Sustainability is becoming a crucial part of
small and medium-sized enterprises business performance (SMEs),
according to a report by three leading accounting bodies.

Research conducted by the Chartered Institute
of Management Accountants (CIMA), the American Institute of
Certified Public Accountants (AICPA) and the Canadian Institute of
Chartered Accountants (CICA) also found that SMEs can lead the
market in championing sustainable practice emphasis.

According to the report, SMEs Set Their
Sights on Sustainability: Case Studies from the UK, US and
, while compliance with regulatory requirements remains
the most common driver of business, sustainability, profitability
and other strategic factors are increasingly significant.

 “We are seeing a shift in culture. SMEs
are looking past survival and recognising that successful
sustainability performance translates to long-term success,” CIMA
sustainability head Sandra Rapacioli said.

CIMA, AICPA and CICA added that a sustainable
business is more robust and more efficient “it appeals to
customers’ changing values, strengthens relationships with
suppliers and positions the brand as a good corporate citizen. It
can reduce the variable costs of running a business while driving

The report also found that it is finance
professionals who most often have a key role in defining and
guiding sustainability strategies because their skills allow them
to look at the bigger picture.

The report focused on nine case studies –
three each from the UK, US and Canada – showing smaller companies
who are taking different approaches to the same core issues, all
using sustainable practices to their advantage.