Investing in Technology? Think of the Environment.
The future for SMEs in Southeast Asia lies in creating an environmentally and operationally sustainable business.
Experts have warned about the human-initiated threat of climate change for years. In the last few years, that message has been received by more people. Recent extreme climate events have also added immediacy and newsworthiness to the cause.
As Eco-Business noted in a report, transitioning to a low carbon economy is gaining momentum in Southeast Asia, but investments in renewable energy and storage, clean energy public transport systems and energy efficient technologies and innovations are most needed.
Businesses in the region are joining the population in taking the threat more seriously by looking for ways to evaluate and improve the environmental impact of every aspect of their business, from products to process, in response to changing customer preferences among other factors. SMEs are particularly aware of how these changing preferences can affect their business.
Almost 30% of respondents in an Epson survey of SMEs in six of the largest Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) nations by GDP ranked managing customer experience as their top business challenge. About half of the respondents in the Philippines considered this to be a top concern.
Recognising the increasing importance of environmental concerns among their customers, close to 70 percent of the corporate SMEs in the region polled by Epson said they consider the impact on the environment when choosing an office printer. Thai SMEs in the study showed the most consideration of the environment when making office printer purchases.
Studies are also finding that consumers are placing greater importance on a company’s environmental sustainability practices. A global study by Accenture found that more consumers are willing to pay extra for environmentally friendly products. Nearly three-quarters (72%) of the survey respondents said they’re currently buying more environmentally friendly products than they were five years ago, and 81% said they expect to buy more over the next five years.
It’s clear that regardless of the product or service, SMEs must be more proactive in considering the environmental impact of their business to meet customer expectations.
 Eco-Business Research: Power Trip: Southeast Asia’s journey to a low carbon economy, https://.ecobusiness.com/media/uploads/magazine/power_tripsoutheast_asias_journey_to_a_low_carbon_economy.pdf
 YouGov: 56% of Singaporeans believe businesses have a responsibility to prevent environmental damage, https://sg.yougov.com/en-sg/news/2018/01/04/businesses-and-environmental-damage/
 Accenture Newsroom: More than Half of Consumers Would Pay More for Sustainable Products Designed to Be Reused or Recycled, Accenture Survey Finds, https://newsroom.accenture.com/news/more-than-half-of-consumers-would-pay-more-for-sustainable-products-designed-to-be-reused-or-recycled-accenture-survey-finds.htm
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