Sustainability in Small- and Medium-sized Enterprises

The vast majority of companies in the world are small!

According to the EU, 99% of all European companies can be categorized as 'small and medium-sized enterprises' - or SMEs. This means that they have less than 250 employees and an annual turnover of less than 50 million Euros. Despite their small size, SMEs together have an enormous significance for the development of society. For example, 80% of all new jobs in the EU are created by the region's 23 million smaller companies. And of course, all these enterprises together create a great social and ecological imprint. So, it is very important that all these organisations operate in a sustainable manner!

computer and coffee mug on a table or workspace

When we discuss concepts such as sustainable business and social innovation, it is usually larger companies that are seen and heard. But that does not mean that smaller enterprises are not as active. Indeed, sometimes they contribute more than larger companies to certain aspects of sustainability! Not least to the communities where they are located. Here you can find some examples of smaller companies that either contribute in a positive way to their local communities, or that work innovatively with social or ecological sustainability.

That is: with corporate social innovation!

Logo of Eu financing Jönköping region, Coompanion, and MMTC

SIRU 2.0 is financed by by Tillväxtverket with EU funding, and by Region Jönköpings län.


Click on the Case Study titles below to read some inspirational examples of SMEs engaging in social innovation.

(Some case studies include a downloadable pdf)

Case Study # 1 Commonland Opens in new window.

Restoring landscapes to create a brighter future on planet Earth


Case Study # 2 Green Connect Opens in new window.

A non-profit social enterprise aiming to reduce two of the biggest problems in the Illawara region of New South Wales, Australia: employment and waste.

Case Study # 3 Greyston Bakery Opens in new window.

Pioneers of the 'Open Hiring' movement and addressing barriers to meaningful employment.

Case Study # 4 Haga Gruppen (The Haga Group) Opens in new window.

A wholesale company that wants to include all members of society!

Case Study # 7 Orange Sky Opens in new window.

A platform for every day Australians to connect through a regular laundry and shower service. The focus is on creating a safe, positive and supportive environment for people who are too often ignored or who feel disconnected from the community.

Case Study # 8 Seeds of Kenosis Design Opens in new window.

Kenosis was founded in 2018 by a young, Swedish entrepreneur who lives in Romania. Andreas Samuelsson has both a heart for Roma people and long experience of collaborating with them. During his 19 years in Romania, he has learned that integration emerges from practical action and a long-term commitment, and not from fine words and short projects.

Case Study # 9 Solbacka Rundstavsfabrik AB Opens in new window.

A wood manufacturing industry that engages in small scale industrial symbiosis and employs local labour as much as possible!

Case Study # 10 The Muga Valley Project Opens in new window.

Regenerating 100.000 hectares of forest ecosystem, bringing back life, rural economy and securing future water supplies of the Costa Brava North.