The Sustainability Consortium says company size doesn’t determine sustainability performance

According to its data from 2020, company size is not a determining factor in improving the sustainability and transparency of consumer goods supply chains.

The Sustainability Consortium (TSC; Scottsdale, AZ) released its fourth THESIS Industry Insights: Performance by Company Size report using data from its The Sustainability Insight System (THESIS), which helps assess and communicate a brand’s and manufacturer’s progress on supply chain sustainability. According to its data from 2020, company size is not a determining factor in improving the sustainability and transparency of consumer goods supply chains. TSC tested the hypothesis on company size ranging from less than $1 million in annual revenue to companies that bring in greater than $1 billion in annual revenue. The data shows that even though company sizes can range between the two spectrums, there is no practical difference in their THESIS sustainability performance.

Small-to-medium enterprises (SME) face different barriers to success than their larger counterparts. According to TSC’s data, SMEs tend to have advantages that include the higher influence of personal values of their CEOs and are able to pay more attention to non-economic sustainability drivers. SME barriers include lack of time, resources, and knowledge while also having a hard time making the case for sustainability. Larger companies were more likely to engage in formal document practices, were better able to communicate with stakeholders, and were more likely to be able to attend to material relevant issues.

"Through our THESIS data, we are pleased to see that small-to-medium enterprises are making the same, if not better, improvements than large companies,” said Jessica Ginger, TSC senior director, THESIS Impact, in a press release. “We now know that dedicating at least one person to integrating sustainability practices into the business, no matter the size, significant improvements in supply chain sustainability is feasible.”

TSC also found dedicated sustainability staff are critically important to driving significant changes. Around 25% of companies that had no sustainability staff reported they had made changes in sustainable product or packaging design, while more than 40% companies with sustainability staff reported they had done the same.