Climate change and sustainability: billions of euros are spent on green projects to meet the challenges ahead
Sustainability is one of the most important trends in today’s business environment. The changes companies need to make to meet ESG (Environment, Social and Governance) standards should be of concern to everyone, including consumers. How can we bring about change was the main topic for speakers in the opening panel of the BR’s Environmental & Sustainability Summit 2022.
Ionut Georgescu, Founder and CEO of Fepra Waste Division, emphasized that we all need to speak the same language when it comes to sustainability, because that is the only way to understand its importance.
“Consumers see sustainability as a topic, but we must never forget how important sustainability is today. We should learn from our failures of the past 30 years, that’s the best way to learn and move forward. Each of us can make a difference in the world. As Wener Erhard said, “I welcome the unprecedented opportunity for us to work globally on what concerns all of us human beings. If not you, who? If not now when? If not here, where?’ Ionut Georgescu added that there are 400 billion euros available to finance green projects in Romania and hopes that SMEs will participate with their own projects.
Lara Tassan-Zanin, director of the European Investment Bank in Romania, explained how things have changed in recent years, pointing out that in 2018, when she came to Romania, it was practically impossible to meet responsible for private events such as BR Environment and Sustainability Summit. “But things have changed,” she said.
“In Romania, we have one of the biggest offices, with 40 experts in different fields who are able to find projects that can receive funding. The EIB invests around EUR 1.5 billion each year. As a public bank, we are not driven by profit, so we are interested in financing infrastructure projects. Our loans are the cheapest solutions after subsidies. We will use the money from the PNRR to support SMEs in digital and green projects; we are instructed by the Romanian government to do so,” he added. “We will also inject cash into funds that finance green projects and we will provide guarantees for projects carried out under our supervision.”
Mihai Precup, Secretary of State in the Ministry of Finance, explained that to develop the whole economy, public-private projects (PPP) are needed, so this is one of the main objectives of the ministry. It is also necessary to unlock major projects in the private sector.
“There is a lot of money that can be used for financing the EU, the PNRR, the EBRD, the capital market. But you have to be able to use the funding. So the government and the private sector should work together on projects that can receive the funds,” said Mihai Precup, adding that even in the successful sector like IT&C, which has grown to account for 6% of GDP, we we still need digitization projects that can grow the industry every year.
Bogdan Balaniscu, State Secretary at the Ministry of Environment, Waters and Forests, explained that it is also important to understand how we see Romania in 10, 20 and 30 years, and this is a challenge we we all have to face.
“It is important to find the path to our vision of Romania in 2050 and to keep this path until we achieve the goals we have. Today we have a lot of money through the PNRR for waste management projects and we should use this money. But there are still legal issues to resolve. Even though we have projects that are already in motion and in production, they need a legal framework to use the products,” said Bogdan Balaniscu. “The good news is that over the past year we have managed to master climate challenges, a more dynamic approach on this issue.”
Alexandra-Maria Bocse, State Advisor for Climate and Sustainability in the Presidential Administration of Romania, also showed that we need a plan for 2050. President Klaus Iohannis recently launched a report to fight climate change. climate change, a report which is now the subject of public debate.
“We hope that this report will help Romania to meet the challenges that arise in all aspects of climate change, including natural changes. Regarding climate change like greenhouse gases, we can see that Romania has reduced its emissions over the last 30 years. And that’s very important because we’ve seen how much GDP per capita has increased over the last three decades, which means we can have economic growth while reducing pollution,” Bocse said. “Romania is also one of the biggest holders of biodiversity in Europe and we have this biodiversity because we have been able to conserve the fauna and flora and not destroy them,” she added.
Violeta Nenita, Market Manager at IKEA Romania, explained that all businesses go through big changes and transformations. The pandemic, the climate, the conflicts we see – all are reasons for change.
“We have ambitious goals for 2030. One is connected to the business and we want to be a circular company by 2030. We want our customers to keep the products we sell longer or bring the products back when they decide to change furniture. . Over 60% of our products are made from recycled materials and we aim to recycle all plastic by 2030. By 2025, we aim to have zero emissions in our business. Even though we are going through a crisis right now, we are on track to achieve the goal,” said Violeta Nenita.