RETROSPECTION- SMEs engagement for a green transition

In recent years especially, sustainability has been propelled to the rank of a widely discussed issue by authorities and experts, on all communication channels.

Although there are still many people on whom the concept of green transition still does not have the expected impact, there are, on the other hand, numerous entities that campaign in favor of this subject, through various initiatives and dedicated projects, which help societies to achieve a sustainable way of life, so that human activity no longer endangers the planet.

One of these projects is SMEs engagement for a GREEN transition, a project co-financed by the European Commission, which offers support to SMEs towards a green and digital transition in order to implement actions aimed at directing the local economy in Turin (Italy) and Ilfov (Romania) towards a sustainable and inclusive path. This translates into the creation of new jobs, the mitigation of socio-economic problems generated by the impact of the Covid-19 crisis and the acceleration of a greener and more equitable recovery at the local level.

The main objectives of this project are the creation of Local Green Deals in Romania and Turin, as well as supporting SMEs to adapt to the circular economy.

Because we keep hearing the term Local Green Deal being used around us, it is important to understand its meaning.

A Local Green Deal is a mobilization of forces – both vertically and horizontally. In short, it is a governance approach that sets sustainability goals and develops action plans in line with administrative and political directions.

A Local Green Deal must address issues of interest such as the economy, climate change, acquiring new skills, social inclusion, etc. In practice, it sets long-term priorities for the city and promotes cultural change by stimulating all citizens in the decision-making and solution-finding process.

So far, within the SME4GREEN project, we have achieved one of the most important points – we have carried out an analysis of the legislative framework and the strategic and programmatic documents of the two regions (Bucharest-Ilfov and Turin). We thus understood that in order to adapt public policies to people’s daily lives, all cities must cooperate and coordinate their policies and instruments with suburban and rural areas as well in terms of housing policy, commercial areas, mobility, green services and infrastructure, local and regional power systems, but also energy supply. Also, for several months we maintained a dialogue with the most important stakeholders, whom we brought to the same table to collaborate with the authorities.

To the Open Call that we launched, more than 45 local stakeholders who showed interest in this topic responded. Among them we find 37 SMEs and social entrepreneurs from several relevant fields, 3 public authorities and 6 non-governmental organizations. What is essential to mention is that it is not too late to contribute to this pact, so you can still register by filling out this form. You will thus connect with us and the other members of the Local Steering Group and learn the ways in which you can put your expertise to the test to define the important directions of this deal.

The next step in the project is for the members of the steering committee, of the group that will develop the Local Green Deal, to participate in an international workshop in Turin, where they will assimilate the most important information about what such a Deal should look like, and about the smart strategies to plan activities, determine responsibilities and verification methods. Later, we will organize a workshop in Romania, where all the members of the Local Steering Group will participate, who will discuss what provisions will be introduced in the Local Green Pact at the level of our region.

Following these actions, we will design the first draft of the Local Green Deal, which will be reviewed, finalized and signed. To encourage private companies to participate in the project’s activities, but also to help them take important steps towards a green transition, we have created a mix of mentoring sessions and special trainings for them. They will benefit from mentoring in innovation management, but also from training sessions on how to organize crowdfunding campaigns to launch “green” products or services on the market. Also, several online workshops will be held on various topics: sustainability, investments and hybrid financing, financing mechanisms for eco initiatives, but also the way to access relevant European funds for SMEs.

Encouraging all citizens to participate in formulating solutions for effective governance, based on inclusion and collaboration, remains a great goal in itself, being more impactful if used to create a safe and environmentally friendly future.

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