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Championing sustainable energy in SMEs

Policy brief
By Platform

Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) are the backbone of Europe’s economy, making up 99% of businesses and two-thirds of private-sector employment. They have a significant impact on the economy and the environment, but their fragmentation makes their low-carbon transition a particular challenge.  

SMEs face a significant number of barriers to investing in energy efficiency and sustainable energy measures including low awareness, risk-avoidant culture, a lack of expertise, personnel and time, and low availability of capital and access to finance. However, SMEs must overcome these barriers to meet carbon emissions targets and limit global warming, opening space for the public sector to support the transition. 

Making use of European support there are a wide number of possible policy interventions that states and regions can make to overcome barriers. Successful programmes and initiatives can help on creating a framework to guide SMEs which includes raising awareness, supporting SMEs to assess their energy use, identifying suitable changes to be made, guiding SMEs through the planning and contracting stages, and supporting with access to finance. 

Improving the energy performance of SMEs can make a significant contribution to fighting climate change, but that is not the only benefit. Sustainable energy use will also help to avoid pollution improving air quality, and protect the environment, and in the long-term, efficiency measures also contribute to energy security and boost competitiveness. 

To know more about how SMEs can overcome barriers to investing in energy efficiency and sustainable energy, explore the policy brief on championing sustainable energy in SMEs.  

Energy efficiency