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EU commission to help small and medium-sized companies become greener

October 8, 2007

EU commission to help small and medium-sized companies become greener

Helping small and medium-seized companies use energy and resources efficiently is the aim of a recently published Commission Communication. It does this by providing a legal framework and measures that reinforce existing policies and initiatives in line with the particular characteristics of smaller companies. To this end the Communication proposes to create a programme to help small and medium-sized companies implement European environmental legislation.

The programme will channel financial resources towards support networks, simplify access to environmental management systems, and promote greater awareness of environmental issues among these companies.

Individual small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) employ less than 250 people, but the European Union's 23 million SMEs as a whole represent about 99% of all EU enterprises and 57% of the Union's total economic added value. Being responsible for such a large percentage of the EU economy's turnover the impact of SMEs on the environment is significant.

The Environmental Compliance Assistance Programme proposed by the Commission is a set of measures that aim to help SMEs minimise the environmental impact of their activities and to facilitate compliance with existing legislation. The Programme intends to reduce the burden of compliance by designing instruments and policies to integrate environmental concerns into the core of SME activities.

The measures presented in the Communication also cover the dissemination of information specifically targeted for SMEs, promoting support networks, and training activities that build local environmental expertise.

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