EIB: The explosive situation is leading industrial SMEs to green investments

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The ongoing energy crisis in Europe, with rapidly rising gas prices and significant energy security issues following the outbreak of war in Ukraine, makes the need for higher energy autonomy urgent, effectively accelerating Europe’s already planned green transition. In this transitional period, significant challenges arise for businesses, especially for the energy-intensive industry, as they are called upon to adapt business models and measures to reduce energy costs in order to remain competitive in the new reality that is emerging. Recognizing the criticality of these developments, the EIB Δι………………………………………..

As Europe aims to be the first climate-neutral continent by 2050, Greece has set a target of almost 85% of energy consumption for RES by 2050 (compared to 15% in 2020 and 7% in 2010). With the Greek industrial SMEs seeming to cope with the increased energy costs in the first phase of the crisis, the long-term protection of the industry against energy disturbances is now in demand. Based on the EIB field survey of 200 industrial SMEs, the catastrophic developments seem to have awakened businesses, which recognize the urgency of responding to the challenges of climate change and the wider energy sector, with the vast majority of industry related initiatives and programs at EU level. In this context, SMEs have either moved forward or are planning actions in two main directions:

Μετά Green transition: In this (more demanding) sector, a higher degree of exposed SMEs is identified. In particular, while a significant proportion of the sector of 56% has already implemented relevant actions (with 48% relating to the reduction of the environmental footprint), they fall short of almost 91% of the sector recognizing the benefits of the green transition (with 66% finds a substantial need). This creates a gap of 1/3 of the sector that remains exposed to the challenges of green transition. However, recognizing the growing need to adapt to the new data, SMEs are already planning further actions, with the emphasis now shifting to the use of green energy. The planned actions mainly concern the search for a green electricity supplier or the issuance of a green certificate (59% of the sector in the next three years compared to only 16% today) thus highlighting the importance for the industry of the possibility of concluding bilateral energy contracts (PPAs). Under these investment plan data, the percentage of SMEs exposed to green transition risks is estimated to be reduced from 35% today to 7% over the next three years.

✓ Coverage from natural disasters: According to the survey, 64% of the sector has taken out some form of insurance against these risks. As about 1/5 do not consider themselves vulnerable to extreme weather conditions and disasters, 17% of the sector seems to remain exposed – a gap which is expected to be reduced to 11% over the next three years (based on planned business actions).

A crucial role in the implementation of all the above is expected to play the leverage of the funds included in the Recovery Fund, as well as in the new NSRF and the Development Law, where the green transition is becoming increasingly important. Based on EIB research, these programs have motivated 2/3 of industrial SMEs to plan green investments, with the interest being active in all sizes and sectors. Regarding the type of planned actions, 1/3 of the industries are interested in strategic investments (mainly construction of new facilities), while another 1/3 is directed to milder interventions (such as participation in the “save” program and adoption of e-mobility).

The Conventional Survey of Small and Medium Enterprises can be found on the website of the EIB Group in section Studies and Economic Analyzes (Greek Entrepreneurship category)

Source: Capital

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