What drives environmental practices of SMEs?

07 mei 2014

The objective of this paper is to develop a better understanding of how and why small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) engage in environmental practices. Two types of environmental practices are distinguished: practices related to production processes (greening processes) and practices related to products and services (greening product and service offerings). Despite a growing literature on socially responsible behavior of large firms, the role of SMEs remains underexposed. This neglect of SMEs is not justified because of the substantial impact of SMEs on the economy and the natural environment. By using unique data for almost 9,000 SMEs across 12 sectors in 38 countries, we study the influences of firm, sector and country characteristics on SMEs’ environmental behavior. Our results suggest that different characteristics have dissimilar influences on both types of environmental practices such as the type of customers served and the stringency of environmental legislation at the country level. Moreover, the dominant idea that small firms are reluctant to invest in environmental practices is clearly more nuanced: size indeed matters however only when greening processes are concerned.

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Auteur(s): Daniela Guerra PhD, dr. B. Hoogendoorn, dr. P.W. van der Zwan


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