Small and Medium‐sized Enterprises and the Environment: Business Imperatives

International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education

ISSN: 1467-6370

Article publication date: 1 August 2000




Editor:, C., Foreword by Chris Fay, R.H., Chair and Committee on Business, A. (2000), "Small and Medium‐sized Enterprises and the Environment: Business Imperatives", International Journal of Sustainability in Higher Education, Vol. 1 No. 2, pp. 208-211.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2000, MCB UP Limited

This book tackles a largely neglected topic: small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) and their environmental impact. Over 90 per cent of all firms are SMEs. Their importance to the health of national and international economies is recognised. But what of their environmental impact? Individually, this may be small but, collectively, they pose a huge and largely unregulated threat to national and indeed the global environment.

There have been many failed attempts to engage SMEs in environmental stewardship. Why is this? And where are the success stories needed to set best‐practice examples? Environmental protection is widely touted as being a win‐win scenario for business with economic spin‐offs in terms of energy and waste reduction quickly producing payback for capital expenditures. Why is the “good environmental management equals good business management” message not getting through?

In Small and Medium‐Sized Enterprises and the Environment Dr Ruth Hillary brings together an outstanding international collection of experts from government, international and national support agencies, academics and the business community to present arguments about the key environmental business imperatives facing the small‐firm sector.

The book is divided into four sections:

  1. 1.

    (1) Attitudes and perceptions of small firms to the environment and sustainability.

  2. 2.

    (2) Environmental management in the smaller firm.

  3. 3.

    (3) Practical strategies for reaching SMEs.

  4. 4.

    (4) Case studies from around the world.

In these sections, the book examines the threats such as trade, supply chain issues and legislative compliance. It is also solution‐oriented, with considerable discussion of the management tools smaller firms can use to improve their environmental performance. It aims to provide practical strategies for smaller firms and to that end includes a range of informative case studies from around the world.

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