SME Standards:Sustainability

About this Standard

Being more sustainable is something every organisation can work towards. Its about operating profitably while taking responsibility for decisions that impact on the environment and society.

Improving your business sustainability could be the difference between success and struggle.  Businesses that work unsustainably and neglect their environmental and social responsibility are likely to lose out to competitors as their customers, employees, partners and funders choose to work with companies that care about our planet and the wellbeing of the people on it.

Through simple actions such as reducing waste or volunteering in the local community, you can show clear evidence of excellence in integrating sustainability into your day-to-day operations.

As an SME, your business has an advantage, because it can be flexible and nimble, executing simple changes that make good business sense.

Achieving SME Standards:Sustainability is clear evidence of excellence in integrating sustainability into your organisations' operations.


SMEs that choose our fully certified programme to demonstrate their approach to sustainability can reap these benefits:

  • addressing environmental and social responsibilities while continuing to grow
  • working to a framework for identifying and monitoring improvements
  • recognition and celebration of improvements in sustainability
  • enhanced credibility with a certificate -  visible proof that you are a sustainable organisation
  • increased customer confidence
  • identification of efficiencies and cost savings
  • stronger community links
  • positive brand perception
  • happy and loyal workforce

Sustainability Standard Themes

Environmental Action

Ensuring your organisation's day-to-day operations are environmentally responsible e.g. reducing  carbon emissions and minimising waste.

Community Involvement

Having a positive impact on society by supporting local and global communities to be better places.

Ethical Trading

Creating a positive working environment and treating customer and suppliers ethically and with integrity.


These core themes are relevant to every organisation, regardless of size.  Each theme covers a number of issues - you'll decide which ones are most relevant to your organisation and take action on the highest priorities. 

These are explained fully in the SME Standards:Sustainability requirements, which can be downloaded from your member page when you join for free.

Securing Your Sustainability - Our Requirements

COMMITTED - a basic step towards making improvements in sustainability

If you want to get recognition for improvement and good practice, then this level is for you.

It’s very simple:

  1. Create a ‘Commitment Plan’ using our template. Your plan will include a list of actions under headings such as Community Involvement and Ethical Trading
  2. Generate an ‘Annual Update’ – a simple form to update us on your progress.

CERTIFIED - your path to a fully certified management system

This level will take you a step further, helping you build and certify a fully-fledged management system.

Our templates and advice will guide you through these core steps:

  1. Create a policy statement
  2. Complete our Sustainability review questionnaire to assess your interactions with workforce, environment, community and marketplace
  3. Create an action plan for good practice
  4. Create a communications plan for staff engagement and understanding
  5. Monitor your progress
  6. Evaluate performance with an annual review



Join us now for free, to access the full Standard requirements and further guidance.