70 percent of SMEs face obstacles to becoming sustainable

Sep 30, 2020

Survey confirms the need to support SMEs on their path towards digitalisation and sustainability

A  ‘Flash Eurobarometer’ survey on SMEs by the European Commission shows that 62 percent of EU SMEs confront barriers to digitalisation and 70 percent of EU SMEs say they are facing at least one obstacle that prevents their enterprise from becoming sustainable.

The survey was conducted among over 12,000 companies from all EU countries (and over 3,000 companies from 12 non-EU countries). It shows that 42 percent of EU SMEs say that the availability of support to help enterprises become more sustainable is poor. Other key findings are:

  • About one in five SMEs cite 'lack of skills' among the barriers to engage in more sustainable practices, digitalise, and innovate.
  • Stimulating demand for green products and services is also an issue in the transition to sustainability, as a lack of customer demand (30 percent) comes out on top of the barriers to sustainability that SMEs face. A lack of financial resources is the next most cited barrier.
  • SMEs report that the biggest problems they face are
    • regulatory obstacles or administrative burdens (55 percent),
    • payment delays (35 percent),
    • poor access to finance (21 percent) and
    • a lack of skills (17 percent).

Click here for more information on the SME strategy for a sustainable and digital Europe