The Spanish Network of the Global Compact, the General Council of Economists of Spain (CGE) and the Spanish Confederation of Small and Medium Enterprises, CEPYMEhave presented the Guide for SMEs to the Sustainable Development Goals, which they have jointly edited. This Guide is a practical and schematic manual for easy consultation, whose objectives are to sensitize SMEs in the field of SDGs, guide them to contribute to the 2030 Agenda and to generate alliances linked to the Objectives. Likewise, the contents of this publication are designed for the SME to visualize tangible benefits in management under the principles of sustainability. Among them, the epigraphs on business opportunities for SMEs on the 2030 agenda and on how to align the company strategy with the SDGs, as well as the one related to regulatory compliance in terms of sustainability or taxes and sustainability.
The presentation was attended by the president of the General Council of Economists, Valentín Pich, the vice president of CEPYME, José Manuel de Riva, and the executive director of the Spanish Network of the Global Compact, Cristina Sánchez.
During his speech, the president of the General Council of Economists of Spain, Valentín Pich, said that “sustainability should be a backbone in the business strategies of SMEs, not only for an ethical commitment, but also for the opportunities that you can report them, among others, in terms of cost reduction and tax bill, improvement of reputation and competitiveness, access to new markets, or better access to financing. ”
Of the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, the one related to climate change is in full tune with the upcoming Climate Summit in Madrid. In this regard, in Pich's opinion, "on this issue there is much more that is said than what is done." "How could our country act in this field immediately so that everything is not left in a mere declaration of intentions?" – asked Pich. According to the president of economists, "environmental taxation in Spain should be rethought because, although there are many allegedly green taxes, the reality is that more than 60% of the collection of this type is achieved through the Hydrocarbons Tax." “It is necessary to reorganize once and for all territorial and state environmental taxation so that all public administrations go in unison and in the same direction, and that the ultimate goal is not only to obtain a higher collection but, fundamentally, to discourage harmful behaviors for the natural environment by all economic agents ”- Pich has insisted.
To encourage the implementation of the SDGs in companies, the president of the General Council of Economists has proposed another specific measure: “Establish the application of freedom of depreciation for investments in fixed assets that result in a decrease in pollution or a special efficiency energetic ”.
Finally, Valentín Pich has revealed that “globalization and digitalization are causing a reduction and precariousness of average jobs”. Hence, "the improvement of training is configured today as a strategic element for the creation of quality jobs that allow us to compete in the world in which we live."
Then, the vice president of CEPYME, José Manuel de Riva, spoke that “SMEs, as a fundamental part of the private sector, play a crucial role in the sustainable development and prosperity of the territories, offering income opportunities, employment generation, training and career development, thus contributing to the eradication of inequalities and fostering economic growth. ” In this sense, he has insisted that sustainable development “generates new business opportunities, promotes innovation and improves reputation” and should be a collective work, “neither companies, governments, nor civil society should work separate form ”.
Along these lines, José Manuel de Riva has highlighted the role of business organizations, as well as the importance of “national policy and legislation on sustainable development providing the appropriate framework for the change from a traditional economy to a more sustainable one environmentally and more circular, responding to the characteristics and specificities of SMEs ”.
For its part, the executive director of the Spanish Network of the Global Compact, Cristina Sánchez, said that “from the Spanish Network of the Global Compact we have a strong commitment to Spanish SMEs, which represent not only the bulk of the Spanish business fabric, but also that of our adhered entities, being 60% of them. From our organization we see a growing involvement of these companies in the 2030 Agenda, but there is still a long way to go. In fact, 78% of SMEs do not know the 2030 Agenda or only do so superficially. This is one of the main reasons for the development of this guide, which we intend to accelerate the business action of small and medium-sized companies with regard to the SDGs. It is time to increase speed if we want to meet the SDGs and SMEs are one of the decisive engines to do so. ”
In this sense – Sanchez continued -, “we hope that this Guide serves to convey to the SME the message that the Agenda is not just a responsibility, it is a business opportunity worth taking if they want to survive in the future. And at this point I would like to emphasize that for its application within the business strategy it is not necessary to make large investments of money, an issue that usually scares small and medium businesses. Also through small actions with its stakeholders such as selecting suppliers that respect Human Rights or making alliances such as the one we have done here with the General Council of Economists of Spain and CEPYME, positive results can be achieved in some SDGs ”.
Finally, the executive director of the Spanish Network of the Global Compact has come to present the characteristics of the publication, as well as the main conclusions and proposals that can be drawn from the Guide.
To close the event and in order to have real examples of the benefits that sustainability practices report to SMEs, managers of Gioseppo and Mas Business have presented projects of this type carried out by their organization. Thus, the footwear company, Gioseppo, together with the Esperanza Pertusa Foundation, launched the project Women4Change as part of its collaboration with the NGO "Smiles and Olive" that strives to improve the living conditions of Syrian refugee women in refugee camps in Lebanon. As a result of the program, in 2017 they managed to launch a shoe collection made by Syrian refugee women. For its part, the consultancy Mas Business has developed a sustainable mobility plan to reduce the consumption of fuels and emissions caused by displacement. These measures are applied to 100% of the workforce and thanks to this initiative, displacement emissions have increased from 5.13 tonnes per person in 2015 (maximum) to 1.57 tonnes per person in 2018.