The event was co-organised by the Organisation for Small Medium Enterprises Sector Development (ODIMM) and the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), as part of the EU-funded EU4Environment Programme.
Within EU4Environment businessmen from SMEs from the Republic of Moldova, interested in obtaining sustainable and green products and consumption models, were acquainted with the European methods of promoting eco-innovations in the entrepreneurial field.
Recent studies and the evolution of public policies in the Republic of Moldova highlight the need to take further action to encourage small and medium-sized enterprises (hereafter SMEs) to adopt more environmentally friendly business practices. While SMEs generate about 64% of industrial pollution in the European Union, only 16% of them are engaged in environmental actions (OECD Green Growth Studies, 2018: Environmental Policy Toolkit for SME Greening in EU Eastern Partnership Countries). There is thus still significant potential to promote tools and good practices to encourage the „greening” of SMEs in the country. Many of these tools are already implemented by Member States of the European Union and can be adapted to the needs of SMEs in the Republic of Moldova, thereby encouraging sustainable development and international economic competitiveness of businesses and the country’s economy at large.
The United Nations Environment Programme (hereafter UNEP) is one of five partner agencies implementing the EUfunded EU4Environment programme from 2019 to 2023 (hereafter “EU4Environment”). This regional programme supports six countries (Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus,
Georgia, Republic of Moldova and Ukraine) in making policy planning and investment greener, stimulating the uptake of innovative products and technologies, and raising awareness about the benefits of environmental action. As part of the EU4Environment programme, UNEP is leading a component on promoting ecological value-chains and product innovation (hereafter eco-innovation) among SMEs in Moldova and other Eastern Partnership (hereafter EaP) countries. This includes capacity development and provision of technical assistance to enhance the sustainability of SMEs value chains, production processes and overall lifecycle of the products/services they offer.
Greening SMEs will provide the Republic of Moldova with a range of opportunities to take advantage of its Deep and Comprehensive Free Trade Area (DCFTA) Agreement with the EU, as well as to achieve goals under the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development. Elements of greening SMEs can also be found in Moldova’s Environmental Strategy for 2014-2023; the Strategy for Low Emission Development of the Republic of Moldova until 2030; the National Energy Efficiency Programme for 2011-2020; the Energy Strategy of the Republic of Moldova until 2030; the Strategy for waste management in the Republic of Moldova for 2013-2027 and; the country’s Strategy for water supply and sanitation (2014-2028). This underlines also a favourable political landscape for stimulating eco-innovation among enterprise in Moldova.
During the event UNEP’s (and EU’s) ecoinnovation approach and methodology was presented, also the experience of EU and other countries’ enterprises on ecoinnovation was shared; and discussed what SME sectors in Moldova show the greatest potential for uptake and implementation of eco-innovation strategies and practices.