GreenEcoNet connects and features small and medium enterprises that take action to be part of the green economy.
Last week in Brussels, a high-level conference highlighted the end of the first phase of GreenEcoNet – an EU-funded research project. Despite the end of this phase, the project goes on, as the team members created an offline and online hub for small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to look for green ideas or to share their own solutions.
The platform was designed by six European research institutes, who closely collaborated with experts from academia and business as well as real life SMEs and SME networks.
The result: a user-friendly platform where green SMEs or SMEs wishing to become green can connect with like-minded businesses, get information to help them become green and express their opinions.
GreenEcoNet’s most salient feature is its solutions page, where SMEs that have gone green or that provide green services can feature their success stories. The solutions are numerous and very diverse, from a British hairdresser that saved thousands of pounds by replacing their lights and installing solar panels to an Estonian company that uses leftover fabric to make t-shirts with a smaller carbon footprint. In all cases, the case study is accompanied by numbers documenting the energy and/or material savings, required budget, etc. The intention behind this is to provide as much information as possible for any other SME who would consider implementing those changes or actions. The solutions can be filtered by country, sector, type of solution, and other features.
Best of all, GreenEcoNet is free of charge. While the first phase of the project focused on European SMEs, the platform now welcomes businesses from all over the world. Any small company that is interested in the green economy can create a company profile. If a company considers themselves to be green, they can submit a solution to the GreenEcoNet team. The solution will go through a review process to ensure the quality of the text and the fact that the SME are accurate. The review is undertaken by a panel of experts from organisations like the UNEP, think tanks and various universities.
During the conference, the project team highlighted the fact that they want to avoid greenwashing. Any SME can create a company profile, as that only signals that they are interested in the green economy. However, the review process that takes place before a solution is published ensures that a business has to prove how its operations are green before claiming to be a sustainable business.