An international research program on sustainability and corporate social responsibility in SMEs.
Un programme de recherche international sur le développement durable et la responsabilité sociale d’entreprise en PME.
Un programa de investigación internacional sobre el desarrollo sostenible y la responsabilidad social en las PYME.
البرنامج الدولي للبحث حول التنمية المستدامة والمسؤولية الاجتماعية للمقاولات الصغرى والمتوسطة


In the past few years, the advancement of academic research on sustainable development (SD) for businesses has been significant. Although these studies deal primarily with large firms, interest in small and medium size entreprises (SMEs) is increasing for two main reasons. On the one hand, because of their sheer number, SMEs have major environmental, economic, societal and social impact. On the other hand, their managerial characteristics call for a special approach to tackle SD challenges that cannot be dealt with in the same way as in large firms.

Nevertheless, scholarly works on SD in the context of SMEs remain limited, mainly because these studies are carried out on national samples while the economic, institutional and socio-cultural environments of businesses may signifcantly influence their involvement in sustainable processes and practices.


The objective of the International observatory on sustainable development in SMEs ® is to develop, based on data collected in several countries, seminal knowledge concerning SMEs involvement in SD practices and to identify ways to support them effectively on the SD path. Hence, the following research questions have been developed:

  • What are the factors that facilitate the integration of an SD philosophy in SMEs owner-managers’ frame of mind;
  • How is this philosophy implemented into managerial practices?;
  • What are the consequences on SMEs measures of overall performance (economic, social and environmental)?

Scholarly activities

Scholarly works are based on various studies administered on SMEs, using both quantitative and qualitative methodologies > See the achievements.

The Observatory is presently conducting an international study in approximatively ten countries.


The Observatory was created by LabEx Entreprendre, a research laboratory specialised in entrepreneurship and SMEs and located within the Montpellier Management Institute at the University of Montpellier (France), in partnership with the Telfer School of Management (University of Ottawa, Ottawa, Canada) and the Research Laboratory on Sustainable Development in SMEs (INRPME, University of Quebec in Trois-Rivières, Quebec, Canada).

The international study has been administered in collaboration with researchers from about ten countries. > See network members.


The International observatory on sustainable development in SMEs ® is supported financially by both public and private institutions in the various countries where network members are present. > See support.


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