A study commissioned by Eurobarometer has found that 93 per cent of SMEs are taking at least one action to be more resource efficient.
The EU survey organisation in its SMEs, resource efficiency and green markets surveyed SMEs from across the EU, but also non-EU neighbouring countries and the United States and found that most are undertaking at least one resource efficient activity.
Minimising waste and saving energy were the most common action – both with 67 per cent involved with this, and saving materials was next with 59 per cent.
At least half are also recycling or reusing material or waste within the company or by saving water.
Medium-sized companies with 50 to 249 employees are most likely to be taking each kind of action, particularly saving energy (80 per cent versus 65 per cent to 69 per cent).
Eight out of ten SMEs are planning additional resource efficiency actions in the next two years, particularly energy saving (58 per cent) and minimising waste (56 per cent).
The majority of SMEs in the EU act to become more resource efficient in order to reduce costs (63 per cent), although 28 per cent say the environment is one of the top priorities for their company.
However, 55 per cent of businesses report difficulties when trying to set up resource efficiency actions, particularly complex legal or administrative procedures with manufacturing and industrial companies of a medium-size most likely to be affected.
For 42 per cent of SMEs, their production costs have decreased in the past two years as a result of resource efficiency, and this is an increase of seven percentage points on the 2012 study.
Just 26 per cent of the EU’s SMEs offer green products or services however, but a further 7 per cent are planning to do in the next two years.
The study was undertaken in September by TNS Political & Social network and published recently.