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Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs
Press release28 March 2022Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs1 min read

Eurobarometer: EU SMEs working towards sustainability

The 2022 edition of the Eurobarometer on small and medium enterprises (SMEs), resource efficiency and green markets published today, reveals that EU SMEs have already undertaken substantive actions to transition their business operations towards environmental sustainability.

In fact, according to the Eurobarometer on small and medium enterprises, 89% of SMEs are taking at least one of the actions listed in the survey to become more resource-efficient, for example by using predominantly renewable energy, recycling or minimising waste. Amongst other areas, the survey looks into the barriers SMEs encounter and the potential of policy measures to speed-up SMEs' green transition. These results will feed into the Commission's efforts to help SMEs become greener, in line with the SME strategy and the updated EU Industrial Strategy.

The survey shows that 24% of EU SMEs already have a concrete plan in place to reduce the carbon-footprint of their business and that a third (32%) have green products in their product range. Compared to the 2018 edition of the Eurobarometer, SMEs are slowly improving their sustainability on most fronts. While this is a solid basis to start from, given the time pressure posed by the dynamics of climate change, the ongoing transition of SMEs needs to be boosted.

When asked which support measures would help their company the most to be more resource efficient, over a third of SMEs (36%) indicated financial support by grants or subsidies and about a quarter (26%) pointed to better cooperation between companies across sectors, so that new processes to reuse waste and by-products can be developed.

The EU counts 23 million SMEs, employing around 100 million people and accounting for more than half of Europe's GDP. However, their collective share in total emissions is high, at 63% of all CO2 emissions by companies.

The Commission is helping SMEs in their transition to greener practices through a range of measures such as the sustainability advisors of the Enterprise Europe Network, the work of the Transition Pathways across the industrial ecosystems and facilitating access to finance through the InvestEU Programme. In addition, the National Recovery and Resilience Plans also include measures and funds to support directly and indirectly greater SME sustainability.

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