STORY: Empowering The Green Economy - ITC
TRT: 02 min 34s
SOURCE: UNTV CH
LANGUAGE: ENGLISH / NATS
ASPECT RATIO: 16:9
DATELINE: 23 JUNE 2021 GENEVA, SWITZERLAND
Exterior wide shot, Palais des Nations flag alley, nations’ flags flying, a sunny day.
Small businesses unprepared for pandemic-sized climate shock ‘every decade’: ITC
Small businesses which make up more than half of the global workforce were 2.5 times more likely to go under than larger firms in the first months of COVID-19, the International Trade Centre (ITC) said on Wednesday, warning that the impact of climate change is likely to cause pandemic-scale disruption “every decade”.
Highlighting the lack of investment in environmental adaptation among micro and small businesses in less-developed economies, ITC Executive Director Pamela Coke-Hamilton noted that only 38 per cent of small businesses had taken action, compared to 60 per cent of large firms.
“The pandemic has shown that the resilience of businesses matter,” she told journalists at UN Geneva, noting also that small businesses accounted for 50 per cent of global emissions.
“It has also laid bare a resilience divide between small and large firms. Developed countries have the financial means to sustain their economies and protect the most vulnerable. But most developed and least developed countries are unable to do the same.”
Ms Coke-Hamilton added that if such resilience among micro and small businesses was necessary during the pandemic, “it will be even more crucial in addressing climate change. The economic disruption of climate change is expected to be like that of a COVID-19-size pandemic happening every decade. Going green is a survival imperative; the longer firms take to act, the higher the costs become.”
Presenting the agency’s latest report, SME Competitiveness Outlook 2021: Empowering The Green Recovery, ITC Chief Economist Barbara Ramos insisted that governments needed to understand the level of vulnerability of small firms in the first year of the pandemic.
“We need to learn from COVID in order to increase the resilience of small firms….Our SME report last year showed that two out of three micro and small firms were strongly affected by the pandemic, and that’s compared to half of large firms; we know that. We also know that one in four micro firms were at risk of shutting down within three months and this is compared to one in 10 large firms.”
This matters, Ms. Ramos insisted, because companies that managed to withstand the economic downturn caused by COVID-19 “were five times less likely to fire employees during the crisis. And if you add to that the fact that SMEs employ a large share of the world’s population, their resilience really does matter.”
To help small businesses rebuild from the pandemic and prepare for the climate crisis while becoming more competitive, Ms. Coke-Hamilton maintained that urged they will need the support of a network of private and public partners to boost their means to withstand future shocks.
To guide this process, ITC’s report provides a 20-point Green Recovery Plan to help small businesses become more competitive, resilient and green.
“During the pandemic, the liquidity of banks especially in the Caribbean was upwards of $9 billion, but somehow they lacked the ability to attribute value to the green transition process and what this will mean,” she said, urging governments to advocate with financial institutions “to help them understand the long-term strategy and the need to invest.”
According to ITC, nearly 60 per cent of African companies that invested in greening their enterprise said that this led to new, higher-quality and more products. Access to new markets was also a byproduct of this investment along with lower costs.