María Mendiluce, CEO of the We Mean Business coalition, shared her vision of the energy transition, the challenges of decarbonization and how these changes could affect the economy. "There has never been a more pressing need. It also has a very positive effect on people's pockets. It’s good for the economy and for the planet," she said in conversation with BBVA's Global Head of Sustainability, Javier Rodríguez Soler, in the framework of 'Companies with a Sustainable Future.'
"We ran a study recently that pointed out that a family could save $2,000 a year by switching to cleaner energy," Mendiluce explained from Geneva. In her view, all circumstances are in place to accelerate this transformation, including the current state of innovation and digitalization. Mendiluce also warns we should not go backwards by building more oil and gas infrastructure or returning to coal.
She agrees with Javier Rodríguez Soler on the importance of public-private partnerships to achieve the objectives of the Paris Agreement. "Regulatory action is crucial, but the role of the companies in sending the right signals is even more critical. We call it an 'ambition group'," she explained. “Leading companies are inspiring confidence in governments, which now see how multinationals such as BBVA, Unilever or BMW are committing to reduce their emissions and adhere to stricter regulations and policies that help cut emissions. That leads to even more companies having to comply with the targets."
Both executives agree on the key role that banks play on the path to a greener and more inclusive future. Mendiluce stresses the great opportunity that financing this transition represents and what it means for a bank to encourage the companies in which it invests to invest, in their turn, in other committed enterprises. This has a "multiplier" effect, Javier Rodríguez Soler explained.
In the context of COP 27, the CEO of We Mean Business stressed that the impacts of climate change are global. Those who are suffering the most from its consequences are the countries that have caused the problem the least. "It is very unfair," she said. "This is a highly contentious issue that is often debated in international negotiations because the most developed countries have committed to give money to developing countries and they should fulfill their commitments," Mendiluce pointed out.
'Companies with a sustainable future' is a series of dialogues that shares experiences and case studies of companies and sectors that view sustainability as a major business opportunity.
Javier Rodríguez Soler, BBVA's Global Head of Sustainability, conducts interviews with prominent business leaders and international organizations that are committed to a greener and more inclusive world.