SBS User Guide for European SMEs on ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility

SBS User Guide for European SMEs on ISO 26000 Guidance on Social Responsibility

What is a European SME? What is a European SME?

Europe shares common values, a tradition of nations and constitutions, laws and regulations which are mature particularly in the areas of labour and the environment, a culture of compliance, efficient enforcement mechanisms including criminal law, a highly developed technical infrastructure and a high level of education and inventive talents. European SMEs are known for practicing legal compliance as an inherent part of their social responsibility. In Europe, medium-sized enterprises comprise up to 250 employees; small enterprises up to 50 and micro enterprises up to 10. Their annual turnover and annual balance sheet do not exceed €50 million and €43 million4 respectively. The vast majority of the 22.3 million European SMEs5 are characterised by personal ownership and management, with only informal structures. Some 25% of them export products and services , while most European SMEs are embedded locally and their society related behaviour is continuously scrutinised by the community in which they operate. The specific strength of European SMEs is the personalised relation to their environment. Via the owners’ and managers’ personal contribution they can give the future a face.

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Views and opinions expressed are those of Small Business Standards (SBS) only and do not necessarily reflect those of the European Union or EFTA. Neither the European Union nor EFTA can be held responsible for them.