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SMEs are key to a greener Europe

27 November 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 27 November 2019

Today SMEunited together with the European Commission is organising a workshop on the Green Deal and SMEs in Helsinki during the 2019 SME Assembly.


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SMEs play a pivotal role for any strategy aimed at making the EU more sustainable and need to be taken on board. EU policy makers should remove the main barriers and create an enabling framework both for eco-friendly and traditional SMEs facilitating their transition towards greener, more sustainable and circular business models.

"The upcoming Green and Fair New Deal is the best chance to provide the framework allowing SMEs to fully unleash their potential in the fight against climate change and for a greener economy!", announced President Rabmer-Koller ahead of the workshop "SME Green Deal: Opportunities for SMEs in Greener Value Chains" co-organised by SMEunited and the Commission on the 26th of November in Helsinki during the 2019 SME Assembly.

"SMEs are not part of the problem, but one of the main keys on Europe's path to sustainability. Due to their role as main source of growth, jobs, social cohesion, no strategy involving massive societal changes, such as the achievement of climate-neutrality and circularity, is going to be successful without SMEs!" reiterated President Rabmer-Koller.

Finally, the President recalled "If we want to ensure that the Green Deal creates an enabling environment for SMEs for becoming greener and thus for Europe for reaching the climate and sustainability goals, we should focus on the following 3 key factors: innovation, investments and information."

  • Innovation is a precondition for developing new technologies and solutions for becoming more resource-efficient and carbon-neutral. In this context, the Green Deal will have to make sure that eco-friendly SMEs keep innovating and successfully develop new technologies to give the EU a competitive edge worldwide. At the same time, it will have to provide the right framework for the big bulk of traditional SMEs to move to more circular and carbon-neutral options.
  • Investments in modern infrastructure (energy and transport networks) but also in reskilling and upskilling of workforce are essential for supporting the transition towards a more sustainable business model. In addition, SMEs require easier access to finance for the upfront investments.
  • Information is crucial for awareness-raising among not only businesses but also consumers to provide incentives for changes in behaviour. Information also includes technical assistance, as well as capacity building of SME organisations, particularly at local level, in order to turn them into a one-stop-shop orienting SMEs towards circularity and sustainability.

The workshop starts with Dr Janez Potocnik, Co-chair of the International Resource Panel of UNEP and former Environment Commissioner, who will set the scene on the negative trends of climate change, loss of biodiversity and overexploitation of resources worldwide.

Mrs. Malgorzata Kicia from DG Environment will concentrate on the reasons why the Green and Fair New Deal should focus on SMEs. Out of their entrepreneurial experience, Mr. Jamie Crummie, Director and Co-founder of "Too Good to Go" and Mr. Siva Parlar, Co-founder and CEO of AT Vöner, will explain the challenges and opportunities for entrepreneurs when going green and growing in this sector.

SMEunited is the association of Crafts and SMEs in Europe with around 70 member organisations from over 30 European countries. SMEunited represents national cross-sectoral Craft and SME federations, European SME branch organisations and associate members. Combined, it represents more than 12 million enterprises with around 55 million employees across Europe. SMEunited is also a recognised employers' organisation and European Social Partner. SMEunited was formally known as UEAPME.

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