SG SMEs rank low in sustainability adoption in SEA: Epson

Barriers to green technology adoption are mostly cost concerns.

Singapore’s small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have ranked amongst the lowest in Southeast Asia to adopt sustainable operations, according to printing solutions experts Epson’s “SMEs striving for Digital Transformation amidst many hurdles” report published earlier this year. This is in spite of the city-state’s SMEs having the strongest understanding of the “Digital Transformation” concept throughout the region.

The barriers to green technology adoption are mostly cost concerns and the SMEs’ lack of understanding about available technologies that can help reduce their environmental footprint. “Singapore’s SMEs should approach sustainability with a different mindset compared to larger multinational corporations (MNCs),” commented Tan May Lin, Epson Singapore’s s director for sales division and regional brand and communications.

“Day-to-day operations and profitability are key concerns for SMEs, as they often choose to prioritise revenue and growth over sustainable business practices,” added Tan.

Currently, 83% of Singapore’s SMEs have digital transformation strategies in place, but 54% have cited delays in their digitalisation tactics due to COVID-19.

Creating a sustainable mindset for SMEs
In driving a more sustainable mindset, SMEs can consider the business benefits over the medium to long term, such as lower power consumption, reduced waste, or increased energy efficiency, said Tan. More customers are also looking past the notion of the best product at the right price, or employees not working for businesses based on brand reputation alone anymore.

“To make a significant change to a company’s environmental consumption and footprint, SMEs should commit to creating business environments that allow them to leverage innovation to facilitate meaningful change, whilst also delivering positive business outcomes,” said Tan, noting that SMEs can achieve such a goal by building a sustainability mindset from the inside out and ensuring that sustainability is a key factor or criteria when making key business decisions.

Incremental changes over time can be made, such as transitioning from traditional laser printers to more environmentally friendly alternatives like heat-free inkjet ones.

Singapore’s journey towards a waste-free economy
From repurposing solid waste as construction material to encouraging companies to reduce unnecessary packaging, Singapore is on its way to becoming a circular economy with zero waste. In sustainability conversations, recycling may be the topic that is most widely discussed, but it is only part of the solution as we need to relook the whole resource chain to create circularity, remarked Tan.

Some companies are also looking to design durable products made with easily recyclable materials.

“Before remote working became the new normal, it is not surprising that many of wider waste-free trends that were adopted prior to the pandemic were side-lined as individuals became accustomed to new working environments and were focused on more immediate challenges,” commented Tan.

 

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