SMEs Pro-Environmental Examples and Benefits


As an individual small or medium-sized enterprise (SME) you may have low environmental impact but when combined SMEs have a major impact on the environment. In the EU, it is estimated that 70% of all pollution can be attributed to SMEs.

Normally SMEs think that integrating sustainability into their business is a costly activity requiring time and expertise which they cannot afford. However, practice has proven that when SMEs take a proactive approach to tackling environmental challenges and start to report on them, it will bring some benefits to them.

The reported benefits are: helping SMEs save money, improving their image, engaging their workforce, increasing customers’ satisfaction, strengthening relationships with suppliers and protecting the environment.

This could be done by, for example, becoming more energy efficient, reducing energy bills, reducing water use, cutting down waste, reducing emissions, improving working environments and meeting customers’ environmental expectations, using simple, low-cost actions with quick return on investment.

Insulating roof and looft can reduce heat losses by up to 90%. Insulating cavity walls can reduce heat loss by 2/3Changing your boiler from a non-condensing boiler to a modern condensing boiler could reduce your bills by 10-30%





In offices, lighting can account for up to 50% of the money spent on electricitySensors alone could cut energy use from lighting by 30%








Up to one third of heating costs can be saved by reducing the amount of cold air that enters your building

















Below are some examples where companies have managed to save money by adopting some low cost pro-environmental changes:

British manufacturing would save £2-3 billion each year, equivalent to 7% of profits by adopting best practice waste minimisation techniques, often with little or no investment


By installing a £100 timer to its existing heating system, the Chinese Contemporary Arts Centre in Manchester is saving £4,363 and 17.6 tonnes of CO2 a year


An engineering firm in Manchester is now saving £596 and 3.5 tonnes of CO2e a year just from implementing a "switch off" campaign to ensure all office computers are turned off at the end of the day and weekends


Highlander Snacks Ltd. carried out a waste minimisation review of their plant and identified annual savings over £14,000 through reducing product waste and £2,000 per year income from the sale of waste materials


By adding occupancy sensors to its store area and toilets, an electronic components manufacturer is saving £813 and 5 tonnes of CO2e a year. The initial £225 paid for itself in 3 months

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