Working Paper, Institut für Mittelstandsforschung (IfM) Bonn 04/14
Nowadays, sustainable management seems more likely to be a guarantee of competitiveness for companies, regardless of their size. Besides offering those strategic opportunities, sustainable management practices also play a significant role in gaining acceptance and legitimacy in the marketplace. Moreover, SMEs are continually researching ways to improve their performance. The relationship between sustainability and company performance has interested researchers for twenty years, even if the academic results are mostly focused on bigger companies. The purpose of this paper is to provide an understanding of how sustainable management practices help in achieving global performance for small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs). The analysis of this case study shows how the transition from risk management to sustainable management allows an improvement in global company performance. Global performance considers social, environmental and societal issues in addition to economic performance. The first part of the paper looks at the relationship between sustainability and performance in the context of SMEs. The second part uses a French case study to illustrate how an industrial SME can implement sustainable management and translate this into improved performance. To resume, this paper illustrates that sustainable management can be a catalyst for innovation in industrial SMEs.
case study (global) performance sustainability small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs)