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Flash Eurobarometer on SMEs: Resource efficiency pays off

Flash Eurobarometer on SMEs: Resource efficiency pays off
Published on: 01/12/2015
Four out of ten SMEs say resource efficiency actions have decreased production costs over the last two years, according to a new Eurobarometer survey on green markets and resource efficiency.

This new Eurobarometer survey of 2015 gives a picture of how businesses in the EU, neighbouring countries and the US are reacting to the green market and resource efficiency.

According to the survey, cost efficiency is still the biggest reason for undertaking resource efficiency actions. And resource efficiency pays off: 4 out of 10 SMEs say that resource efficiency actions have cut production costs in the last two years. 8 out of 10 are also satisfied with the return on their resource efficiency investments.

However, SMEs are reducing their efforts to be resource efficient. In 2013, 93% of SMEs reported that they had taken at least one action to be more resource efficient, whereas in 2015 only 87% reported the same. 1 in 4 businesses reported that they are not planning to implement any resource efficiency actions in the next two years, an increase of 8 percentage points compared to 2013.

Key findings

  • 87% of SMEs have taken at least one action to be more resource efficient (down from 93% in 2013).
  • SMEs are now more likely to say that the environment is a top priority for their company (39%, +11 percentage points from 2013.). Still cost saving is still the most mentioned reason for undertaking resource efficiency actions.
  • 40% of SMEs in the survey say that resource efficiency actions have decreased production costs over the last two years.
  • 8 in 10 of businesses are satisfied with the return on their resource efficiency investments.
  • The most popular actions are minimising waste (60%), saving energy (59%) and saving materials (54%), although the proportion of SMEs mentioning these have declined since the last survey in 2013.

Green services and environmental requirements

Around a quarter of SMEs offer green products or services and 7% are planning to do so in the next two years. The main market of SMEs for green products and services remains the national market. Though almost one fifth mention the region encompassing the European Union, Iceland, Lichtenstein, Norway and Switzerland.

Only 11% of SMEs have bid for a public procurement tender that included environmental requirements in the last two years. Of them, about half succeeded, and most encountered no problems during the bidding procedure. However, 40% of those that mentioned difficulties complained about the amount of paperwork.

Background

The Eurobarometer survey was conducted 1 - 18 September 2015 by TNS Political & Social network, in the 28 EU countries, plus Albania, Iceland, FYROM, Moldova, Montenegro, Norway, Serbia, Turkey and USA. More than 13,000 enterprises were interviewed by telephone on behalf of the European Commission, DG Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

More information

The Eurobarometer 2015: SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets

Infographic (2 MB, pdf)