The European Commission is seeking stakeholders’ views on various resource efficiency aspects affecting SMEs, including how best to support SMEs in all sectors to become more resource efficient and to sell green products and services at an international level.

Resource efficiency is widely defined to mean the efficient use of energy, water and other natural resources, materials, the minimisation of waste, the selling of scrap material and recycling.

Along with the results of the Flash Eurobarometer 342 on “SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets”, the responses to the consultation will be used to inform and shape the forthcoming “Green Action Plan for SMEs”. 

Background and the Green Action Plan for SMEs

The Green Action Plan is part of a wider framework of policy and initiatives which stem from Europe’s 2020 Strategy and its “Roadmap to a Resource Efficient Europe”.

The European Commission is here recognising the importance of SMEs stating that they account for around 99% of all businesses in the EU. The European Commission’s belief is that in line with principles of European policy focussing on “Enabling SMEs to turn environmental challenges into business opportunities”, it is crucial to support SMEs to become key players in the transition to a resource-efficient, low-carbon economy.

The European Commission is concerned that not all European SMEs are sufficiently supported in implementing potential cost savings through better resource efficiency, leading, the European Commission says, to lower productivity and weakened competitiveness in Europe.

The Consultation

Respondents are asked to comment on, for example:

  • the ability to access finance for efficiency improvements (including whether perceived problems stem from, for example, a lack of understanding amongst lenders of resource efficiency investments or of tailored financing lines);
  • the effectiveness of existing services that aim to help improve resource efficiency; and
  • effective support actions to help SMEs to promote their green products and/or services in global markets.

The Consultation will run until 12th December 2013. The results and report on findings will be published in early 2014.

The Consultation and related resources are available here.