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EREK WEBINAR - Lessons learned from France, Scotland and Estonia

Posted on: 17.04.2019
by The EREK Team

On 19 March 2019, EREK in conjunction with its network member ADEME hosted a webinar on the “Lessons learned from delivering resource efficiency support programmes to SME’s in Europe - Insights from France, Scotland & Estonia”.

Over 60 participants joined the webinar where they heard from speakers showcasing different resource efficiency programmes across Europe followed by a discussion/Q&A session.

The event started with a welcome from Eva-Maria Revilla-Peñaranda, who explained that EREK was one of 54 actions in a plan developed in 2015 by the Commission to support a transition to a circular economy. It was followed by a presentation by Pavel Ruzicka from Enviros, an EREK project team member, who gave an overview of EREK and set out the benefits and tools available for SME’s to achieve their resource efficiency potential.

This was followed by the first of three presentations showcasing different resource efficiency support programmes across three countries in Europe.

The first of these presentations was provided by Eric Darlot of ADEME, the French National Agency for Environment and Energy. Since 2017 ADEME has been running a support programme called “SME’s winning on all counts”. ADEME has trained over 200 consultants who provide between 5-10 days consultancy support to SME’s to make resource efficiency savings in their organisations. SME’s that achieve the promised savings pay towards the cost of the consultancy but for those that do not achieve the projected savings, the service is free. They have supported approximately 400 organisations to date.

The second presentation was by Patrick O’Reilly, Zero Waste Scotland (ZWS). Patrick presented details of the Energy Efficient Scotland programme being delivered by ZWS and funded by the Scottish Government and European Regional Development Funds (ERDF). This programme has been in operation since 2013 and offers free on-site support and support in accessing funding to implement resource efficiency measures. Over the past three years, ZWS have helped SME’s access £8.5m in funding to purchase new energy-efficient equipment.

Jaana Merisaar, Ministry of Environment of Estonia presented on Estonia’s €100m fund to support organisations making resource efficiency changes. The programme involves an in-depth audit of the company’s operations over 4-6 months followed by recommendations on resource efficiency measures provided by experts trained under the programme. Companies can then apply for grant funding through the programme to implement the recommended solutions. Grants are offered that cover up to 50% of the cost of the audit and 50% of the cost of implementing the Resource Efficient measures.

This was followed by an engaging Q&A session moderated by Ruslan Zhechkov from the EREK project team.

Some common learnings across all programmes:

  • Reaching SME’s has been a challenge experienced by all programmes. Even though there are large grants available many organisations struggle with visualising how these could be applied in their own organisation. In Estonia, promotion of the programme through case studies of organisations that have successfully taken up the support already and can act as an ambassador for the programme is helping to raise awareness. ZWS have reached out to SME’s through industry or sector bodies as they are often seen as a ‘trusted voice’ and can have a huge reach. Providing promotional material such as social media content to these bodies has proved successful in Scotland.
  • Competition among other agencies was also a common challenge faced by all programmes and French and Estonian examples were cited by the speakers. In France, there are various regional programmes that provide support to SME’s, so a lesson learned has been the importance of understanding the offer on a regional basis and where synergies can be established with other programmes to provide the best support to SMEs. Estonia has had similar challenges citing examples of similar type of support offered by different government agencies. ZWS have also experienced this issue but have overcome it by famailairising themselves with the other programmes so that they can advise the customer on the most suitable option for their needs and refer them onwards where appropriate.

On a final note it was acknowledged by the speakers that even in the most well-run companies there are always opportunities for resource efficiency.


More information about the EREK webinar