Michael Kellner, Parliamentary State Secretary at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action and SME Commissioner of the Federal Government, today presented the action plan entitled “SMEs, climate action and transformation” at a dialogue event with representatives of the SME sector.
The action plan contains a raft of measures which the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action will deploy to help small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) as they transition to more sustainability and climate action.
said: “We need to invest massive amounts in the decarbonisation of our economy in order to attain our climate targets. This can only succeed if we work hand in hand with a strong SME sector. Firstly, the sector plays a crucial role in paving the way for the transition: it is SMEs who mount solar panels on our rooftops, insulate our homes, install heat pumps and develop new ideas for recycling. Secondly, we need to make the production processes at our SMEs climate-neutral. Both aspects are of key importance for the transformation of our economy.
“Today’s action plan shows how we intend to further improve the policy environment for the transition of our SMEs towards greater sustainability and climate action.”
The main features of the action plan were drawn up together with the SME sector in the “SMEs, climate action and transformation” dialogue and work process. The action plan takes stock of ongoing and planned measures of the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action to support the German Mittelstand as it transitions. The action plan highlights the following aspects:
- energy prices (e.g. facilitate massive roll-out of renewable energy, long-term green electricity contracts),
- decarbonisation and sustainability (e.g. expansion of infrastructure for electricity and hydrogen, new pipelines for hydrogen, targeted funding programmes)
- skilled workers (e.g. finding and recruiting skilled workers abroad, updating of training regulations),
- funding (e.g. further development of the ERP and KfW support loan programmes, rise in ceiling for guarantees offered by guarantee banks),
- sustainability reporting (e.g. support for compliance with rules governing reporting on sustainability and due diligence obligations),
- circular economy (e.g. removal of barriers to the re-use of recycled materials) and
- sector-specific measures (e.g. in the field of skilled crafts, automotive components, tourism, retail trade)
Representatives of the Bundestag, various SME sectoral associations, and the SME Advisory Board at the Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Energy took part in today’s event. In a lively panel debate, State Secretary Kellner discussed various aspects of the action plan with the audience and with five stakeholders in the dialogue and work process:
- Kerstin Andreae, managing director of the German Association of Energy and Water Industries (BDEW),
- Helmut Schleweis, President of the German Savings Banks Association (DSGV),
- Max Schumacher, managing director of the German Foundry Association and representative of the Fair Energy Transition Alliance,
- Denise Schurzmann, federal chair of the Business Junior Chamber Germany
- and Holger Schwannecke, Secretary General of the German Confederation of Skilled Crafts.