By Gemma Childe on 10th Apr 2012
Green jobs are mainly created in small to medium-sized enterprises, according to a survey.
The Eurobarometer survey found that 37 per cent of SMEs in the EU had at least one full-time or part-time employee involved in renewable energy or resource efficiency.
One in eight employees at small and medium-sized firms had a green job compared with only one in 33 in large firms.
A massive 93 per cent of SMEs had taken action to be more resource efficient. Some 64 per cent saved energy, while 61 per cent recycled and 62 per cent minimised their waste. Thirty-three per cent of SMEs named improving resource efficiency as a top priority.
The main reason for SMEs in the EU to sell green products or services was demand from customers (48 per cent) while companies’ core values (32 per cent) and image (30 per cent) also played a role in this respect, according to the survey.
Food and beverages (25 per cent) and electronic and mechanical machinery and equipment (23 per cent) were the green products and services most likely to be sold by SMEs.
Green jobs in SMEs were estimated to expand at a rate of 35 per cent in the next two years, according to the European Commission.
The survey also showed that one in four SMEs was simplifying administrative procedures for installing low-carbon energy sources such as solar panels.
However, less than a quarter of these enterprises took advantage of the single market for green products or services, blaming obstacles including bureaucracy.
Antonio Tajani, the European Commission’s vice-president, said: "I am happy to see that SMEs are taking on this huge untapped potential which will pay off with more innovation, more competitive SMEs and more jobs.
“However, there is still a lot of work to do. Only very few European SMEs extend their green business to foreign markets. Knowing that the EU makes up roughly one third of the world market for environmental industries, this reveals a huge potential for SMEs to grow."