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Being Sustainable: A How To Guide For SMEs

Adopting sustainable practices has become a critical aspect of the business landscape as awareness of climate change and its environmental impacts grows. Companies are recognising the importance of sustainability in business in mitigating these impacts and fostering long-term viability and growth. 

Government organisations have also set up efforts to promote sustainable practices. According to a Straits Times article, environmental sustainability requirements will soon be present in all government procurement opportunities available on the GeBiz platform. This pushes businesses to align with Singapore’s sustainability goals to gain an extra competitive edge.

This guide explores why sustainability matters, practical actions you can take, and how to overcome challenges. We will also show you resources and financing options available to SMEs in Singapore.

Sustainability business loans and working capital loans for SMEs in Singapore


Setting Sustainable Goals: Vision And Strategy

What is sustainability? It’s about meeting the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generaitons to meet their own needs.

Guidelines set on the international and local scale can help set the standard for vision formation. For example, goal 13 of the Sustainable Development Goals and the Singapore Green Plan 2030, spearheaded by the Ministry of Sustainability and the Environment and four other ministries, seek to mitigate the impacts of climate change on our environment.

These guidelines strive to uphold environmental sustainability and can provide guidance to businesses in establishing objectives that gradually guide sustainable initiatives. In simpler terms, it’s about environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity – all interconnected.

Implement Sustainability Into Business Operations

To make business practices more sustainable, organisations must integrate environmental and social considerations into their daily operations.

1. Energy Efficiency

Investing in energy-efficient technologies, renewable energy sources, and conservation measures can significantly reduce carbon footprint and operational costs. Ikea is leading the way, selling 100% LED energy-efficient lighting and powering their stores with only renewable sources of energy, such as wind and solar.

2. Waste Reduction

Implementing waste reduction strategies such as recycling, composting, and product redesign minimises environmental impact and enhances resource efficiency. Food product maker Mars has been committed to zero waste since 2007 and has achieved and maintained zero manufacturing waste to landfill at all its factories since 2016. They also strive to make 100% of their packaging recyclable, reusable, or compostable by 2025.

3. Sustainable Sourcing

Partnering with suppliers committed to ethical labor practices, fair trade, and sustainable production methods. One notable brand dedicated to sustainable sourcing is The Body Shop. The cosmetics company has committed to being environmentally responsible when sourcing natural ingredients and packaging and upholds human rights by promoting fair trade practices and ethical employment. 

For more resources on how to successfully implement ways to run your business more sustainably, this article on the GoBusiness website might be helpful.

Sustainability business loans and working capital loans for SMEs in Singapore


Boosting Sustainability Adoption

Here are some tips to ensure successful implementation of your sustainability initiatives:

  • Ethical And Responsible Leadership: Leadership plays a pivotal role in driving sustainable change within organisations and fostering a culture of accountability and integrity.
  • Stakeholder Engagement: Engaging stakeholders, including employees, consumers, communities, and investors, in sustainability initiatives fosters collaboration and collective action toward shared goals.
  • Educate and Empower Employees: Provide training opportunities to help employees understand sustainability and integrate best practices into their roles. Additionally, by encouraging a culture of creativity and innovation, employees are more inclined to explore new approaches to sustainability challenges.

Leveraging Communication and Technology

  • Emphasise Sustainable Marketing and Communication: Authentic and transparent communication, along with alignment between words and actions, is essential for building credibility and trust with stakeholders. Use green messaging, which involves crafting messages to highlight sustainability efforts and achievements. Patagonia, for example, encouraged consumers to consider the environmental impact before buying their jackets.
  • Leverage Technology for Sustainability: By harnessing data analytics, businesses can identify inefficiencies, track performance metrics, and make informed decisions to improve sustainability outcomes. Technology can automate processes and streamline operations, reducing resource consumption and enhancing efficiency.

Monitoring and Measuring Impact

  • Track Progress and Measure Impact: Monitor and evaluate your sustainability performance regularly to assess progress and identify areas for improvement. Develop KPIs (Key Performance Indicators) to track key areas such as energy consumption, waste reduction, and carbon emissions.
Sustainability business loans and working capital loans for SMEs in Singapore


Overcoming Obstacles

While the benefits of sustainable business practices are significant, organisations may encounter some challenges and obstacles along the way.

Resistance To Change

Resistance to change is natural. However, business owners can depend on the various programs established to promote Singapore’s sustainability efforts to foster greater understanding.

The Sustainability Playbook for Enterprises on the Enterprise Singapore website and the training and education arm of the Singapore Environment Council both provide guides designed to help businesses get started and navigate through their sustainability journey. Additionally, the Eco Business website drives greater awareness of environmental sustainability and allows businesses to keep up with the latest news about the environment.

These helpful platforms can help to broaden perspectives and hopefully, overcome resistance and cultivate a stronger culture of sustainability.

Financial Constraints

Investing in sustainability initiatives may require upfront capital expenditures. Although the long-term benefits such as cost savings, risk mitigation, and brand reputation outweigh the initial costs, it may be financially challenging, especially for small businesses.

The Enterprise Development Grant set up by Enterprise Singapore provides up to 70% support for sustainability projects and is available till 31 March 2026. Business owners can apply for this SME grant through the Business Grant Portal.


Sustainability in business encompasses a commitment to promote the three pillars of sustainability:

environmental stewardship, social responsibility, and economic prosperity.

It involves balancing the needs of the present without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. By integrating sustainable practices into your business in Singapore, you can create long-term value while contributing to a healthier planet and society for future generations.

Taking Action: Partner with Poss Capital for Flexible Financing Solutions

If your business requires additional financing options to transition and adopt more sustainable practices, get Quik with Poss today! We offer loans with simple borrowing requirements and no early repayment penalties. Contact us and leave your financial worries with us so you can focus solely on growing your business sustainably.

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