Sustainable Transformation of SMEs in the Context of the Green Deal
Publikation aus Life
Klimaneutrale Energiesysteme und Lebensstile
Linz/Klagenfurt , 10/2022
The EU goal of climate neutrality until 2050 is a considerable challenge for many companies. Especially small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) lack the resources to transform their business models towards higher sustainability and climate neutrality. The region of Lower Carinthia is highly affected by the goals of climate neutrality by 2040 in Austria and by 2050 in the EU, due to the high share of carbon intensive industries. For this reason, in the course of the LOCA2-project, the CEOs of 50 companies were interviewed to identify potentials and barriers for the introduction of sustainable business models towards climate neutrality. Furthermore, the interviews allowed to gain an overview on specific processes, used energy carriers, and GHG-emissions of the participating companies. In addition, the Scope 1, Scope 2, and Scope 3-emissions of the different industry sectors in the region in 2019 were analysed. Methodologically a life cycle approach was applied combining statistical input data sources and an environmentally extended input-output-table. Based on these results, transformation paths for selected industry sectors using a dynamic LCA-model were developed. They sketch how the relevant sectors can transform towards climate neutrality. The analysis shows that the transformation is possible, however, the implementation of climate neutral energy carriers has to be accelerated and additional measures such as CCU, CCS, or CDR are necessary to reach net-climate neutrality. A handbook guiding SMEs strategically towards climate neutrality by 2040 is currently being developed.
Keywords: Climate neutrality; transformation pathways; sustainable business models; small and medium-sized enterprises; greening of supply chain; survey; dynamic LCA; EEIO-table