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SMEs Are Key To Reach Climate Targets

25 June 2019
by smeunited -- last modified 25 June 2019

Following the European Summit and ahead of the Energy and Environmental Councils, SMEunited reiterates its support for the ambitious targets of the Paris agreement.


SMEunited recalls that decarbonising the EU can only succeed by actively involving SMEs, which represent 99,8% of businesses. In this context, a framework to incentivise the big bulk of SMEs to reduce their carbon print urgently needs to be in place, while no new intermediate reduction targets are necessary if the long-term strategy allows SMEs to adapt.

"The EU will only manage to keep its international commitments to fight climate change if the main drivers of its competitiveness and prosperity, namely SMEs, are fully integrated", emphasised SMEunited President Ulrike Rabmer-Koller, referring to the conclusions of last week's European summit.

"SMEunited supports the ambitious objectives of the Paris Agreement and many SMEs are already doing a lot to contribute to the EU adaptation and mitigation strategy. For instance, by manufacturing and providing eco-friendly products and services as well as in the sustainable renovation of the existing building stock."

However, the right political and legislative framework must urgently be in place to allow a big bulk of SMEs to transition to carbon neutral business models. This includes information, technical assistance, easier access to finance for the upfront investments as well as reskilling and upskilling of their work force.

The path to decarbonisation should also include international cooperation, increased policy coordination and public-private partnerships inside the EU as well as massive investments in innovation and R&D.

"If these conditions are satisfied and the strategy is plannable for SMEs, then no new intermediate reduction targets are necessary. Europe provides a globally applicable blueprint of a sustainable economic model", she commented. "Moreover we should promote European innovative, sustainable solutions and provide support in particular to SMEs in their internationalisation efforts through international cluster cooperation and EU Green Tech Hubs in Third Countries."

On the EU long-term strategy 2050, she pointed out that "As clearly mentioned in our position paper, the long-term strategy can only succeed in turning the EU into a carbon-neutral economy if it is based on a combination of the different scenarios and measures presented by the Commission and on paying attention to technological neutrality. However, it is of paramount importance that the EU remain an economic area attracting investors and able to compete with the rest of the worldI"

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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