A new study has found that sustainable and ethical business practices are emerging as a key growth driver for SMEs in Australia.
The emergent trend forms part of the Australian findings of the Global 2018 SME Pulse Report from American Express and Oxford Economics, which was launched earlier this week.
Of particular interest is how sustainable and ethical business practices are an emerging growth driver – with almost all (86%) of Australian SMEs identifying ethical and sustainable business practices as key to company growth and profitability.
On the consumer side, 73% of customers are now demanding more sustainable products and services, and actively seeking out businesses that offer them.
Martin Seward, Vice President of American Express Global Commercial Services said: “With Australian shoppers increasingly basing spending decisions on how ethical they perceive a business to be, and the impact that business has on the environment and society in general, sustainable business practices are no longer a nice to have, they’re essential for any size of business competing today.”
To gather data, 3,000 senior executives across 12 countries and 16 industries were surveyed, to explore how the current outlook of the world’s SMEs differs to 12 months ago – and what businesses are forecasting for the year ahead.
Australian SMEs also say that fostering an innovative culture and employing talented innovators will be the most important factors when it comes to improving innovation in their business.
Looking ahead, Aussie businesses are acting ahead of their global counterparts to intensify innovation.
In particular, local businesses are encouraging all staff to contribute to ideas (57% locally vs. 53% globally); allocating time for idea generation (64% locally vs. 57% globally); and encouraging an innovative culture (75% locally vs. 68% globally).