Supporting SMEs with sustainability information

Hybrid event

Supporting SMEs with sustainability information

Event recap:

Focusing on the sustainable transition challenges encountered by SMEs, Accountancy Europe and MEP Sirpa Pietikainen (EPP/Finland) co-organised a conference on 21 February in the European Parliament. The event brought together representatives from the banking, SME, and policy-maker communities to deliberate on supporting SMEs in measuring, enhancing, and reporting on their sustainability performance. The discussion was moderated by Accountancy Europe’s CEO, Olivier Boutellis-Taft.

Merete Clausen, Director of the European Commission’s (EC) Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW), presented the various initiatives undertaken by EC to support SMEs’ sustainable transition. Most notably, she called on stakeholders to provide their feedback to the ongoing public consultations on listed and voluntary SME sustainability standards.

Hilde Rutten, CEO of BergHOFF (a Belgian SME), confirmed that her business has been receiving sustainability data requests from both financial institutions and large supply chain partners. Her company has developed its own dashboard and carbon footprint calculation tool to be able to meet the demand for sustainability data.

Miriam Koreen, Senior Counsellor on SMEs at the OECD, presented OECD’s planned work on mapping sustainability support tools tailored for SMEs and to develop a standardised sustainability data request format for financial institutions to send to SMEs.

Ángel García, Member of the Sustainable Finance Committee of the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG), explained why financial institutions need sustainability data from SMEs. He also shared insights on what needs to change to improve the situation for both SMEs and their banks.

About the event:

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) report that their larger value chain partners and finance providers are increasingly asking them for sustainability data to fulfil regulatory requirements. The Corporate Sustainability Reporting Directive (CSRD) and the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CS3D) leave most SMEs out of their scope, but their indirect impact in small businesses – which often operate with limited know-how and resources – is still significant.

MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen (EPP/Finland) and Accountancy Europe jointly organise this event to discuss

  • Environmental, Social and Governance (ESG) data requests that SMEs are getting from financial institutions and large value chain partners
  • voluntary initiatives such as the planned non-listed SME standard for sustainability reporting, the OECD’s work and industry-led initiatives
  • SMEs’ support requirements for their sustainable transition


  • Sirpa Pietikäinen, MEP, EPP/Finland, European Parliament
  • Olivier Boutellis-Taft, CEO, Accountancy Europe
  • Merete Clausen, Director, Directorate-General for Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs (DG GROW)
  • Miriam Koreen, Senior Counsellor on SMEs, the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD)
  • Hilde Rutten, CEO, BergHOFF Belgium (SME)
  • Ángel García, Member of the Sustainable Finance Committee, the European Savings and Retail Banking Group (ESBG)


  • 17:00 - 17:10

    Welcome & keynote speech

    MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen

  • 17:10 - 17:20

    Presentation: European Commission's work to support SMEs

    Merete Clausen, DG GROW

  • 17:20 - 17:35

    Presentation: OECD’s work on a template for sustainable finance

    Miriam Koreen, OECD

  • 17:35 - 18:40

    Panel discussion: can we develop a common sustainability data format for SMEs?

    Moderator: Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe
    Merete Clausen, DG GROW
    Miriam Koreen, OECD
    Hilde Rutten, BergHOFF Belgium (SME)
    Ángel García, ESBG

  • 18:40 - 18:55

    Fireside chat: immediate reactions to the panel discussion and lessons learnt

    MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen & Olivier Boutellis-Taft, Accountancy Europe

  • 18:55 - 19:00

    Closing remarks

    MEP Sirpa Pietikäinen