Document Type



Edith Cowan University

Place of Publication

Perth, Western Australia


Small and Medium Enterprise Research Centre


ECU Industry Collaborative Grant


Walker, B., Redmond, J., Sheridan, L., Wang, C., Goeft, U. (2008). Small and medium enterprises and the environment: barriers, drivers, innovation and best practice: A review of the literature. Perth, Australia: Edith Cowan University.


Small and medium enterprises are the largest business sector in every economy in the world 1, and generate the majority (up to 60%) of global economic output2. In the Australian context, a small business or enterprise is one that employs up to 20 staff while a small and medium sized enterprise (an SME) is a business that employs up to 200 staff. By this definition, more than 99% of all actively trading businesses (more than 1.95 million enterprises) in Australia are SMEs3 . There is a growing body of research supporting the need for SMEs to become engaged in the adoption of environmental management practices. This is because SMEs are more 'pollution-intensive' than 'big business', with some estimates suggesting that the contribution of this sector to pollution may be as high as 60-70% of all pollution globally.