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SME Response Strategy in the Green Growth Era   


Due to frequent climate disasters, destruction of ecological systems, etc., threats to the survival of human beings are growing. Against this backdrop, countries around the world are spurring efforts to reduce greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. Now, 'Low-Carbon, Green Growth' has become a global issue.

After establishing green growth as a new national development vision, the Korean government is also promoting it actively as one of the nation's top priority tasks. As part of its initiative, the government decided to reduce GHG emissions 4% by 2020 compared with 2005. Whereas green industries are providing opportunities to create new profits, high energyconsuming industries can have negative effects on corporate profit structures because of cost increase burdens.

I think that success or failure of our SMEs will depend on how they adapt and transform themselves in response to the arrival of a new paradigm, namely green tech industries. In this vein, a world-renowned scholar, Jeremy Rifkin, in his book 'Hydrogen Economy' pointed to hydrogen as an energy source to replace oil and forecasted such energy source changes would play a very affirmative role in industries as much as the Internet revolution did.

Starting this year, SBC decided to expand support for SMEs engaged in green industries, increasing its policy fund support ratio to 15% of its total budget this year from 3% in 2009, and with plans to increase the ratio further to 20% in 2013. In particular, SBC will not only support up to 100% of the required funds for facilities, but also promote expansion of green technology-related training and overseas marketing for green industries.

In the case of small & medium-size manufacturing businesses, green trade barriers related to green protectionism are on the rise throughout the world. For reduction of carbon dioxide emissions, therefore, we can not neglect green management, including greenization of processes, products and business places, although there may be differences according to business type.

With operation of the 'Green Management Support Corps,' SBC will provide SMEs with green management consulting service on their overall management and production sites and do its best to enhance their capabilities to respond to green restrictions. I hope that SMEs will fully utilize SBC support policies in the development of new green technologies.

In its report 'How to Jump-Start the Clean-Tech Economy,' Havard Business Review in November 2009 explained the prerequisite factors for commercialization of innovative technologies, illustrating how Thomas Edison was successful in commercializing a new-tech product, the incandescent lamp, in a market where kerosene lamps were commonly used. Different at that time was the fact that while many inventors indulged only in the development of electric bulbs, Edison agonized over what would force consumers to select only incandescent lamps instead of kerosene lamps and focused his efforts on resolving the problem.

As readers can deduce, the story tells us that only when new products have a greater economic efficiency value than existing products, as well as being convenient, can they lead to business success. I feel real regret when I see cases of some SMEs experiencing management difficulties due to commercialization failures while clinging to technology development alone, We should bear in mind that despite being environment-friendly, products without the support of convenience and price competitiveness can hardly create profits in the green revolution era.

Today, the world is entering a green-tech industry era that we have not experienced before. Arrival of this new era demands that advanced enterprises embrace innovation to maintain their present reputation and gives opportunities for transformation to other enterprises that have fallen behind.

Based on new tech development that is keeping pace with the green growth era, therefore, our SMEs should exert utmost efforts in creating new business models that will be accepted in the market. I believe that the upcoming great reform era will provide momentum for a one-stage take-off for our SMEs, which are, at present, comparatively inferior in the aspects of capital and technology.



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