The European Commission has published the results of a recent survey entitled, “SMEs, resource efficiency & green markets.” The survey reveals that small businesses across the EU are set to become the backbone of a green economy.  

As it stands, 93 percent of EU SMEs indicate that they are undertaking at least one action to be more resource efficient. In comparison to large companies, SMEs are more likely to save energy, minimise their waste and recycle in order to save resources.

Over the next two years 80 percent of SMEs plan to implement additional resource efficiency actions. However, 79 percent of those that are not currently taking any measures have no intention of implementing any action in the future.

The survey also reveals that just over a quarter of EU SMEs offer green products or services. However, three in five SMEs currently don’t offer any green products or services. Food and beverages (25 percent) and electronic machinery and equipment (23 percent) are the most commonly sold green products and services among SMEs.

Half of the SMEs that already offer green products or services indicate that financial incentives for developing products, services or new production processes would be the best way to help the expansion of their range of green products or services.

The report shows that SMEs decision to sell green products or services is largely shaped by customer demand. Conversely, the main reason for not offering green products or services cited that it does not fit or is not important for the SME’s image.

Reacting to the results of the survey, the Vice President of the European Commission, Antonio Tajani, urged SMEs in Europe to do more to support the continent in reaching stringent environmental targets.   

Tajani told the Guardian: “It is of huge importance that we bring small businesses forward in promoting green jobs, green products and services and in reducing their environmental impact. We cannot achieve our environmental goals without a strong focus on small and medium-sized companies. There is huge untapped potential which will pay off with more innovation, more competitive SMEs and more jobs.”

Tajani added: “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.”

In the UK, 37 percent of full-time SME employees are directly involved in green jobs. Over the next to years almost 40 percent of SME employees are predicted to work a green job across the entire EU.

The full results of the survey can be read here.