Climate change is not a fashionable subject; it is a necessity, a duty that we have to the world and to future generations. Although these days it is getting a lot of media attention due to the 21st International Climate Change Conference, it is something that institutions, companies and non-governmental organisations always have in their sights.
In fact, the business sector has been taking measures for years to reduce their emission of greenhouse gases. By establishing these commitments they also want to promote the opportunities that a low-carbon economy presents, particularly for countries like Spain. In November 2014, Ferrovial created, along with close to 40 other companies, the Spanish Green Growth Group, an initiative in conjunction with the Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Environment. Last month, the success of this initiative led to the establishment of an independent business association, with its own legal body, which brings together nearly thirty companies including Acciona, BBVA, Banco Santander, CaixaBank, Gas Natural, Heineken, Iberdrola, Mapfre, NH Hoteles, PWC and Telefonica.
Following the establishment of the group and looking towards the Paris Conference (COP21), the group made a public declaration announcing the importance of establishing a global legally binding agreement relating to the issue of climate change. In this declaration they highlighted the following aspects:
- The work must be shared between countries in an equal manner.
- Equally, the agreements should involve all economic sectors.
- It’s essential that negotiators are asked to make every possible effort to ensure that the commitments defined at COP21 Paris guarantee that global warming does not increase by 2ºC.
- Clear, achievable and measurable objectives must be defined and they should establish the conditions to move towards a carbon price determination model. They should also look towards the long-term and at investing in innovation in order to develop a low-carbon economy.
- It is necessary for agreements to set out favourable frameworks for the promotion of RDI in the search for technological solutions with the intention of meeting commitments to reduce emissions, and which make it possible to progress towards the identification of new lines of economic activity.
In May 2015, the group published the document “Declaración de Barcelona” (Barcelona Declaration), where they defined their vision of a model of economic growth which is compatible with the efficient use of natural resources. The declaration has become the guidebook for the group, focusing on the following aspects:
- The importance of recognising the potential of this economic growth model for Spain, developing policies that create a favourable environment to make them possible
- To contribute to the generation and dissemination of the knowledge required in order to enable the necessary changes, directly involving the people in the process
- To develop funding and to reduce the barriers that prevent certain projects from accessing the market
- To lay out a new fiscal model that encourages eco-efficiency and the development of “green” solutions
- To encourage public-private partnerships as a solution to the challenges faced (something also highlighted by the latest report from the IPCC)
- To create a favourable environment for the development of the model, and serve as an important partner of the business sector in association with public administration, business associations, professional bodies, universities and other stakeholders, both nationally and internationally.
And all this begins in each of our organizations, within these 27 companies with around 215,000 employees (in Spain alone). We must pass on these commitments to those closest to us in order to make them a reality.