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European SMEs getting greener

Staff writer |
Compared to last year, European SMEs are becoming more resource efficient and are contributing substantially to the transition towards a low-carbon economy, according to the results of the 2013 Eurobarometer survey on "SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets".

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For example, the survey shows that 42% of EU SMEs now have at least one full or part-time green employee, a 5% increase from 2012 which exceeds the expectations set by businesses almost two years ago.

Furthermore, more than nine in ten SMEs are taking at least one action to be more resource efficient and the level of their efforts has increased since last year. The most common actions are minimising waste (67%), saving energy (67%) and saving materials (59%). At least half are also recycling by reusing material or waste within the company, or by saving water (both 51%).

Half of European SMEs active in green markets offer products and services with environmental features such as organic production and eco-labelling or eco-design (51%). More than one third (35%) offer products or services in the area of recycled material - 6% more than in 2012. Construction, food & beverages and electronic & mechanical machinery and equipment are still the most commonly sold green products and services.

European Commission Vice-President Antonio Tajani, responsible for Industry and Entrepreneurship said: "I am happy to see that European SMEs are taking on this huge challenge of moving to a greener economy. However, we need to give them more support in their efforts, so they can take advantage of the untapped possibilities for reducing costs, boosting revenues and creating more green jobs. The survey also shows that the United States SMEs are catching up quickly, so there is no room for complacency."

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