The transition towards a green and sustainable economy is expected to generate multiple economic, social, and environmental benefits, and the investments needed for this transition are enormous and they will be bringing meaningful benefits in the future. Therefore, significant efforts are needed to support the concept that investing in a green transition will be beneficial from an environmental, economic, social, and financial perspective, advancing the resilience of our society, as well as the healthy development of businesses and economic activities.
Public Authorities at all levels can play a decisive role in accelerating this transition by facilitating financing to investments and projects applying sustainable, green, and innovative technologies and business strategies.
On the other hand, Clusters and Business Support Organisation are key actors in the green transition, representing the link between businesses and government by means of providing specialized training, education, information, research, and technical support, and working as facilitators and enablers for an environmental shift in technologies and business cases. Also, they often act as the entry points for information and support to companies and SMEs, playing a crucial role in green sectors.
From February 2018 finMED, a project co-financed by the Interreg MED Programme, brought together a group of organizations related to green sectors policies, business support and competence developments. finMED’s goal is to create and stimulate a common understanding of green economy financing, create capacities, and develop concrete solutions to improve access to finance for innovation by green SMEs. As such, finMED worked in two directions. From one side targeting and working with regions and public authorities and from the other side integrating and including clusters and business support organisations.
In this context, finMED capitalisation process produced three Recommendations, intended as a tool for change: they help define the required steps and compile key stakeholders’ views on the essential changes and actions necessary for the green transformation.
Addressing the SMEs’ need for TAILORED SUPPORT in the green transition as well as, ECOSYSTEMS able to accelerate and enable change and innovation, targeting Clusters and Business Support Organisations, Financiers and Public Authorities. The aim here is to raise awareness and offer solutions and opportunities, considering that Clusters/BSOs are positioned as the best intermediary bodies since they are in direct contact between SMEs and private funding actors, and as such their role could be key to contact financers to put in place funding opportunities for SMEs.
Aiming to advocate action for green growth financing and finance structure, finMED concluded to the RECOMMENDATION 2:
Make sustainability criteria and environmental improvements conditional in sector-specific financial support measures where possible, for which the target are the Regional and Public Authorities and Financiers. A clear need was identified to support experimental solutions linked with the ecological transition by creating specific financial offers considering that Covid-19 outbreak crisis pointed out that a more resilient economy and society need sustainable investment choices, such as integrating in financial policies and instruments the ESG criteria.
To raise awareness and spread knowledge, finMED proposes the RECOMMENDATION 3:
Communicate clearly on the benefits of environmental improvement for the overall well-being of societies and the economy, to highlight the benefits of well-being and prosperity from more sustainable and resilient societies that can strengthen public support for measures aimed at enhancing environmental health. During the COVID-19 crisis, sustainable responsible investments performed better compared to traditional ones: ESG criteria help to mitigate all those risks related to environmental, social and governance aspects.
To support the above Recommendations, finMED developed a set of tools addressing Public Authorities, Clusters and Business Support Organisations. The Capacity Building tool for regions and public authorities to increase capacities, skills, and knowledge of individuals (from the decision and policy-making domain as well as for public servants) and organisations (regional and national public authorities) to help improve the financing of innovation towards green growth for the benefit of SMEs. On the business side, an innovative Support Service Tool for Clusters and Business Support Organisations was designed to better support green SMEs in accessing proper funding with less effort and a higher success rate. Another support tool is MASDE, built to provide a strategic answer to the urgent needs of companies to successfully exit the economic crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
finMED project completes its activities within January 2022, however, its tools and results produced remain available to anyone interested, on its website https://finmed.interreg-med.eu/