Sustainability is of critical importance for business and employers, who play a crucial role as generators of development. A sound and solid economy is the necessary enabler of sustainable development. We need to seek solutions beneficial in three aspects: economic, social and environmental. While various stakeholders have much in common in their perceptions of sustainability, they often differ on how to get there. These are some of the conclusions of the discussion on "How business can promote sustainability" that took place on 21 November 2019 in Barcelona, Spain.
"Business is not a problem for sustainability, it is a solution", said Jacek Krawczyk, President of the Employers' Group in his welcoming address. He recalled that business provides and introduces climate and environmental solutions. Ahmed M. El Wakil, President of the Association of Mediterranean Chambers of Commerce and Industry (ASCAME), underlined the importance of Mediterranean cooperation in promoting sustainability.
"Mediterranean cooperation on energy was in the past mainly focused on energy security and distribution. Now it is more and more about renewables and energy efficiency. These aspects will now be in focus, as energy consumption in the region will be growing rapidly", said Houda Ben Jannet Allal, General Director of OME (Observatoire Méditerranéen de l'Energie), who delivered a keynote speech at the meeting.
In the main discussion, representatives of all three EESC Groups put forward their views on sustainability. The debate showed that despite diverging views on sustainability from employers, workers and environmentalists, there is a significant common ground for cooperation. "Competition is key to sustainable development. Competition requires a good regulatory environment but definitely not more regulation" – underlined Tellervo Kylä-Harakka-Ruonala summarising the discussion.
The meeting took place as part of MedaWeek – a yearly conference promoting Mediterranean economic integration. The Members of the Employers' Group took part as speakers in the New Africa Business Development Forum, the ECOmeda Sustainability Summit and the Mediterranean Women Entrepreneurs Forum. During the gala dinner, the President of the Employers' Group, Jacek Krawczyk, received a prize for his contribution to the further development of the Euro-Mediterranean private sector.