Small enterprises: Shift to green economy underway, but not at full speed yet
Brussels, March 2012. – According to the Eurobarometer survey on "SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets" published today, 37% of EU SMEs have at least one full or part-time green employee. Green jobs are largely created in SMEs as opposed to large firms: In 2012, 1 in 8 employees of small and medium-sized firms had a green job or almost 13% of all SME jobs (in large firms it was only 1 in 33 equivalent to 3% of all large company jobs). Green jobs in SMEs are also estimated to expand dynamically with a rate of 35% in the next 2 years.
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."