Perceived enablers and barriers impacting sustainability of small‐and‐medium sized enterprises: A quantitative analysis in four European countries

Andreas Moursellas, Chrisovalantis Malesios*, Antonios Skouloudis, Konstantinos Evangelinos, Prasanta Kumar Dey

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Small and medium‐sized enterprises (SMEs) often lag behind major corporations in implementing sustainability management practices, limiting their capacity to mitigate negative social and environmental impacts. A notable challenge is the lower percentage of SMEs with sustainability objectives. This research aims to examine the links among sustainability practices and performance of European SMEs. In addition, the causal relationships between enablers/barriers for sustainability practices are also examined. To achieve these objectives, a quantitative research approach was employed. Data were collected from 420 SMEs located in the United Kingdom, France, Spain, and Greece using a structured questionnaire. Statistical modeling and inference were used to analyze the responses, separately for each of the four countries. The study revealed several significant findings. Strong relationships were identified between enablers/barriers and sustainability practices. The study found consistent links between supply chain sustainability practices and SME performance across all participating countries. The research highlighted similarities and differences in findings across various economies and geographical regions. The study's findings have important implications; For policymakers insights from this research can inform policy decisions aimed at promoting sustainability among SMEs, thus contributing to broader social and environmental goals. For SME owners and managers the findings offer guidance for improving sustainable performance through operational, planning, and strategic decisions. Policymakers should consider initiatives that encourage SMEs to adopt sustainability practices. SME owners and managers should prioritize supply chain sustainability and work on overcoming barriers identified in this study. Further research should explore specific strategies for enhancing sustainability practices in different regions and economies.
Original languageEnglish
JournalEnvironmental Quality Management
Early online date26 Oct 2023
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 26 Oct 2023

Bibliographical note

Copyright © 2023, The Authors. Environmental Quality Management published by Wiley Periodicals LLC. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License [], which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


  • economic
  • environmental
  • sustainability
  • SMEs
  • performance aspects
  • Europe
  • practices
  • enablers
  • barriers
  • social


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