Connecting SMEs for a green economy

GreenEcoNet publishes a circular economy policy brief for SMEs

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The GreenEcoNet team is proud to publish their first policy brief, entitled 'The Circular Economy: Barriers and Opportunities for SMEs'. 

The briefing is based on a literature review, discussions at GreenEcoNet project events, and an analysis of two SMEs featured on GreenEcoNet (Up-Shirt & Fairphone). It explores the key barriers and enablers for SMEs adopting circular economy business practices.

Check out the abstract below, and click here to read policy brief in full.

The ‘circular economy’ is gaining momentum as a concept in both academic and policy circles, while circular business models have been linked to significant economic benefits. This paper identifies key barriers and enablers to adopting circular economy business practices, using input from a literature review, discussions held in the context of the GreenEcoNet project and an analysis of two SME circular business models.

Main policy messages

  • SMEs wishing to enter global value chains face different types of challenges for which they need practical, technical and legal advice and support.
  • For SMEs seeking to develop an innovative product within a circular economy, access to suitable sources of finance is key.
  • Using language that is directly relevant to the core business operations, such as “reduce waste” or “reduce costs” can play a significant role in convincing SMEs of the benefits of the circular economy.
  • Policy-makers need to first better understand the complex challenges faced by SMEs in order to develop appropriate supportive policy frameworks.
  • Policy measures to raise consumers’ awareness about circular economy practices and products can encourage the adoption of circular business models.

RIZOS, BEHRENS, KAFYEKE, HIRSCHNITZ-GARBERS & IOANNOU (2015) The Circular Economy: Barriers and Opportunities for SMEs. GreenEcoNet Policy Brief. Weblink

Please contact Vasileios Rizos, CEPS ( for any further information on this briefing.