Why a Green, Digital and Competitive SME Index?

The Green, Digital and Competitive Index is a multi-year project intended to support SMEs in the twin transition and accompany the European Commission's European Green Deal programme. It starts from a premise well-known in management consulting: if you want to change something, measure it. Within that rubric, it takes an innovative look at SME performance at the national level in three key areas: 1) Green: How fast are SMEs moving to lower emissions and increase energy efficiency? 2) Digital: How quickly are those enterprises embracing modern technology across their organisations? And 3) Competitive: How quick are they growing and how well performing outside of home markets?

The project is maintained and managed by the Lisbon Council, a Brussels-based think tank. The 2022 Edition - also known as The 2022 Green, Digital and Competitive Index - was launched in Brussels at the Summit on An SME Agenda for the 21st Century. The full report will soon be available in six languages: English, French, German, Italian, Polish and Spanish. A 2023 Edition is in the works.

For more on the Lisbon Council, visit https://www.lisboncouncil.net

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The Green, Digital and Competitive SME Index is a ranking composed of three pillars, nine indicators and 21 sub-indicators. The data used to build the index comes entirely from public sources. All scores are computed using the most recent data available at the close of 2021 (taking March 2022 as the data freezing point). The sub-indicator data ranges from the period 2019 to 2021, depending on the most recent year available for the sub-indicator in question.

The 2022 Green, Digital and Competitive Index: Pillars, Indicators and Subindicators
Pillar Indicator Subindicator Source
I. Digital Transition I.1. SME Digitalisation I.1.1. Share of SMEs using big data analytics Eurostat
I.1.2. Share of SMEs using cloud computing services Eurostat
I.1.3. Share of SMEs using two or more social media channels Eurostat
I.1.4. Share of SMEs with high and very high digital intensity Eurostat
I.1.5. Share of SMEs using any type of ICT security measures Eurostat
I.2. E-commerce I.2.1. Share of SMEs with e-commerce sales in total SMEs Eurostat
I.2.2. Share of SMEs' total turnover from e-commerce sales in total turnover Eurostat
I.3. Digital Skills I.3.1. Share of SMEs that employ ICT specialists in total SMEs Eurostat
I.3.2. Share of SMEs for which ICT functions are performed by own employees in total SMEs Eurostat
I.3.3. Share of SMEs providing training to develop or upgrade ICT skills of personnel Eurostat
II. Green Transition II.1. Natural Resource Conservation II.1.1. Share of SMEs reducing consumption of natural resources (e.g. saving water, energy, materials or switching to sustainable resources) European Commission
II.1.2. Share of SMEs recycling by reusing material or waste within the company European Commission
II.2. Emission Reduction II.2.1. Share of greenhouse gas emissions produced by SMEs in total greenhouse gas emissions Eurostat
II.2.2. Overall change in greenhouse gas emissions (index 1990 = 100) Eurostat
II.3. Green Output II.3.1. Share of SMEs offering green products or services European Commission
II.3.2. Share of SMEs in low intensive greenhouse gas emission sectors in total SMEs Eurostat
III. SME Competitiveness III.1. Exports III.1.1. Share of exporting SMEs in total SMEs Eurostat
III.1.2. SME trade to GDP ratio Eurostat
III.2. Productivity III.2.1. SME labour productivity Eurostat
III.3. Growth III.3.1. Share of high-growth enterprises in total active enterprises (10+ employees) Eurostat
III.3.2. Share of persons employed in high-growth enterprises in total employment (enterprises with 10+ employees) Eurostat

The main aggregation method used is arithmetic average. All pillars, indicators and sub-indicators have been assigned equal weights in the aggregation process. Therefore, an indicator's performance is computed as the arithmetic average of the sub-indicators included in the indicator. Similarly, a pillar's performance is the arithmetic average of the indicators included in the pillar. The overall assessment of a country is the arithmetic average of the component pillars.

For aggregation perspective, the normalisation method used to standardise the indicators' values is the min-max, with the normalisation range of 10 to 100. For the majority of the sub-indicators (19 of 21 indicators), the highest value corresponds to the best performance (100 points), while the lowest value is considered the worst performance (10 points). For two sub-indicators, II.2.1 Share of greenhouse gas emissions produced by SMEs in total greenhouse gas emissions and II.2.2. Change in greenhouse gas emissions, the method is reversed: the lowest value gets the highest score (100 points) and the highest value gets the lowest one (10 points).

You can directly comment on the indicators and methodology at https://makingspeechestalk.com/ch/GDC/?id_speech=79


The Index and dashboard are based entirely on official, publicly available data from the European Commission and Eurostat. The following publications and databases served as the key reference points. The date of access, where relevant, is included as well.

European Commission. Flash Eurobarometer 498: SMEs, Green Markets and Resource Efficiency (Brussels: European Commission, 2022)

Eurostat. Digital Economy and Society, Information and Communication Technology Usage in Enterprises, online version, accessed 17 January 2022

--------------. Sustainable Development Indicators, Goal 13: Climate Action, online version, accessed 14 January 2022

--------------. Structural Business Statistics, online version, accessed 16 March 2022

--------------. Air Emissions Accounts, online version, accessed 11 February 2022

--------------. Annual National Accounts, online version, accessed 21 January 2022

--------------. International Trade in Goods, online version, accessed 25 January 2022