumption and waste generation. The first step is to understand the level of consumption of the operations of the company. It is common to assume that the process consumes much energy is generated or decline. When bills of various periods and process specifications are revised, we can understand if there are deviations in consumption. Waste generation is an issue of utmost importance, since waste is raw material not transformed into product, which was spent at the time of purchase and that being transformed in the process, it will be spent to arrange it as waste.

2. Review your processes and identifies areas where the greatest consumption of resources are made. Make a tour of the facilities of the company and identifies a plan or map areas where resources are consumed. Determine the points where the greatest consumption takes waste is generated.

3. Identify possible measures to reduce consumption. In computer and data consumption and generation points, identify opportunities to generate savings. Make a list of the projects, noting the investment required for its implementation and the estimated savings. Give priority to projects with low investment, there may even be some who do not need it. For example, you can start with your employees instill a culture of energy savings through simple practices that can be adopted with minimal effort.

4. Implement and measure the results. Once you chose improvement projects, proceed to obtain authorization of the General Directorate of the company and implementations as soon as possible. Measured results to verify the estimates of savings. This will be the best way to sell environmental sustainability initiatives.

5. Use the savings to implement projects with the greatest impact. If the projects with low or no investment savings generated, use them to finance other projects that require major investment but have a greater environmental and economic impact.

It is no longer a question of whether SMEs should invest in sustainability, but how to ensure that sustainability is part of their business strategies to boost competitiveness. Sustainability is here to stay and offers great opportunities for SMEs if you opt for it.

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