Author: sEaNERGIA Baltic Cluster
Small and medium enterprises (SMEs) form the backbone of the European economy according to Lana Zutelija, a Policy Officer in the Sustainable Production, Products and Consumption Unit of the Directorate-General for Environment of the European Commission. SMEs also provide great potential for transformative changes towards green growth. A circular economy creates opportunities for new business models, for example in relation to the sharing economy and in the development of new repair and reuse services. Resource efficiency is a source of reduction in production costs and is also a buffer against increasing risk from volatile resource prices and diminishing security of resource supplies. Unfortunately, many SMEs lack an understanding of the need for and benefits of such a change. In response to this need, the European Commission actively promotes resource efficiency, circular economy, eco-innovation and participation in green markets among SMEs with targeted communications, support and funding. The aim is to make SMEs better-placed to engage in and benefit from the transition. The flagship initiative for this is the EU’s Green Action Plan for SMEs (GAP) that has been implemented since 2014. It includes 34 actions at the European level on capacity building, promotion and financing that focus on resource efficiency and relate to the circular economy. For example, a Resource Efficiency Excellence Centre for SMEs will be set up in 2017 to provide training, capacity building and information materials for SMEs and national support organisations.
 Advancing the circular economy in Asia (Winter 2016/2017), the SWITCH-Asia Network Facility, p. 9