Climate change

SMEs’ Climate Readiness and Sustainability Commitment in Spotlight

December 2023 Business

By Maja Dragovic

As COP28 unfolds in Dubai, echoing three decades since the Rio Summit gave birth to the United Nation Framework Convention on Climate Change, the imperative for governments and businesses to join forces against climate change is becoming more prominent. Governments worldwide are increasing pressure on businesses to strenghten their green policies.

Part of this pressure push is Corporate Sustainability Reporting. The reporting practice is integral to the European Sustainability Reporting Standards (ESRS) which is a key component of the EU’s sustainability agenda aimed at boosting transparency and comparability in corporate sustainability reporting.

The upcoming event in Ljubljana, hosted by the Slovenian British Chamber of Commerce and the Institue for Strategic Solutions (ISR), will shed some light on this issue. In particular, the readiness os SMEs in climate reporting. Jure Stojan from ISR is one the keyone speakers who will share his insights on comparative analysis of SMEs’ carbon intensity vis-a-vis larger corporations, utilizing data gleaned from the Spanish Carbon Footprint Register.

A significant focal point of the event will also be looking at the commitment of leading SMEs in reducing their carbon footprints. Initiatives such as the SME Climate Hub and the Science Based Targets, where UK NGOs play pivotal roles, exemplify the potential for SMEs to contribute substantially to climate action. Business leaders will share their experiences in sustainability reporting, providing valuable perspectives, shedding light on the practicalities and challenges faced in aligning with global sustainability standards.

»Climate change and natural disasters spare no one, including SMEs, as evidenced by the August floods in Slovenia,« Stojan notes. »SMEs comprised a significant portion of the beneficiaries of the first issuance of state aid for rebuilding, with 87% of them receiving 52% of the funds.«

Resilience in the face of natural disasters

The impact of natural disasters is set to hasten the adoption of sustainability measures amongst SMEs.

»Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are poised to increasingly embrace sustainability practices,« Stojan says. »This shift will largely be driven by mandates from their financiers and major business partners, who are already operating under stricter environmental disclosure regulations. Additionally, public tenders may soon require adherence to sustainability standards. In this transformative era, SMEs that adapt early will gain a significant competitive edge«.

The event will take place on 13 December 2023 at the Intercontinental Hotel from 9am – 11am The full programme can be accessed here