GreenTech Forum 2018: "The green economy is not just a business opportunity, it's our future"
Globally, green technologies encourage innovation and new opportunities in the environmental, social and economic fields. In the future, green technologies will bring many changes to daily life and will have a profound impact on organisations. President and Dean of IEDC-Bled School of Management, Professor Danica Purg, is convinced that changing habits will be the toughest nut to crack in the future, stating that children should already be learning about sustainability, because we have only one planet. Professor Purg informed the delegates about the manifesto, 'Changing the Course of Management Development', prepared by CEEMAN and IEDC, which outlines the key areas where change is urgently needed to make management education more relevant to the needs of business and society, and therefore includes sustainability and ethics, as solutions often focus on increasing capital rather than the long term.
Ana Struna Bregar, CEO, CER, highlighted that if we care about the future, values, society and the economy, we have to find solutions for a more sustainable future. "Companies, individuals and the state need to change - we need and deserve better, that is why we need to change this." Rok Vodnik, M.Sc., Board Member at Petrol d.d. and President of the CER Board said that CER wants to accelerate the transition towards a green economy. Therefore, discussion at GTF focused on the topics of how to make Slovenian a successful green economy and as such, part of the international environment, while at the same exploiting the potential, knowledge and technologies.
Gregor Benčina, President of the GreenTech Council and President of Slovenijales Group, said that the green tech movement is assessed by Forbes to be a US $1 trillion industry. "We are moving from basic to smart, from fossil to renewable and the trend goes toward well managed resources. However, some companies remain part of traditional industries; in Slovenia, we do have some good smart initiatives including Knauf Insulation, the biggest producer of green roofs, Jelovica - smart houses, IEDC - one of the best schools in the world and Talking Tom one of the best-known products from Slovenia."
Not only are innovations important, but also the innovations supported with public policies, pointed out Dr Janez Potočnik, Former European Union Commissioner for the Environment and Co-Chair of the UNEP International Resource Panel in his video address to the conference. "We do not need cars, but mobility. We do not need refrigerators, but cooling. If a manufacturer offers this solution, things will change the situation completely".
"Finding new strategies, processes and measurements for the paradigm shift is the purpose of our global World Institute for Sustainability and Ethics (WISE) network of leading research centres", explained Professor René Schmidpeter, IEDC Lecturer and WISE institute Chair. He pointed out that sustainability is not only about avoiding negative impact, but also about creating positive impact! "The companies that will green their business models will be the winners of tomorrow and others will disappear in the next 10 years". More than 60% of top management believes that sustainability contributes to profit, stated Schmidtpeter, but it is important that they share the concept with their stakeholders and convince them! Tomaž Lanišek, Director Knauf Insulation d.o.o., explained the greening process first hand: "Our mission is to challenge conventional thinking and create innovative insulation solutions that shape the way we live and build in the future, with care for the people who make them, the people who use them and the world we all depend on. We have been part of the Green Roofs, horticulture and landscaping industry for years, delivering the high-quality Rock Mineral Wool growing medium to growers around the globe."
In the roundtable discussion, Professor Dušan Mramor, former Slovenian Minister of Finance and Professor at the Faculty of Economics, University of Ljubljana, said that Slovenian civil society is pushing the green legislation which he notices from the students. "It is a huge and very nice opportunity to overcome the rational behavior of consumers", said Dr Iztok Seljak, Director, Hidria Holding d.o.o. Federico Fioretto, International Consultant for Sustainable Development, pointed out that we need to think long term, although some things are good for the moment." From the country brand perspective, Alenka Suhadolnik, M.Sc., Director General for Economic and Public Diplomacy, Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, agreed that that the Slovenian country brand is not well known, although 'green' is already included in many of the promotional country slogans. "Our diplomacy needs to find the opportunities for Slovenian know-how."