Project Details

Title: Developing Sustainable Regions through Responsible SMEs
Priority: 1: Innovation and the knowledge economy
Theme: Entrepreneurship and SMEs

Type of intervention

Type of intervention: 1: Regional Initiative Project
Mini-programme: No
Duration: 1st Jan 2012 - 30th Sep 2014


Total budget: €1,229,318.34
ERDF contribution: €980,558.02

Lead partner

Foundation FUNDECYT Scientific and Technological Park
Avda. Elvas S/N
6071, Badajoz

  • Click for contact details
    • Contact Person: Patricia da Costa Félix Bermejo
      Phone: 0034 924 014 600
      Fax: 0034 924 001 996

Project summary

The issue to be tackled by the DESUR project is that of the difficulty that the SME of today is experiencing in becoming a business responsible with their environment. SMEs have neither the resources nor the awareness necessary to adopt sustainable practices such as: respect for the natural environment, removal of barriers and inequalities, lifelong learning, increased productivity, efficient resource usage, better quality of life for employees, etc.


Given that 99% of companies in the EU-27 are SMEs and that they employ two thirds of European workers (European Commission Oct. 2010), the inactivity of SMEs in adopting such practices is a barrier to the sustainable development in a region.


The regions that make up the project want to develop policies to make it easier for SMEs to adopt sustainable practices in their day to day business. That is, foster eco-innovation in the SMEs to increase competitiveness, create quality employment and be more respectful with the environment.

The main objective of the project is, therefore, to improve policies, instruments and methodologies to promote responsible innovation in SMEs to progress on the path of sustainability.


The DESUR partnership is made up of local and regional representatives from 8 European countries, including regions with a high degree of experience in such policies and regions who wish to advance in the development of new policies.


The innovative component of the project is to address the issue from a holistic perspective. The responsible company is one that performs actions based on the three pillars of sustainability: Profit, People and Planet while at the same time maintaining the balance between all three. Without economic benefit (Profit), it is not possible to perform actions on the other axis. Without motivated personnel (People), a company will be less successful. Without caring for their environment (Planet), it cannot be said that the company achieves good results.

The activities to be developed throughout the project will achieve the exchange of experiences, knowledge and good practices in policies through the collaboration of the participating regions.


Activities will be developed to train staff members so that specific good practices in policies and tools can be transferred to their region; such as innovative public procurement, tax relief or public recognition through labeling or award schemes. The transfer will be ensured through the preparation and production of Implementation Plans for each region. Furthermore, the results and findings of the project that may also be of interest to other regions will be disseminated, as a guide of Good Practices and Recommendations.


The improved policies as a result of all these activities will contribute to the local or regional level of compliance of the objectives the EU 2020 Strategy, to become a smart sustainable and inclusive economy.

Project achievements

DESUR (Developing Sustainable Regions through Responsible SME’s) is a European Funded Project co financed by the INTERREG IVC Programme, which aims to promote responsible innovation in SMEs through the exchange of experiences among partners, based on the triple bottom line: PEOPLE - PROFIT - PLANET. The project addresses the difficulties that SMEs encounter when trying to incorporate social responsibility into their business model.

After a period of analysis in order to identify the existing gaps and practices to promote sustainability in the participating regions as well as the barriers and opportunities SME have to introduce sustainability into their daily operations, seven study visits were done for an in-depth analysis of good practices.

As a result of the work done 14 best practices were selected and the staff exchanges were launched. During the staff exchange process (from the 2nd semester 2013 until the 1st semester 2014) project partners focused on an individual in situ analysis of the good practices identified and the development of 7 individual implementation plans in order to establish the strategic basis for future CSR promoting programmes. At least 40 specific activities were defined to be developed in each participating region.

In addition, at least 20 staff members have concluded the project with new additional skills and capacities to define and implement new CSR promoting policies which will contribute to the development of future more sophisticated activities, directly stressing on the "sustainable competitiveness" of regional SMEs, and will potentially extend to other regions the learned practices.

In this sense, as one of the main results of the project, an additional interregional implementation plan has been developed in order to define and launch activities in cooperation with other (DESUR and non-DESUR) international partners. This document takes into account the best practices identified during DESUR, prioritizing the incorporation of regional SMEs from the beginning, promoting CSR as an itinerary to boost the competitiveness in collaboration between SMEs, among others.

It is also remarkable that, during the project, some DESUR partners defined and are now implementing a new "spin off" project (R-ICT Project, CIP ICT-PSP programme), which is focused on the promotion of responsible ICT for a sustainable future (

The project allow DESUR partnership identify the importance of defining and improving specific policies and programmes for the promotion of the CSR in the regional SMEs as a way of having more competitive SMEs, specially in those strategic sectors and priority areas which are being also addressed by the Smart Specialisation Strategies (S3 Strategies) at regional level.

In this sense, DESUR partners are now implementing or analysing the best way of implementing some specific policy instrument:

- Instruments for the Impact analysis of the CSR-based management models in business competitiveness, and CSR Labelling systems.

- Specific CSR promotion policy-monitoring systems, and CSR Regional Observatories and other regional CSR policy gobernance structures and working structures (regional round tables)

- Interregional joint pilot programmes between universities for the promotion of CSR in the Academia.


Institution, Town Country Region Contact details
Foundation FUNDECYT Scientific and Technological Park, Badajoz SPAIN Extremadura 0034 924 014 600
Southern & Eastern Regional Assembly (South West Regional Authority, until 31/05/2014), Waterford IRELAND Southern and Eastern 00 353 21 487 6877
Region of Western Macedonia, European Programmes Office, Kozani GREECE Dytiki Makedonia +30 2461 053105
Metropolitan City of Bologna ("Province of Bologna, until 31/12/2014"), Bologna ITALY Emilia-Romagna + 39 051 659 8539
Kaunas University of Technology, Kaunas LITHUANIA Lietuva 37037300763
Municipality of Forest/Vorst- Brussels-Capital region, Brussels BELGIUM Région de Bruxelles-Capitale / Brussels Hoofdstedelijk Gewest 322/3702208.-322/3347282-322/3347295,, jean –
Pannon Business Network Association, Győr HUNGARY Nyugat-Dunantul +36 96 506 935
Labour fund Zasavje, foundation for active employment policy, Zagorje ob Savi SLOVENIA Vzhodna Slovenija +386(0)35660519;
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