Sustainability for Small Businesses – Getting to the Heart of the Matter

February 9, 2023 /in , /by Kassey Shier

Demand continues for small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs) to join the growing ranks of businesses with sustainability programs. Adding to the pressure, businesses are expected to avoid the appearance of greenwashing (“advertising that deceptively persuades the public that a company’s products or services are environmentally friendly”1).

How can you figure out what environmental, social, and governance issues actually matter for your business, and convey how you are managing them in a meaningful way? A good place to start is a materiality assessment.

What in the world is a materiality assessment, and why should I care? What does that mean for me? Is this like a health and safety audit?

Not exactly.

Put simply, a materiality assessment helps you identify and prioritize ESG issues that are the most critical to your business. Often terms like this can be confusing. Trace is here to help make your SSR life easier.

We help you figure out what issues matter to your employees, suppliers, clients, investors, and your community (often referred to as stakeholders). While surveys, interviews, and workshops can be useful to gather the information, sometimes something as simple as a web search can be an easy place to start. You may be able to find your clients’ sustainability priorities.

We help you understand if international reporting agencies’ tools may be useful to building your SSR program. For example, the Sustainability Accounting Standards Board produces a Materiality Finder2 that provides common material topics for industries.

Regardless of your path to determining what matters to the people and places that your business influences, keep in mind that if a topic doesn’t matter to your people then you shouldn’t be making it a focus for your sustainability program.

Want to know more about materiality and our SSR workshop? Let’s chat.

Sustainability. Simplified.