Sustainability – SMEs Can’t Get There Alone

Oct 17, 2013 12:00 PM ET

Montreal, QC, October 17, 2013 /3BL Media/ – A new report reveals that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) can’t achieve sustainability alone.

"For SMEs, the process of finding sustainable solutions starts by identifying their challenges. For many of them it quickly becomes apparent that they must maintain excellent stakeholder relations – in the community, with competitors, up and down the value chain, and of course with clients," said Marie-France Turcotte, management professor at the Université du Québec à Montréal and Director of the Network for Business Sustainability's (NBS’s) Montreal office. "In other words, SMEs are quick to recognize that they can't achieve sustainability alone."

The report – Sustainability Challenges for SMEs for 2013 – released by NBS, reveals that in addition to collaboration, succession planning, embedding sustainability across organizational culture and five other issues are the top challenges facing SMEs.

NBS’s SME Council – a group of small and medium enterprise, non-profit and public sector leaders known for their sustainability initiatives (including the Montréal Alouettes, Enerkem and Insertech) – has determined the challenges described in the report. For the second consecutive year, the council met in March 2013 in a roundtable discussion led by Turcotte.

NBS convenes the council annually to outline business barriers to adopting environmental practices and publicly promoting sustainability. NBS encourages academic researchers worldwide to study selected issues, producing answers that help SMEs everywhere overcome similar barriers.

“I hope this report will allow industry associations, councils and non-governmental organizations working with SMEs to better understand their needs,” said Turcotte. “For decision makers at the head of governmental organizations, this report will highlight the challenges and the growing capacity of SMEs and show their challenges can open up the potential for collaboration.”

Any organizations interested in financing research or establishing academic/business partners to respond to one of the eight challenges are welcome to contact NBS at

For more information, please contact Pamela Carpio, Manager of the Network for Business Sustainability’s French Office, at 514 987 3000 x7898 or

Members of the Network for Business Sustainability’s SME Council

Montréal Alouettes


Savons Prolav Inc.

Le Centre Collision St-Jean


Geos Spa Sacacomie

IGA Cookshire


JAS Filtration

JS David Consultant Inc.


Quartz Nature

The Ministry of Finance and the Economy


Victor Innovatex



About the Network for Business Sustainability

A non-profit organization based at Western University and UQAM in Canada, the Network for Business Sustainability produces authoritative resources on important sustainability issues with the goal of changing management practice. We unite thousands of researchers and professionals worldwide who believe passionately in research based practice and practice-based research.

The Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada, the Richard Ivey School of Business at Western University, the Université du Québec à Montréal and our Leadership Council fund NBS.