Sustainability for small to medium businesses

Sustainability matters

It makes good business sense

Sustainability mitigates risk and presents a sizeable opportunity positively impact to your people, environment and community, while growing your business and benefitting your bottom line.


Most NZ businesses are small to medium businesses

Small to medium sized enterprises make up 97% of New Zealand’s businesses and are a critical mass for New Zealand’s sustainability journey. Together SMEs create a powerful cohort to potentially reach sustainability goals in Aotearoa.

According to IAG’s Adapting to Climate Change 2021 Survey results:

71% of respondents think businesses are responsible for taking action on climate change

81% want businesses to talk about the risks posed to their business by climate change

86% want businesses to be transparent about the changes they are making in response to climate change

85% want businesses to make sure the changes they make in response to climate change are fair for customers, staff and suppliers

82% of SME’s admitted they are concerned about climate change (MYOB)

40% of SMEs agree most are concerned about climate change, but lack systems or processes to minimise their carbon footprint

Actions Underway:

70% minimise the use of resources that are single use (e.g. reduced printing where possible, no single use cups/ cutlery allowed on premise)

62% operate a waste management and/ or composting service (incl. recycling, rubbish and organic waste bins)

49% only use the energy that they need in the office (e.g. the lights go off if no one is in the room)

33% have staff work from home at least one day per week reducing travel emissions

24% operate a local supply chain – they have zero or very limited overseas carbon footprint

Start your own sustainability journey

When starting on your business’ sustainability journey, here are some key things to think about:

  • Clarify your “why” and sense of purpose
  • Identify what is most material to your organisation, including what the greatest risks are and where you can make the most impact
  • Measure your current status
  • Build an understanding of sustainability with your staff including identifying champions
  • Create a sustainability policy and framework
  • Develop an inventory of your energy and carbon usage and set targets for continuous improvement