CNI: small industries will invest more in sustainability

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Most small industries (55%) intend to invest more in the next two years in the implementation of sustainable actions, for a transition to a low carbon economy. For others (37%) the resources should remain at the same level as the current ones and only 4% said that this investment should be reduced.

The data are from a survey by the National Confederation of Industry (CNI) with the FSB Institute, which assessed the vision of these industries on sustainability. According to the organization, in some aspects, small industries are advanced. Even amidst the Covid-19 pandemic and the economic crisis, 20% of small industrial businesses increased their investment in this type of action.

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Actions to avoid wasting energy and water are already adopted by 90% and 89% of companies of this size, respectively. Solid waste management is a reality in 85% of businesses.

According to the survey, three out of four (76%) executives claim that the industrial sector, considering the business environment in Brazil today, sees the sustainability issue as an opportunity. And for almost a third of them, the sustainability agenda involves more opportunities than risks. Only 22% said that there are more risks than opportunities or just risks.

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For CNI, the data show that small industries are aware of the importance of implementing concrete sustainability actions in their production processes, in line with the strategy taken by the entity to the 26th United Nations Conference on Climate Change (COP26), which it took place from November 1st to November 12th, in Glasgow, Scotland. In this sense, the CNI highlights that there is no longer any space for the “false divergence” between development and conservation of the environment.

For 16% of the executives consulted, financing sustainable actions and raising awareness in society should be priorities for the government. For 71% of representatives of small industries in Brazil, it is up to the government, in addition to controlling, to encourage companies to follow environmental rules.

Reasons for investments

The two main reasons that lead small industries to invest in sustainability are their reputation with society and consumers (40%) and compliance with regulatory requirements, which also accounted for 40% of the responses. The cost reduction, with 36%, and the increase in competitiveness, with 34%, complete the list of items that most encourage entrepreneurs to adopt the sustainable agenda.

On the other hand, the lack of culture focused on the subject (46%) and the lack of government incentives (45%) are pointed out as the main obstacles.

The survey also shows that only 36% of small industrial companies have already had, as a supplier, any requirement for a certificate or environmentally sustainable action as a criterion for hiring by customers. The index is even lower (24%) when the analysis focuses on the requirement by small industries of sustainable criteria for hiring suppliers. The percentage of companies that have stopped selling a product for not having some certification or following some sustainability action required by the market drops by half: 12%.


According to the CNI, despite the positive indicators, 79% of respondents admit that they are little or not familiar with the acronym ESG. environmental, social and governance) used to designate sustainability actions based on the environmental, social and governance pillars. “Even little or no familiarity with the topic, 81% of business leaders say ESG is important or very important,” says the survey.

In terms of organizational structure, only 21% of companies have a formal area to deal with the sustainability issue. Of these, just under half, 10% of all small companies, give financial autonomy to this area.

Another point of attention for CNI concerns its strategy and the establishment of sustainability goals: only 22% of the companies interviewed claim to have goals.

The FSB Pesquisa Institute interviewed, by telephone, executives from 500 small industrial companies, in proportional numbers in all Brazilian states. The interviews were conducted between October 13 and 27, 2021. Due to rounding, the sum of the percentages can vary from 99% to 101%.

Reference: CNN Brasil

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