SME Gap Report 2021: How SMEs can fare better in corporate sustainability

01 Oct 2021

This inaugural edition of the Sustainable Living Lab SME Gap Report 2021 shows how Singapore’s small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can gear up the economy towards a more sustainable future.

Due to the Covid-19 pandemic, sustainability took a backseat in the list of priorities among SMEs as SMEs turned into survival mode. This is reflected in our survey results which revealed that some SMEs do not have any current or future plans for sustainable practices. However, industry experts have warned that sustainability is a need-to-have to ensure economic resilience for all businesses.

This report analyses the challenges that SMEs are currently facing, which have hindered their potential to harness the full benefits of sustainability practices.

To bridge the gaps, we have curated an incremental model of “Build, Empower, Sustain” for SMEs to transition towards sustainability.

In the Build stage, we highlighted the discrepancy between companies’ perceived and actual position in the sustainability practices. We propose SMEs to develop a sustainable mindset and build their knowledge of sustainability through education.

In the Empower stage, we addressed the key issues that SMEs are facing in building sustainability efforts, primarily a lack of access to financial resources and a challenging business environment. We suggest how management can better drive sustainability efforts and set out preliminary steps for companies to promote financial efficiency through sustainability.

Last but not least, in the Sustain stage, we suggest how SMEs can go beyond legal compliance by obtaining sustainability certification and awards and taking part in trisectoral collaboratory projects.