The case studies that follow show that across different business models there are some universal truths on which companies converge. Some began with sustainability as the fundamental principle driving the company, while others have steadily shifted well-established businesses towards a more sustainable model, but all have found that emphasizing sustainability improves their profitability, generates greater loyalty and commitment from employees, and cements relationships with customers and suppli- ers. Their experience shows that any SME, in any industry, can take meaningful steps towards sustainable business practices and quickly see benefits accrue.
From its work with larger organizations the A4S has identified 10 elements that are integral to embedding sustainability within organizations. These case studies illuminate a similar set of elements that are crucial for SME companies to implement sustainable practices in smaller organizations.