Grasping global opportunities - Taiwanese SMEs to link with Sustainable Development Goals
Intensive use of the earth's finite natural resources from mankind activities of production and consumption is resulting in greater negative environmental impacts. Our Common Future from the United Nations World Commission on Environment and Development (WCED) defined "sustainable development" as development that meets the needs of the present, without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs. However, the task of achieving a sustainable development is gigantic and challenging for the human society. As a result, during the UN Earth Summit 2015, 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) were finalized with mankind, earth, prosperity, peace and partnership as five central guiding principles. Action plans in environmental, economic and social aspects are rolled out to end poverty, injustice and climate change by 2030.
The 17 SDGs are of great importance towards the future of human society, ecology and the environment, and deeply influence the international market strategic planning of enterprises. Consequently, countries around the globe are promoting concepts of green economy in the hope of improving human well-being and social justice as well as decreasing environmental risks and ecological degradation. World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) believes that business is a positive force to solve global environmental issues. While facing the stress of finite natural resources, tightening regulations on environmental protection and consumer demand for green products, enterprises have to implement measures to maintain a balanced development between mankind and the environment for business sustainability. According to the latest statistics of Taiwanese small and medium-sized enterprises in 2016, there are a total of 1,408,313 SMEs, accounting for 97.73% of the total number of enterprises with sales totaled to 392 billion U.S. dollars, accounting for 30.36% of all enterprises and retaining more than 8.8 million employees, accounting for 78.91% of all employed persons. SMEs are truly the backbone of economic development and societal stability in Taiwan.
To successfully assist Taiwanese SMEs in responding to the international trends of green economy and grasping global opportunities, Small and Medium Enterprise Administration (SMEA), Ministry of Economic Affairs integrated all resources available to actively help SMEs establish sustainable capacities in economic, environmental and social aspects one step at a time to build Taiwanese SMEs into well-rounded rising stars in green innovations. According to the latest SME statistics in 2016, the top three industries generating most annual sales were wholesale, manufacturing and construction respectively. Hence the case studies selected in this book are innovative SMEs among these three industries with assistance from SMEA through "Project Rising Star in Green Innovation for SMEs" to incorporating SDGs into business practices and demonstrating rewarding outcomes in business growth. Aside from the Traditional Chinese version, this book is translated into English, Japanese and French to strengthen international dissemination, expand global market and enhance sustainable competitiveness for domestic SMEs.