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SME Sustainability Challenges 2014

NBS’s Montréal office meets with the SME Council to discuss their sustainability priorities.

Sustainability Priorities in Small and Medium-Sized Enterprises

For the third consecutive year, NBS’s Montréal office met with the SME Council to discuss their sustainability priorities. NBS was pleased to welcome several new members to the 2014 Council, which includes SME managers and representatives of public and governmental organizations. Under the direction of Marie- France Turcotte, management professor at Université du Québec à Montréal and director of NBS’s Montréal office, the meeting with the Council once again provided the opportunity to strengthen ties between the academic and entrepreneurial communities.

During the meeting, the members took part in the following three-step exercise:

  1. Identifying the challenges within their own organizations.

  2. Aggregating and refining the challenges into meaningful categories.

  3. Ranking the challenges by importance.

The exercise enabled us to pinpoint eight priority challenges, which are the subject of this report. It accurately reflects the sustainability challenges that SMEs currently face, and helped the university community understand the most pressing needs in terms of research into sustainable development.

The report marks NBS’s commitment to develop knowledge specific to SMEs. Its goal is to provide SME managers with objective and reliable resources that will help them adopt sustainable practices. If you are interested in working with NBS to undertake or support research in one of the challenge areas defined by the SME Council, please contact us at info@nbs.net.

SME Priorities in 2014

The following eight questions, in order of importance, define the greatest sustainability challenges facing SMEs in 2014:

  1. How can the benefits of sustainability activities be quantified for businesses?

  2. How can SMEs more effectively manage requests from foreign markets regarding responsible procurement?

  3. Where can SMEs find the required expertise when starting a sustainability process?

  4. How should SMEs focus their communication strategies to target consumers who may be interested in responsible products and services?

  5. How can SMEs navigate amidst the proliferation of sustainability certifications?

  6. How can SMEs influence consumers during the responsible purchasing process?

  7. How can the sustainability activities of growing SMEs be prioritized?

  8. What is the price elasticity of demand for a certified responsible product or service?


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