The concept of sustainability is often misunderstood, limiting itself to the environment. This imprecision distances SMEs from a concept that can be very natural in their activity.
Especially in ecology and economy, which can be maintained for a long time without depleting resources or causing serious damage to the environment ”. The dictionary of the Royal Academy thus defines, in its second meaning, the adjective sustainable, but business reality has been expanding the focus for years. Today, in the company, sustainability not only concerns the environment, but also the more social impact of business work and good corporate governance practices. The sophistication of the concept fully reaches SMEs, the companies closest to local communities.
But “it’s not about inventing the wheel, but about asking yourself how you do your job, whatever you do,” says businesswoman Clara Arpa. The history of the company he runs, Arpa EMC, is a good example of how sustainability is also a matter for SMEs that is not necessarily linked to environmental impact. It was founded in La Muela (Zaragoza) in 1968, offering tents and temporary installations to summer camps. From there it began to diversify, building field kitchens for exercise and later also growing in the sanitary field.
Since 2011, it has been directed by the founder’s daughter, Clara Arpa, who also heads the Spanish Global Compact Network, the multinational organization that involves the private sector in the fulfillment of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG). Arpa EMC, whose equipment has been used in more than fifty countries, employs around eighty people and will close 2020 with approximately twenty million euros in turnover. But what most distinguishes it is its commitment to sustainability, which ranges from the use of energy, to continuous training programs, plans against workplace harassment or the promotion of healthy habits.
IT WAS COMPLICATED TO REMOVE PEOPLE FROM THEIR COMFORT ZONE; SUDDENLY YOU GO FROM TALKING ABOUT HOLIDAYS AND INCENTIVES TO INTEREST GROUPS AND SUSTAINABILITY
CLARA ARPA, ARPA EMC, CEO
The businesswoman says that placing sustainability as a basic element of the company, about ten years ago, was complicated. “We had to start from scratch,” he recalls. In that process, a lot of internal pedagogy was needed: “It was difficult to get people out of their comfort zone,” he recalls, “because suddenly you go from talking about vacations and incentives to interest groups and sustainability.
Sustainability, at the origin of the business.
Born in 2017, the case of Crowdfarming is very different, since the very concept of sustainability is the key to its business model. This family company from Bétera (Valencia), which employs 42 people, sells organic agriculture, which they grow and market based on the orders they receive online, without resorting to intermediaries.
A seal to differentiate sustainable SMEs.