25 million: this is the number of SMEs within Europe. The figure reflects the significance of SMEs in the European scenario and their ability to inspire major economic decisions. Moreover, their cumulative environmental impact can significantly influence the effect businesses in the EU have on our environment and climate change. The European Green Deal established by the European Union recognises the key role SMEs can play in this transition towards a more sustainable future.
In a video interview, Simone Tagliapietra, Senior fellow at Bruegel (Brussels European and Global Economic Laboratory) as well as Adjunct Professor at the Università Cattolica del Sacro Cuore in Milan, walks us through the cornerstones upon which the European Green Deal (EGD) was first formed and outlines how decentralization and structuring of green policies are imperative to paving the way for eco-innovation.
The EGD seeks to achieve climate neutrality across Europe by 2050 by encouraging the adoption of environmental practices that promote low carbon emissions, a circular economy, and economic growth that does not jeopardise our ecosystem and natural resources.
The centralized approach was the starting point for the development of the green transition, meaning that most of the EU investments were initially directed mainly towards large-scale industries such as wind and solar energy projects. Over time, however, the importance of SMEs and the boost they can give to the sustainable transition process became evident, hence making the need to shift to a more decentralized approach crucial. This will allow SMEs to make the most of their flexibility and position themselves in the market as leaders in eco-innovation.
For SMEs to be able to continue to grow and offer a wide range of innovative and sustainable products and services, Member States of the EU must ensure that appropriate green industrial policies are put in place to further stimulate their onboarding in this sustainable journey.
Listen to Simone Tagliapietra’s words on the European Green Deal and discover why SMEs are key to Europe’s sustainable transition.