Investing in sustainability, an opportunity for growth

15/09/2021 – 15:33

Every year that passes, United Nations meetings once again give countries a wake-up call to review their environmental policies to try to reverse the damage we do to the environment. This 2021, the report they have presented has been anything but encouraging, concluding that climate change is irreversible if we do not change our habits once and for all on a personal and, above all, business level.

For SMEs, talking about changes means talking about spending and, in terms of sustainability, these improvements tend to be very large investments and difficult to face. For this reason, many small and medium-sized companies do not launch themselves to try to reduce their emissions, although with the arrival of European Next Generation EU funds a great door has opened that all companies should try to take advantage of, not only to improve their processes but to change our planet.

In this way, the Chamber of Commerce of Spain together with the United Nations Global Compact Spain offered during the month of July a telematic conference aimed at SMEs to sensitize them about the transformative value of sustainability policies. “The health crisis has reinforced the importance of sustainability as a strategic value for companies, and the opening of business opportunities. It is about ‘giving the cane and teaching how to fish’. SMEs, which in Spain represent 99% of the productive fabric, they cannot remain oblivious to an economic reactivation model based on sustainability “, Miguel Lpez-Quesada, president of the Communication and Sustainability Commission of the Chamber of Commerce of Spain, explained at the opening of the conference.

During the conference, the essential role of SMEs in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals was underlined. “SMEs can seek innovative solutions with a transformative impact. They can innovate in processes and activities or in products. They make up 99% of the productive fabric and their involvement is fundamental,” said Javier Molero, director of projects and Agenda 2030 of the Global Compact for United Nations Spain.

The session ended with the example of two SMEs that are working on integrating the SDGs into their business strategy thanks to the interventions of Jos Antonio Mazorra, head of CSR at Textil Santanderina and Vanesa Monroy Fernndez, head of Marketing Department at RBH Global .

The conference is part of the Collaboration Agreement signed between the Chamber of Commerce of Spain and the United Nations Global Compact Spain to disseminate the Sustainable Development Goals and sustainability tools that help maintain the competitiveness of the Spanish business fabric and promote the achievement of of the 2030 Agenda through the actions of small and medium-sized companies. The next forums will be held in October.

The Chamber also offers its own aids

Since May, the Spanish Chamber of Commerce has also launched its own direct aid with a new Sustainability Program for SMEs that offers direct aid to small and medium-sized companies, co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) , to improve their sustainability with actions related to energy efficiency, the measurement of the carbon footprint, the circular economy and the 2030 Agenda. Participating companies may receive direct aid of between 40 and 85%, depending on the community autonomous and the investment made on a maximum of 7,000 euros.

In a first phase, 16 Chambers of Commerce from different cities in Spain will participate in this Program, from which 160 SMEs will be able to benefit this year. These are the Chambers of Almera, Campo de Gibraltar, Huelva, Seville, Malaga, Tenerife, Ciudad Real, Toledo, Mallorca, Cantabria, Len, Alicante, Castelln, Valencia, Navarra and Pontevedra, Vigo and Vilagarca de Arousa.

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