SMEs engagement with the Sustainable Development Goals: A power perspective

Hannah Smith, Roberta Discetti, Marco Bellucci, Diletta Acuti

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Citations (SciVal)


The Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) are a call to action for governments, companies and communities to rebalance the relationship between the economy, the environment and society. Although companies represent a vital partner in achieving the SDGs, the discussion about the involvement of Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) in such goals is scarce. Drawing upon the ‘powercube’ approach, this research investigates what sustainable development means to SMEs, how they view the SDGs and why they engage – or do not engage – with such goals. Sixteen face-to-face interviews were conducted within rural and urban locations in the UK. The results show that although SMEs are interested in sustainable development, power dynamics impede their understanding and implementation of SDGs guidelines. This research offers to SME managers actionable insights on SDGs’ implementation strategies and it provides a research agenda on how institutions and stakeholders can facilitate SMEs adoption of SDGs.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)112-122
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Business Research
Early online date18 May 2022
Publication statusPublished - 31 Oct 2022


  • SDGs
  • SMEs
  • Sustainable development
  • Powercube analysis
  • Interviews


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