Moving towards a circular economy: Challenges and opportunities for SMEs
CEPS is one of six members of a consortium responsible for coordinating GreenEcoNet, (www.greeneconet.eu) the first global platform to support SMEs in the transition to a Green Economy, Funded by the European Commission, the project aims to accelerate the uptake of green business practices across Europe. The circular economy was the topic of the GreenEcoNet) Final Conference, which took place at CEPS on May 26th. The Conference featured three different sessions, the first of which dealt with the key results of the GreenEcoNet project and their implications for policy-making in the EU. The second session brought together SMEs and SME networks to discuss the barriers preventing SMEs from implementing circular economy business models. These include insufficient capital, a lack of visibility, difficulties in identifying the first customer, problems in communicating with big companies and banks and inadequate government support. Conversely, among the key enablers are participation in communities committed to the principles and practices of the Green Economy and personal dedication of SME owners and management. The third session focused on the Circular Economy Package recently launched by the European Commission and its impacts on SMEs. Participants from the business sector emphasised that the Package is a solid step in the right direction but careful consideration should be given to its implications for SMEs. The need for more regulatory certainty regarding future policies and attention to how they are translated in business terms was also highlighted during the discussions.