Assoc. Prof. Vivien Csapi, PhD

Vivien Csapi PhD has been a lecturer at the Faculty of Business and Economics of the University of Pécs since 2008, associate professor since 2021, Head of the Finance and Accounting Department of the Faculty, and head of the ESG Finance Research Group since 2022. She defended her doctoral thesis on the application of real option theory to energy investment with a focus on energy system optimization in 2013. As a researcher, she has been involved in the largest competitiveness research in Hungary; real option research on corporate social responsibility; research on mapping the entrepreneurial orientation of university students. In recent years she has been researching the financial, corporate and SME aspects of the ESG phenomenon. Her research collaborations build on research links with Croatian, Dutch and American researchers. She is a dedicated mentor and co-author of her PhD students, committed to continuous curriculum development to improve students’ hard and soft skills and to translate research results into practice.

Planery Invited Lecture: Assessing SMEs’ Awareness and Attitudes Towards Sustainability

Domestic small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) play a crucial role in value chains by providing information and making strategic decisions on sustainability. Developing an environmental, social, and governance (ESG) strategy enables the organization to showcase its commitment to sustainability, assess the potential risks and opportunities associated with sustainability, and enhance stakeholder value creation. The fundamental components of ESG strategy development, as per worldwide and European Union benchmarks, encompass establishing governance roles, formulating a strategy statement, implementing risk management measures, and identifying objectives along with their corresponding key performance indicators. The research aims to examine the specific sustainability factors deemed significant by participants in the domestic small and medium-sized enterprise sector, in relation to their operations.

Within the scope of the presentation, an ESG materiality index will be presented specifically designed for SMEs. This index will assign weights to key performance indicators (KPIs) associated with the ESG pillars based on awareness frequency and attitude criteria. Awareness relates to the comprehension of sustainability and ESG, without of any particular judgment or assessment. It just involves acknowledging the existence of these matters. On the other hand, an attitude refers to a fixed mindset toward environmental, social, and governance topics, which is usually manifested in the behaviour of an SME. Attitudes can be categorized as positive or negative, stimulating behaviour and impacting choices and decisions. Using these weights, the sustainability characteristics that are deemed significant by domestic SMEs will be identified and emphasized. The research findings can provide policymakers with insights into the readiness and knowledge of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) and the necessity of influencing their attitudes towards adoption. This will enable policymakers to implement focused measures to facilitate a smooth and sustainable transition. SMEs can utilize the results to benefit since they must comply with the regulations. Having a prepared mindset to adjust internally to the transition is crucial for successful implementation.