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Open AccessArticle

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

Department of Business Management and Marketing, Faculty of Economics, Universidad de Vigo, Campus Universitario, s/n, 36310 Vigo, Spain
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Sustainability 2018, 10(6), 2109;
Received: 22 May 2018 / Revised: 14 June 2018 / Accepted: 16 June 2018 / Published: 20 June 2018
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Environmentally Sustainable Competitive Strategies)
The purpose of this paper is to analyze how SMEs define the components of their business models (value proposition, creation and capture) from the point of view of decarbonization. We analyze SMEs as a group, and study whether their size affects this process and, in both cases, we examine evolution over time. We use a database comprising 1161 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. View Full-Text
Keywords: green business models; decarbonization; SMEs; size green business models; decarbonization; SMEs; size
MDPI and ACS Style

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.

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