Circularity helps SMEs Reach Climate Targets
By SMEunited- an R2Pi Consortium Partner
SMEunited supports the ambitious targets of the Paris agreement as decarbonizing the EU can only succeed by actively involving SMEs. In this context, a framework to incentivize the big bulk of SMEs to reduce their carbon print urgently needs to be implemented in order to ensure these businesses remain on the market as well as ensure growth and jobs. This framework should enhance the circular activities already performed by lots of SMEs both in the EU internal market and by exporting circular, eco-friendly products and services. Additionally, it should include information, technical assistance, easier access to finance for the upfront investments, reskilling and upskilling of the workforce as well as capacity building for SME organizations, particularly at local level.
The EU will only manage to keep its international commitments to fight climate change if the main drivers of competitiveness and prosperity, namely SMEs, are fully integrated. Many SMEs are already doing a lot to contribute to the EU adaptation and mitigation strategy by performing circular economy activities. For instance, SMEs are manufacturing and providing eco-friendly products and services, being active in the sustainable renovation of the existing building stock, and prolonging products life by repairing them and ensuring their maintenance.
The path to de-carbonization should also include international cooperation, increased policy coordination and public-private partnerships inside the EU as well as massive investments in innovation and R&D. If these conditions are satisfied and the long-term strategy for emissions reduction is plannable for SMEs, then no new intermediate reduction targets for 2030 will be necessary. Moreover, European SME-oriented innovative, sustainable and circular solutions should be promoted, and SMEs should be supported, particularly in their internationalization efforts to export eco-friendly products and services.
The 2050 long-term strategy can only succeed in turning the EU into a carbon-neutral economy if it results in a combination of the different scenarios and measures presented by the commission, including the one based on the circular economy, and on paying attention to technological neutrality. At the same time, it is of paramount importance that the EU remains an economic area attracting investors and able to compete with the rest of the world.