Can Small and Medium Enterprises Participate in Greener Production?

The shift toward a green economy in Latin America and the Caribbean poses key challenges for small- and medium-sized firms, which make up 98% of all businesses and employ more than 65% of the region's workforce. This project will examine policy options to promote green technologies and processes among smaller firms.

Green production challenges
In Latin America as elsewhere, environmental considerations are changing patterns of consumption, production, and trade. Yet small firms face major challenges to increase productivity, insert themselves into global value chains, and improve working conditions and human resources. Changing environmental standards and technologies intensify these challenges. Companies operating in environmentally sensitive and polluting sectors face the biggest hurdles. In fact, the region boasts a high concentration of these small and labour-intensive firms.

Solutions to help firms cope with the transition
Can the potential negative impact of this desirable move toward a green economy be mitigated? This project aims to inform policies to support firms and workers in this transition. It will assess the impact of adopting new technologies, production standards, and trade requirements on firms in the region.

The project team will also develop a set of indicators on green production at the company level. These indicators will allow researchers to monitor the transition to a greener economy, raise awareness of the need to measure environmental sustainability at the firm level, and support policymakers with evidence. This information may be used to redesign policies and other instruments to encourage environmentally friendly production.

The project will help build skills in national statistics offices across the region by giving them the knowledge they need to develop and integrate green indicators into their regular business surveys.

Project team expertise
The Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean (ECLAC), an important regional policy think tank, will manage the project. ECLAC is the Executive Secretariat of the Statistical Conference of the Americas, the main body setting the agenda for official statistics in the region.

The project team will benefit from the technical expertise of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development and the United Nations Environment Programme. ECLAC will also manage the support to regional research centres and the participation of national statistical offices.

Project ID


Project status


End Date

Tuesday, August 8, 2017


24 months

IDRC Officer

Ben Petrazzini

Total funding

CA$ 466,500


South America


Employment and Growth

Project Leader

Mario Cimoli


Comisión Económica para América Latina y el Caribe/Economic Commission for Latin America and the Caribbean/Commission économique pour l'Amérique latine et les Caraïbes

Institution Country


Institution Website