New insights give small businesses practical sustainability tools

SMEs are essential to environmental and social change

SMEs and the accountancy practices which support them play a critical role in the transition to a sustainable future. SMEs are vital to employment, food production and distribution, construction, health and wellbeing and the delivery of vital services. Collectively, they have a major economic impact and are essential to environmental and social change. However, for SMEs with small teams, finding practical ways to embed better practice can be a challenge.

Launching today, new guidance from ACCA and Chartered Accountants ANZ (CA ANZ) aims to help small and medium enterprises (SMEs) on embedding sustainable practice in their businesses.

Enabling a sustainable future is a primary focus of this year’s World Congress of Accountants, in Mumbai on 18-21 November, where ACCA and CA ANZ will be highlighting the vital role smaller business play in achieving this.

The new insight series covers five key areas: the role of SMEs; developing a sustainability strategy; climate and the environment; waste and the circular economy; and social sustainability.

ACCA’s Head of Skills, Sectors & Technology, Jamie Lyon, commented on the significant role accountants play in leading SMEs through this transition: ‘As a huge source of employment and production around the world, the actions of SMEs are critical to a more sustainable future. Many thousands of our members work in small and medium-sized accountancy firms and support SMEs on their sustainability journeys. From analysing data and business models to reporting on non-financial metrics and setting strategic aims – accountants have a vital role to play.’

The latest guide, ‘How SMEs can create a more sustainable world’ provides a range of resources and insights as well as setting out the business case for SMEs. This includes how embedding sustainability can strengthen the supply chain, drives down costs, create value, attract talent, and improve access to finance.

CA ANZ Business Reform Leader Karen McWilliams FCA says that increasingly, SMEs are renewing their social license to operate, by embedding sustainable practice.

‘There’s a huge opportunity for businesses to embrace sustainable practice in their operations, and at a minimum, sustainability planning is part of maintaining a social licence with clients and customers. Accountants can both start and lead the conversation using this insights series.

‘The uptake of the original SME sustainability playbook showed there is huge appetite within small and medium business sector, for sustainability. These insights make the original content even more usable for accountants and businesses.’

More on the insights series can be found here.

For media enquiries, contact:
ACCA News Room:


Twitter: @ACCANews

Chartered Accountants ANZ:
Daniel Webster, +64 27 282 6253

About ACCA
ACCA (the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants) is the global body for professional accountants. We’re a thriving global community of 241,000 members and 542,000 future members based in 178 countries and regions, who work across a wide range of sectors and industries. We uphold the highest professional and ethical values.

We offer everyone everywhere the opportunity to experience a rewarding career in accountancy, finance and management. Our qualifications and learning opportunities develop strategic business leaders, forward-thinking professionals with the financial, business and digital expertise essential for the creation of sustainable organisations and flourishing societies.

Since 1904, being a force for public good has been embedded in our purpose. In December 2020, we made commitments to the UN Sustainable Development Goals which we are measuring and will report on in our annual integrated report.

We believe that accountancy is a cornerstone profession of society and is vital helping economies, organisations and individuals to grow and prosper. It does this by creating robust trusted financial and business management, combating corruption, ensuring organisations are managed ethically, driving sustainability, and providing rewarding career opportunities.

And through our cutting-edge research, we lead the profession by answering today’s questions and preparing for the future. We’re a not-for-profit organisation. Find out more at

About Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand 

Chartered Accountants Australia and New Zealand (CA ANZ) represents more than 134,000 financial professionals, supporting them to make a difference to the businesses, organisations and communities in which they work and live. Chartered Accountants are known as Difference Makers. The depth and breadth of their expertise helps them to see the big picture and chart the best course of action.

CA ANZ promotes the Chartered Accountant (CA) designation and high ethical standards, delivers world-class services and life-long education to members and advocates for the public good. We protect the reputation of the designation by ensuring members continue to comply with a code of ethics, backed by a robust discipline process. We also monitor Chartered Accountants who offer services directly to the public.

Our flagship CA Program, the pathway to becoming a Chartered Accountant, combines rigorous education with practical experience. Ongoing professional development helps members shape business decisions and remain relevant in a changing world.


"As a huge source of employment and production around the world, the actions of SMEs are critical to a more sustainable future."

Jamie Lyon - ACCA