'Green management' has become no longer just optional but essential. Reflecting this trend, Seoul Small and Medium Business Administration (SSMBA) has launched 'Small and Medium business Green Management Support Program' to promote green activities. It selects model green management companies as 'Model Green-Biz' and issues certificates. The selected companies are given priorities when applying for government projects. Also the support project includes offering consulting service to advance Green management. IT Times interviewed Choi Byung-sun, Director of Business Environment Improvement Division at SSMBA, to discuss more about Korea's Green management support projects for small and medium-sized companies.
Below is the Q&A with Choi Byung-sun
Q. Green Growth has become a familiar term to the public after adopting the Kyoto Protocol in 1997. However, not many people know what it really means. How would you describe Green Growth
A: In brief, Green Growth is a virtuous circle to power the economy with environmentally-friendly measures. To be specific, promoting green industrialization to reduce carbon emission, creating jobs by nurturing green industry and increasing national income are the measures to achieve Green Growth. Therefore, it would be a synergic way to achieve growth both environmentally and economically.
Q. We are aware that Small and Medium Business Administration (SMBA) has issued 'Model Green-Biz' certificates for model Green management companies since 2010, could you tell us more about this issue
A: SMBA helps smaller businesses to implement Green management and checks Green efficiency and offers them solutions. 'Model Green-Biz' is also one of those projects. These projects can be accepted as Green management gateway projects supported by the government to help smaller businesses to adopt Green management rather easily.
Firstly, SMBA assesses companies' Green activities according to 'Small and Medium-sized business Green management assessment standard and index', and then selects model companies. When the companies obtain Green-Biz certificates, they get incentives for government bids, raising credit guarantee rate, reducing guarantee commission, reducing interest rate in private banks and bids for big enterprises and distribution companies. Also, we try to improve Green-biz certification process by working with Green experts who can assess companies' management quality and response capability to Green restriction.
This year, we are planning to give KRW 2.52 million in funding to each of the 300 companies and it will be conducted for 5 to 7 man-days within the period of a month. Under the Minor Enterprise Basic Law Article 2, any manufacturing business that has more than ten employees can apply for the fund.
Secondly, another support project is Green management improvement program. Linking with results of the Green assessment, the program helps improve Green-Biz screening process in a mid-long term and establish a better system. This program gives a total of KRW 18 million for six months to the companies that completed a Green management assessment or a short-term site clinic. Please check the Green net website (www.greenbiz.go.kr) for more information about previously listed projects, and you can consult with a Green management promotion team at each regional SMBA office.
Q. What are SMBA's plans for this year and how was the result in 2010 regarding 'Model Green-Biz'
A: 'Model Green-Biz' was first conducted in 2010 and 324 companies applied for Green assessment. Among those companies, 29 companies were selected as 'Model Green-biz'. Also, 304 companies got Green management expert consulting.
In 2011, to invigorate 'Model Green biz' certification, we are planning to offer online education programs for non-selected companies and to visit Green management companies. In addition, we positively consider giving model businesses incentives in government bids, raising credit guarantee rate, reducing guarantee commission, reducing interest rate in private banks and bids for big enterprises and distribution companies.
Q. Besides 'Model Green-Biz', what are the other support programs offered by SMBA
A: SMBA is planning to build Green Supply Chain Management (SCM) for smaller businesses, promote voluntary reduction of Green House Gas (GHG) and support Green business to extend their business abroad.
First program is to build Green SCM for small and medium business. This program is for companies that supply parts or complete products to multi-national companies. It helps them to build a response system to Green restrictions. Through this program, export-driven companies can benefit from its system development and education. Also it offers a complete Green management system for energy, GHG and toxic substance management, and HR training in preparation for oversea's Green restriction response.
Second program is to promote voluntary reduction of GHG to smaller businesses. If a company is willing to reduce energy and GHG voluntarily, we will segregate and assess the company to make and verify inventory and to form a reduction strategy. After verifying the source of GHG within the premise, the amount of emission will be calculated and made into a list. The object of this program is to set a rational reduction target and to establish a strategy for each company within their budget and capacity, and the program is monitored by Korean Standards Association. The government will pay KRW 21 million for six months, which is 75 percent of the project budget; companies only pay KRW 7 million.
The last project we are working on is to help smaller Green businesses expand their market overseas. For smaller companies that are having difficulties penetrating overseas markets on their own, this project associates consortiums between small and big companies, so that they can cooperate in winning overseas contracts. It also organizes seminars about overseas markets, offers consulting and helps build global networking.
Q. Lastly, what would you recommend small and medium-sized companies to do regarding SMBA's Green Growth support projects
A: The Korean government is putting more emphasize on Green Growth than ever before, it has set a target to become one of top seven greenest countries in the world by 2020 and top five by 2040.
Green Growth is becoming more and more important to corporations. Of course, we are fully aware that it is harder to go green for smaller companies than big corporations due to the limited resources. However, we believe that using SMBA's programs appropriately can help overcome lots of problems.
Green Growth is not an option anymore, but a must. So please don't hesitate to ask SMBA any questions about support programs. We will be glad to help you out.