Small enterprises: Shift to green economy underway, but not at full speed yet

The Eurobarometer survey also reveals other sources of untapped potential which could be used by SMEs. For example, less than a quarter of SMEs take advantage of the single market for green products or services. Bureaucracy is considered as one of the obstacles: 20% of SMEs says that it would be easier to do green investments if cross-border administrative and legal procedures were not so complex.

SMEs in green industries are also maturing. Three in five (61%) SMEs selling green products or services have been active in green markets for more than three years compared to 52% in the US. Food and beverages (25%) and electronic and mechanical machinery and equipment (23%) are the most commonly sold green products and services by SMEs in the EU.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship unveiling today the Eurobarometer results said: “I am happy to see that SMEs are taking on this huge untapped potential which will pay off with more innovation, more competitive SMEs and more jobs. However, there is still a lot of work to do. Only very few European SMEs extend their green business to foreign markets. Knowing that the EU makes up roughly one third of the world market for environmental industries this reveals a huge potential for SMEs to grow.

Green SMEs: Strong at home, but weak abroad 

Green markets (1) for SMEs in the EU remain mainly domestic. 87% of SMEs involved in green business (or the green economy) operate in their national markets. Just below a quarter of SMEs report that they exploit the opportunities of the Single Market. With BRIC countries (2) estimated to account for about 60% of world GDP by 2030, only 3% of SMEs in the EU adventure themselves to sell their green products or services in Asia and the South Pacific and a mere 2% in Latin America.

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