Eco-innovation for SME

Eco-innovation matters in two ways for small and medium-sized companies (SMEs).

  • More than 99% of European Union companies are SMEs, covering all sectors, including crafts, manufacturers and retailers.
  • SMEs are responsible for two-thirds of private sector employment, and about 60% of EU GDP.

Spreading eco-innovative approaches throughout small and medium-sized companies could reap wide-ranging benefits.

  • Many SMEs could benefit by introducing eco-innovative approaches into their operations.
  • SMEs, and especially start-ups, can be the ideal incubators for eco-innovation, and can bring to market new, less environmentally damaging products, services and processes.

The European Union funded project, the SPIN project (Sustainable Production Through Innovation In SMEs) worked on mechanisms for exchanging knowledge about eco-innovation between SMEs in the Baltic region.   During the course of SPIN, the project partners were able to learn more about the barriers that prevent more SMEs from introducing eco-innovative approaches and realise SMEs have a need to be as sustainable as possible.

Eco-innovation is also important for SMEs is by providing a market opportunity for entrepreneurs.

  • Smaller companies are often the best placed to identify a specific market demand and develop a new approach.
  • Unlike large companies, they are not committed to legacy technologies and do not have existing markets to protect.
  • Some small companies then grow into huge companies that revolutionise the way business is done – which can be at the core of eco-innovation.
  • Entrepreneurs also respond to market demand, and the demand for eco-innovative or sustainable products, services and processes is growing, meaning great opportunities for start-ups and small companies that offer genuine green innovations.


ECOS Environmental Consultants Limited