Sustainable development and the role of medium sized enterprises

| January 18, 2011

According to the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) SMEs account for about 90 per cent of businesses worldwide, employing 50 to 60 per cent of the world’s workforce. In Australia, Australian Bureau of Statistics data indicate small businesses in Australia comprise up to 89 per cent of all employing enterprises, with medium businesses making up another 10 per cent.

The SME sector is not only huge but also extremely diverse – with  60per cent of all of these businesses not having any employees – this diversity creates challenges on many levels and  areas including responsible business practices,  corporate sustainability and philanthropy.

Corporate sustainability and social responsibility activities have largely focused on multi-national companies. With issues like supply chain management firmly planted on corporate Australia’s agenda the question of how to drive this type of change through the supply chain is receiving more and more attention and opportunity to engage with the ME section of this very important sector are most welcome.

First 5000 is a breath of fresh air and promises to bring about change by segmenting an important part of the SME sector and giving it a voice.  This is a significant sector in anybody’s terms, economically, socially and environmentally and shouldn’t be overlooked in the creation of innovative solutions to corporate sustainability challenges.

It is by its very nature a very fast moving sector and the establishment of First 5000  is providing all important access to this independent business development alliance and enables this segment of the SME sector to contribute to the increasing need for sustainable development innovations in industry.