SEED-Insights from COP27
The Voice of SMEs at the UN Climate Change Conference
On 10 and 11 November, 2022, SEED hosted and participated in several events during COP27, the UN Climate Change Conference, in Sharm-El-Sheikh in Egypt. COP27 aims to drive forward the international discussion on climate change and lead to concrete steps for climate adaptation and mitigation actions. The events highlight the potential and raise awareness about the challenges for eco-inclusive micro, small and medium-sized enterprises, the gamechangers of on-the-ground climate action. Moreover, SEED presented the Sustainable SME Action Agenda, a joint SEED, GO4SDGs and UNEP Report outlining the critical next steps of action to scale Green SME Support. Finally, the Coalition for Innovation, Circularity and Entrepreneurship was launched, a catalyser for scale up and impact.
On 10 November, SEED organised the event “Coalition for Innovation, Circularity and Entrepreneurship: A collective Action Catalyst for an SME-led Circular Low-Carbon Transition” at the ICC’s Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum.
The event was opened by Tarek AlKhoury/UNEP and Arab Hoballah/SEED, who introduced the Coalition for Innovation, Circularity and Entrepreneurship and highlighted its potential to bridge missing middle finance and engage directly and efficiently with SMEs, enabling them to scale their efforts towards sustainability and circularity.
In the following, the panel discussion commenced, including Yoko Watanabe/UNDP, Zitouni Ould-Dada/FAO, Mette Lund/ILO, Vanessa Erogbogbo/ITC and Annachiara Scandone/UNIDO. The panel discussed the importance and challenges that Green SMEs face and emphasized the need for the Coalition to overcome these challenges. The key messages revolved around the Coalition’s potential to bridge the gap between key actors and SMEs to facilitate knowledge exchanges and networking, scale market-based green SME support and bring the SME discourse to the policy and regulatory level to build an enabling environment for SMEs.
On 11 November, SEED presented the Coalition for Innovation, Circularity and Entrepreneurship in French in the event “Coalition pour l’Innovation, la Circularité et l’Entreprenariat: Un Catalyseur d’Action Collective Pour une Transition Circulaire Basse en Carbone avec les PMEs” at the Pavilion de la Francophonie.
The event was opened by Cécile Martin-Phipps/IFDD and Arab Hoballah/SEED, who presented the Coalition for Innovation, Circularity and Entrepreneurship, emphasising the need for concrete action to move towards the Circular Economy.
The following panel discussion included Zoritsa Urosevic/UNWTO, Moustapha Kamal Gueye/ILO, Laure du Teilhet/ASEF and Pamela Jouven/SME Climate Hub. The discussion emphasised the need to build resilience with and for SMEs. Moreover, SMEs were recognised as a key driver of resource efficiency and employment worldwide in all sectors of the economy. As an integral part of the global supply chain, SMEs have the potential to mainstream sustainability along the international value chain.
On 11 November, SEED organised the event “Entrepreneurship for Responsible Climate Action and Resilience: small scale enterprises as gamechangers to reach Net Zero” at the ICC’s Make Climate Action Everyone’s Business Forum.
The event was opened by Arab Hoballah/SEED, Adrianna Zacarias/UNEP-GO4SDGs and Timon Lepold/BMUV. To kick start the event, Adrianna Zacarias presented Sustainable SME Action Agenda, a joint SEED, GO4SDGs and UNEP Report outlining critical next steps to scale Green SME Support for 2030 along the five key action areas of Innovation, Non-Financial Support, Finance, Policy and Market. In the following, Timon Lepold highlighted the key role of SMEs in the economy of Germany, as well as their importance for the global economy.
The panel further discussed the potential role as well as key challenges of SMEs in the transition for sustainability and circularity. The panel included Michael Laermann/Ecoproneur, Friedrich Barth/Global Entrepreneurship Centre and Reina Otsuka/UNEP, as well as entrepreneurs Brighton Chabana/Kalahari, Hana Purnawarman/Sampangan and Mukisa Emmanuel/Clinela Solar. The panel highlighted the importance of capacity building in green SME support as well as an enabling environment through increased digitisation, market access and financial support.