Investments in sustainability are value creation investments and not an unnecessary cost
The global economy is faced with slow growth, while the uncertainty provoked by the continuing trade tensions has been jeopardising our economic future. Is sustainability the right answer to build the economy of the future?
In recent decades life, due to the use of technology, is getting faster and faster, the world population is increasing, as is the need for natural resources and pollution. The human use of the planet has got to the stage where it seems that nature is saying "enough" and therefore the transformation towards a more sustainable way of living is necessary. On the other hand, the growth which we have experienced in recent years is coming to its end and we will need to find new ways to be successful. Taking both facts into consideration lead us to the answer that a shift towards the creation of a sustainability-based economy is the necessary and smart option, which could also be an important business driver for the future. The climate crisis represents a big threat to the world if we do not react, but on the other hand, it represents a big opportunity for those who will be active in the field of creating a new, more sustainably--based world. The good thing is that we have crossed the point where the investment toward sustainability is now seen as value creation investment and not as an unnecessary cost.
OECD analysis shows that climate finance provided and mobilised by developed countries for developing countries reached USD 71.2 billion in 2017. The goal is to reach USD 100 billion in annual climate finance by 2020. According to the OECD Secretary-General, Mr. Angel Gurría, "we must urgently step up our efforts to provide public climate finance and improve its effectiveness in mobilising private finance". What are your thoughts?
Significant investments are and will be needed to fight the climate crisis, public finance as well as private. The numbers, which are many times mentioned, are in the range of few hundred billion euros and it seems that those investments will not only contribute toward saving the planet, but will also create good returns. The goal of the public sector should be to create the economic environment where pollution will have its price, which will be paid by the polluters, and then we will get much different competitiveness. For example, today, price-wise, nothing can match plastic but, on the other hand, we see the kind of damage that the plastic is causing to our planet. Just imagine the case where we would add to the cost of the damage that the plastic is doing, to all the products made of plastic, we can be sure that, in such conditions, plastic would be a very expensive material and we would prefer to use sustainable/recyclable substitutes made from renewable sources.
How can two megatrends: digitalisation and sustainability walk hand in hand? What are the digital enablers for sustainable infrastructure / Green Tech?
Digitalisation makes things easier and more efficient, while sustainability re-creates our way of living. When we combine both, we get GreenTech, the knowledge and technology-based economy which follows sustainability principles and does not harm the environment. GreenTech is not showing what is wrong, it is showing how to do things right. GreenTech is the answer and a positive approach to the climate crisis.
It is hard to imagine, but 30 years from now we will live a much more different life than today and it will be even more different than the life we lived 30 years ago. I would just like to point out that 30 years ago there was merely the use of the internet and mobile phones. In a period of 30 years, we will use things that today we cannot even imagine, and all those things will be created in the segment, which is today called GreenTech.
You said that GreenTech is an opportunity for Slovenia. How supportive, in practice, is our legislative, economic and political environment? How is the broader community accepting GreenTech? At the end of the day it is an investment, however, longer term, a profit.
Slovenia is a very green country with good infrastructure and highly skilled and knowledgeable people, with some actions we can become a role model and later, based on open market principles, we can help others and the market for this will be high. The ones who will move first will get the sweetest share, legislation change and green tax reforms could be a very good start, as with those two administration can show the way to the business.
I am sure that people would like to eat healthier food, breath fresher air, drink spring water, move around with cleaner cars and livein a more sustainable environment, especially if all of these would be cheaper than other options.
Moving towards a carbon free society will be a process, which has already started, but the way to reach the goals is going to be a long one.
To strengthen environmental and economic ties, on 3 September, the Center for Energy Efficient Solutions (CER) and The Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation signed a partnership agreement. What does the agreement mean for Slovenia?
CER, with its activities, is definitely taking the leading position in the field of a positive approach toward a more sustainable economy. Our campaigns stretch far beyond our events and as such we are desirable partner to many institutions and events such as, for example, the Bled Strategic Forum and the Managers Association Congress.
With the launch of the GreenTech initiative we have made another big step which has been recognised, not only by Slovene companies and institutions, but internationally as well. We can be very proud that in the last year we have established many contacts with different global players and that they see a reliable partner for the region of South East Europe.
In this regard, we have signed the MoU with the Prince Albert II of Monaco Foundation which, for many years, has been one of the most active institutions in the field of Climate Change and Biodiversity preservation. For CER and Slovenia it means opening a new horizon and enables access to many new sources and knowledge databases on the one side, as well as another channel to communicate our activities, strategy and findings. In addition to this, we are discussing and working on some common projects which might be very impactful in the near future.