How can an SME get started with sustainability?

The role of sustainability in business is growing – including for SMEs. Read how to get started on sustainability and how OP can support you.

Only one in ten large corporations is satisfied with the sustainability of its subcontracting chain. (Source: OP's Survey of Large Corporations 2023)

There is no one way to do sustainability work: your company must adjust its actions to its business environment. Here's how: 

1. Make a situation analysis

Start your sustainability work by analysing your current situation. Answer the following questions: 

  • How are sustainability issues managed in your company? How does sustainability show in your business environment? 
  • What are the biggest sustainability risks? OP's Survey of Large Corporations 2023 indicates that 45% of large corporations intend to change their subcontractors in the near future due to sustainability targets. Could this risk materialise for your company? 

Choose themes for your company

After the situation analysis, identify the most material themes that your company needs to work on. Don't pick too many themes at once. Choose a pace and methods that work for your company. Define a target towards which you'll work and indicators to support your efforts. 

Involve your personnel from the very beginning. Integrate the selected sustainability themes into your company's decision-making and operations down the line. Remember that addressing sustainability is not a one-time project, but continuous work. 

3. Communicate on your results, plans, implementation, measurement and external commitments

Certificates by third parties, commitments and assured reports will add to the credibility of your targets and actions. 

Sustainability reporting is a great way to demonstrate sustainability in business – including for SMEs. When you start with sustainability reporting, we recommend that you use at least the following indicators to assess the impacts of your company's operations: 

  • CO2 emissions. Calculate them using the international GHG Protocol. Include the company’s direct emissions and indirect emissions related to purchased energy and supply chains. 
  • Climate risk assessment. How do physical and transition risks affect your company? How do you address these? 
  • Local environmental impacts. What is the company's impact on water quality, biodiversity or other environmental aspects? 
  • Employee wellbeing. What are your employee turnover, sick leave and accident frequency figures? Remember to provide clear definitions of the terms you use. 

4. Use OP's help

We'll help you get started with emissions calculation 

OP's corporate customers get 20% off emissions reduction courses provided by the Finland Chamber of Commerce in 2023. The discount applies to all ticket types: if your company is a member of a chamber of commerce, you’ll get both the member discount and the OP customer discount. 

See the upcoming courses and sign up 

We can finance your company's sustainable investments 

We'll help you to invest in reducing your company's environmental burden. Our sustainable finance solutions are ideal if your company plans to invest in: 

  • construction and renovation projects which improve energy efficiency 
  • the use of renewable energy sources 
  • low emissions 
  • circular economy 
  • building infrastructure for low emission transport 
  • use of sustainable natural resources, such as organic agriculture and certified aquaculture or fishing. 

Read more about our sustainable finance solutions

Sustainable finance solutions for SMEs

We will finance your company’s sustainable investments. Read more about the options we provide.