Preprint Article Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

The Role of SMEs’ Green Business Models in the Transition to a Low- Carbon Economy: Differences in Their Design and Degree of Adoption Stemming from Business Size

Version 1 : Received: 22 May 2018 / Approved: 23 May 2018 / Online: 23 May 2018 (05:36:46 CEST)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Quintás, M.A.; Martínez-Senra, A.I.; Sartal, A. The Role of SMEs’ Green Business Models in the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy: Differences in Their Design and Degree of Adoption Stemming from Business Size. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2109. Quintás, M.A.; Martínez-Senra, A.I.; Sartal, A. The Role of SMEs’ Green Business Models in the Transition to a Low-Carbon Economy: Differences in Their Design and Degree of Adoption Stemming from Business Size. Sustainability 2018, 10, 2109.

Journal reference: Sustainability 2018, 10, 2109
DOI: 10.3390/su10062109

Abstract

The purpose of this paper is to analyze how Green Business Models (BMs) established by small and medium enterprises (SMEs) can incorporate product and process decarbonization in their components (value proposition, creation and capture) and to what extent this incorporation is affected by SME size. We use a database comprising 1,161 observations of SMEs, 466 in 2014 and 695 in 2016. The results show that SMEs’ value propositions give an intermediate valuation to both legally required and voluntary reduction of environmental impact, irrespective of SME size and the year analyzed. Regarding value creation, SMEs adopt practically no environmental practices, and there are significant differences according to size, with more difficulties than advantages stemming from small size. The study also shows that such environmental practices are not effective in reducing carbon. This diagnosis indicates that SMEs need help from the administration if they are to play a key role in the process of transformation toward a low-carbon economy. Legislative actions involving harsher environmental protection measures might help shape value propositions that place greater importance on reducing environmental impact, whereas training actions on available environmental techniques, promotion of research on how to adapt such techniques to SMEs and the development of specific practices for SMEs might enhance environmental value creation and capture in their BMs.

Subject Areas

green business models; decarbonization; SMEs; Size

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