Dubai: Nearly half (44 per cent) of mid-market enterprises (MMEs) in the UAE, see a direct connection between sustainable business practices and commercial success, according to data from HSBC Commercial Banking.

Many MMEs report that their customers are a factor, with 41 per cent in the UAE saying their customers are demanding products that consider environmental and social impacts. More than one third (36 per cent) of the country’s MMEs view having an ethical impact on the community and environment as one of their top three long-term objectives. This is ahead of the global figure of 30 per cent.

The top two sustainability measures MMEs in the UAE plan to implement in the next three years are transparently communicating contribution toward ethical goals to senior management (62 per cent), and setting targets and making progress towards employment diversity goals (61 per cent). Almost a quarter (23 per cent) will prioritise investment to become more sustainable over the next three years.

HSBC polled more than 1,400 decision-makers of mid-market enterprises — defined as companies with between 200 and 2,000 employees — across 14 countries, including the UAE.

“Businesses have an important role to play in building a sustainable future, and with small and medium sized enterprises forming a signification proportion of the UAE’s economy, it is positive to see the importance MME’s are placing on sustainability. This tallies closely with discussions we have with our customers, who clearly state that incorporating sustainability measures into their strategic objectives will be of increasing importance in the medium to long-term,” said Naser Al Ali, Head of Client Coverage UAE, HSBC Commercial Banking.

Global results show that MME companies in India (68 per cent), Saudi Arabia (66 per cent) and Canada (66 per cent) are the most likely to recognise this commercial benefit. Almost a third (30 per cent) of companies also believe that becoming a more sustainable business will contribute to improving their financial performance over the next three years.

On average, only 18 per cent of MMEs rated sustainable actions as important to their business today, however nearly half (46 per cent) said they are important to them in the short to medium term (next three years).

An important area businesses can address now to become more sustainable is to find operational efficiencies in their supply chains. Almost half (47 per cent) of leaders identify this as a contributor to their company’s financial performance over the next three years.