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The Generali White Paper on Sustainability in the European SME Scenario

July 27, 2021

An interview with professor Perrini to discover more about the project developed in collaboration with the Bocconi University

It is a well-known fact that SMEs are the beating heart of Europe as they play a fundamental role in the economy due to the effect they have on its communities and social structure. Therefore, it has now become increasingly evident that the actions and efforts needed to be taken in order to nurture sustainable transitions – this ensuring a better future for Europe – must start with them.

To encourage SMEs that have not yet taken the first step towards integrating sustainable models into their businesses, Generali, in partnership with SDA Bocconi – School of Management, compiled the SME EnterPRIZE White Paper. This document aims to provide a comprehensive overview of the academic literature on sustainability along with an in-depth analysis of several strategic approaches adopted by SMEs currently active in the sustainability sector, with special emphasis on obstacles that could limit the adoption of sustainability strategies and on the benefits of integrating sustainable models for small and medium-sized enterprises.

Francesco Perrini, Full Professor at Bocconi University and SDA Bocconi School of Management, talks about this during his video interview, in which he tells how the idea for the White Paper was originally conceived and how it results from an extensive analysis of verified data collected across the international managerial scenario.

The White Paper is structured upon a systematic and thorough review of the literature, one of the largest ever conducted across Europe, on a sample of over 3,000 academic articles on sustainability and SMEs all of which were published in main sector journals.

The analysis was also extended to the so-called international “grey literature” on the subject, i.e., documents and reports from important institutions, organizations, think tanks, consulting firms and public and private research centres. This helped provide valuable information for further development of the general research framework.

The drafting of the White Paper was possible thanks to an international collaboration between various business schools and universities across 8 countries – France, Spain, Italy, Germany, Czech Republic, Austria, Hungary and Switzerland. Careful revisions were carried out on a national level on data and information collected and provided by local statistical offices, non-academic studies, surveys published by business associations and chambers of commerce. Further checks were carried out through interviews with specialists and sector experts, including representatives of SMEs themselves.

Watch the interview to get a glimpse of the SME EnterPRIZE White Paper and the tools and initiatives currently available for SMEs to facilitate their sustainable transition.