SMEs see climate change as opportunity

27th September 2011

Related Topics

Related tags

  • Adaptation ,
  • Mitigation ,
  • Management ,
  • Corporate governance



More than half of medium-sized businesses see tackling the impact of climate change as a chance to increase profits, according to research for Swedish corporate bank SEB.

Its survey of almost 1,400 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) across Europe reveals that while many of the smallest firms (0-49 employees) are still unsure of how they will be impacted by climate change, nearly two thirds (61%) of companies with 50-249 employees believe it will improve profitability in the long term.

Of the medium-sized firms surveyed, 43% thought their organisation’s offerings could help to solve the problems caused by a changing climate, with 31% saying that it will create a greater demand for their products and services, and 25% agreeing it will affect the future direction of their operations.

“Business owners usually see opportunities in social changes, and environmental issues are no different. The responses show that our growing manufacturing companies are well positioned to benefit from more stringent environmental requirements,” said Ingela Hemming, SEB’s global head of small business research.

For smaller companies, however, the response was less positive with only 31% believing they could help tackle climate change and less than half agreeing it would help increase profits. Furthermore, 7% claim climate change would actually harm profits in the long-run, compared to just 2% of the larger firms.

The results also reveal that SMEs expect to see increases in their costs as a result of climate change, particularly those associated with transport (20%) and inputs to their business (10%).

More than a third of those surveyed agree that the most effective way government could help support businesses to adapt to climate change would be through subsidies for investing in environmentally-friendly technology. Another 22% believe environmental regulation was the best option, while 12% argue for different types of green taxes.


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