The results of a Eurobarometer survey published this week show that small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) are increasingly becoming more resource efficient. The survey, ‘SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets’ was carried out by the European Commission in September and it is the second survey of its kind. Read more…
Over 11,000 businesses took part in this year’s survey which was conducted in the 28 European Union (EU) Member States as well as in Albania, Iceland, Liechtenstein, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro, Norway, the Republic of Serbia, Turkey, Israel and the United States of America.
With 98% of all European businesses being classed as SMEs, they are key to Europe’s growth and sustainability. According to the survey, over 90% of SMEs are taking steps towards becoming more resource efficient, with 67% practising waste minimisation, 67% saving energy and 59% saving materials. More than half are recycling and re-using materials and water, while 42% have at least one employee responsible for environmental matters, which represents a 5% increase from 2012. Interestingly, the increase is mainly happening in SMEs that do not directly offer green products and services, but are striving to become more resource efficient due to the increased costs of energy and materials.
Just over a quarter of EU SMEs offer green products or services, with a further 7% planning to do so in the next two years. Half of these offer environmentally friendly products and services, 35% incorporate or offer recycled material and 19% work in solid waste management. The main sectors where green products or services are found are construction, food and drink, and electronic and mechanical machinery and equipment.
According to the SMEs surveyed, policy can help boost green growth and environmental performance. Financial incentives to support investment in resource efficiency and green products or services, and advice and guidance were reported to be key in accelerating progress.
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