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Environmental Incentives and Nordic SMEs

Impact on Performance and Competitiveness

image of Environmental Incentives and Nordic SMEs

This report identifies and investigates environmental incentives available for small and medium-sized enterprises in the Nordic countries. These comprise grants and loans for environmental management, environmental technology, environmental employment and sectoral competitiveness, and energy efficiency and renewables. From a total of 15 currently or recently available schemes, seven incentives are selected and 23 beneficiaries interviewed to explore impacts on environmental performance and economic competitiveness. The survey allows the ranking of environmental impacts in order of significance, based on information provided by the SMEs. It also highlights economic effects and environmental learning, and it draws conclusions relating to the practical value of Nordic environmental incentives, administrative procedures, company experiences and future expectations.

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Introduction

Since the publication of the Brundtland Report, the international corporate response has contributed significantly to the operationalisation of sustainable development. Over the past ten years in particular, events such as the World Industry Conferences on Environmental Management have progressively explored and developed this theme, and the Business Charter for Sustainable Development, launched by the International Chamber of Commerce in 1992, has been a very influential part of this initiative. The Charter commits enterprises to improving environmental performance and demonstrates to governments and society that business takes its environmental responsibilities seriously. Since its launch, the ICC Charter has gained considerable support world-wide, having been signed by more than 2,300 companies and associations in over 50 countries, with virtually all economic sectors represented.

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