The regional meeting “Greening Small and Medium-sized Enterprises in the Eastern Partnership Countries” took place virtually on 29-30 June 2021.
On Day 1 the participants discussed how the EaP governments and EU4environment support green SMEs. Day 2 was dedicated to the progress and enterprises’ perspectives in greening SMEs.
Meeting objectives, expected outputs and outcomes
- Government representatives from the Eastern Partnership countries shared ongoing work on supporting green SMEs, including new plans and policies, and examples of projects supported by the EU4Environment programme.
- Representatives from the manufacturing sector and business support organizations of the EaP region provided insights into issues of efficient use of resources in manufacturing processes and business perspectives of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) with regards to the reflection of Circular Economy, Paris Agreement and Green Deal-related initiatives in national support programs, initiatives and business practices.
- SMEs from the EaP region and from EU member states shared experiences, lessons learned and best practices in reviewing their value chains and business strategies with the aim of improving their socio-environmental performance and overall competitiveness. Government stakeholders also discussed the challenges and opportunities for promoting eco-innovation among SMEs in their respective countries, as well as how these can inform/guide the activities of the EU4Environment programme.
The meeting gathered governments representatives from Eastern Partnership countries, representatives from the manufacturing sector, SMEs from the EaP region and the EU member states, OECD member countries, and international organisations.
Although the individual environmental footprint of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) may be low, they constitute the vast majority of businesses and their aggregate impact is considerable.
In the European Union ‘s Eastern Partnership (EaP) countries, efforts have been ongoing to support the “greening” of SMEs, i.e. reducing their environmental impacts while improving productivity growth. These efforts have continued during the COVID-19 pandemic bringing meaningful results. There is a growing number of examples of reforming the regulatory frameworks that promote better environmental management by SMEs and adopting more sustainable business models and practices by individual companies.
Session 1: Progress on policies to green SMEs in the EaP countries
SME Policy Index: Eastern Partner Countries 2020 (Daniel Quadbeck, OECD)
Greening-SMEs-EaP-region-SMEPI-2020 (Guy Halpern, OECD)
Session 2: A holistic approach to supporting Green SMEs
SMEs Greening Program in the Republic of Moldova (Ion Lica, ODIMM)
Session 3: Regulatory approaches to support SMEs
General Binding Rules for the Poultry Sector in Georgia (Eileen O’Leary, Clean Technology Centre, Ireland)
Regulatory approaches to support SMEs General Binding Rules for poultry sector in Georgia (Ms. Nino Obolashvili, MEPA)
Session 4: Introduction to the eco-innovation and Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production (RECP) approaches – theory, practice and perspectives under the EU4Environment programme
What is eco-innovation? What is its relevance for SMEs in global crises? (Vardan Melikyan, International eco-innovation expert)
Resource Efficient and Cleaner Production: a tool for sustainable industrial development (Carolina Gonzalez, UNIDO)
Differences and complementarities of RECP and eco-innovation approaches (Bettina Heller, UNEP)
Session 5: Eco-innovation in SMEs, best practices and lessons learned
Eco-innovation in SMEs, best practices and lessons learned: Palin Construct SRL (brand name Tehnoprofil) (Inna Alovatskaia, Republic of Moldova)
Eco-innovation in SMEs, best practices and lessons learned: Schijvens Corporate Fashion (Shirley Rijnsdorp-Schijvens, the Netherlands)
Session 7. From RECP to Circular Economy: introducing principles and practices
Eco-industrial parks feasibility study in conditions of free economic zones of Belarus (Siarhei Darozhka, RECP, Senior National Consultant, Belarus)
Session 8: SME development in the region, and next steps to support their greening
OECD SME and Entrepreneurship analysis since the start of the pandemic (Stephan Raes, OECD)