• Creating a sustainability network to support SMEs in their ecological and energy security

    Peter Sweatman, Author

    A stakeholder network can provide Spanish SMEs access to the tools to develop robust climate action plans

    Published in November 2023

    Spanish SMEs contribute 61.5% of Spain's gross value added, generate 62.89% of employment and account for 99.9% of the business fabric (a total of 2,926,955 companies). Clearly, mobilising and supporting the decarbonisation of SMEs is therefore essential to achieve the goal of net zero emissions in Spain and Europe by 2050, while ensuring a fair and stable economic and employment transition.

    The main challenge of mobilising decarbonisation in SMEs stems from their size, local dispersion and granularity - there are almost 3 million in diverse sectors and distributed across the different regions of Spain. Since 2022, we have engaged with over 90 business platforms from all Autonomous Communities and over a thousand SMEs (directly and indirectly) to understand the key levers to help address this challenge. Our main conclusion is the need to create a sustainability network of large companies, banks, business platforms, accountants, and public officials focused on providing local support to SMEs through access to climate training, tools to develop robust climate action plans and funding to implement them.

Our research shows that there is a significant coordination gap between these actors that needs to be filled with a national strategy where the public administration acts as the facilitator. To this end, the Pact Activating SMEs x CLIMATE and RESILIENCE was launched to create a sustainability network in Spain that connects these private and public sector actors.

Selected report’s key recommendations include:

  • Large companies: Develop climate activation and support programmes for SMEs in their supply chains. Establish a net zero emissions plan by 2050 in its supply chain and integrate mandatory sustainable procurement criteria to meet these targets.
  • Banks: Advance sectoral decarbonisation and sustainable financing processes by supporting them in the development of climate tools for SMEs.Promote the development of new sectoral technologies for estimating the carbon footprint of SMEs integrated into assessments of new financing flows.
  • Business platforms: Cooperate with the local administration to integrate a sustainability programme. The focus is on awareness-raising, technical advice and incentives for SMEs
  • Colleges of economists and accountants: Integrate research, outreach and training activities on carbon accounting into the curricula of territorial economists' colleges. Promote the development of interoperable and standardised carbon accounting tools in Spain in cooperation with technology providers.
  • Public administration: Develop a national SME climate mobilisation strategy with the aim of proactively coordinating local actors through a public platform to facilitate access to resources, knowledge and finance

Milestones include:

  • On November 17th 2023, Climate Strategy launched the pact “Activating SMEs x CLIMATE and RESILIENCE” and presented the results of the report at an event held in the Madrid International Lab. The event’s participants included: Eduardo González, deputy director of mitigation and technology of the Spanish Climate Change Office; Rubén Pinel, Responsible for Sustainability of Comisiones Obreras (CCOO); and Álvaro Colino, Responsible Business Director of CaixaBank among others.
  • On December 4th 2023, Climate Strategy’s Climate Policy Researcher Adriana Rodríguez, moderated the side event “Leadership for Inclusive Climate Action” in the Spanish Pavilion at the United Nation’s COP28 in in Dubai, the United Arab Emirates, where she mentioned the findings of the report. Watch the clip here.

Supported by: