By the EESC Employers' Group

A growing number of European companies have already changed their mind-sets and, over and above the strictly business aspects, are now taking environmental and social aspects into consideration as well in their daily operations. To make the transition to a green economy a success, the EU needs to provide a level playing field for its companies, boosting competitiveness and investment.

These are some of the conclusions of the conference on Business for Climate Neutral Europe – Making the most of the SDGs and the Green Deal,  held on 9 March in Split, Croatia.

"Business is not the problem but part of the solution when we are talking about achieving climate neutrality and implementing the SDGs", observed Jacek Krawczyk, president of the EESC Employers' Group, at the opening of the conference.

Gordana Deranja, president of the Croatian Employers' Association, underlined that the starting point differed among the countries, and even the regions, in the EU, something that had to be taken into account in greening the economy.

"Progress in aligning the European economy with the SDGs will advance at different rates in the different EU countries, but this is a turning point, especially for the smaller economies", remarked Tomislav Ćorić, Croatian Minister of Environmental Protection and Energy.

The first discussion panel focused on how businesses integrated the Sustainable Development Goals in their daily operations. Participants agreed that sustainability and environment issues were having a growing impact on customers' decisions. Only those companies that adjusted to the new mind-set and treated the SDGs as an indispensable part of their business model would succeed in the future.

The second panel looked into the consequences of the European Green Deal for EU industry. The panellists concluded that the implementation of the European Green Deal had to go hand in hand with a level playing field for companies competing on the global markets.

The conference was organised jointly by the Employers' Group, the Croatian Employers' Association, UN Global Compact Network Croatia and the Faculty of Economics of the University of Split. (lj)