Learn & act fast: sustainable development with people as top priority
At a time when governments are agreeing to economic stimulus packages to help people and organizations survive the likely recession, it’s our job – as global businesses and industries – to make sure that sustainability and climate action are embedded in these packages. We need to step up and work as one to realize this, just as we are currently doing in our fight against COVID-19. Together, we can ensure these key topics remain high on the agenda of national and international institutions, along with accessible healthcare.
For example, EU tendering rules have been adapted to include total cost of ownership, but this is still not broadly understood or applied by national or regional governments, let alone municipalities. They still procure based on lowest initial cost, regardless of the environmental impact. If we can collaborate and make sustainability a key requirement to win tenders, this will support the economy and the environment at the same time. Other examples of green stimulus could be a European alignment on chemical, product and waste legislation to increase recycling and the development of ‘green products’, and the promotion of circular ownership models to consumers.
The need to team up is widely recognized and was also emphasized in a recent Oxford survey among financial and economic experts in G20 countries, which highlighted that climate impact potential is one of the most important dimensions of fiscal recovery packages. At the same time, other research clearly shows that countries with an active long-term strategy for approaching global warming targets will be economically and financially better off than others.
As a global business, Philips focuses on the development of sustainable innovation that can help improve the quality of care and expand access to care to underserved communities, while taking our planet into account. This means realizing energy savings, minimizing resource use wherever possible, increasing the use of recycled materials in our products, etc. We advocate partnerships and close collaboration with our industry peers – in both the private and public sectors – to stimulate learning and organize change. It enables us to speed up and scale new technologies – and their adoption across the globe. Philips’ sustainability targets have always been progressive, and it is our duty to share our experience and knowledge, demonstrating that investments in people and our planet are good for business.
This is also emphasized by Frans Timmermans, Executive Vice President of the European Commission, who was recently quoted saying: “We have to invest in a new economy to come out of this crisis in a better shape compared to how we went into it; ready for the future, sustainable, inclusive, competitive and well prepared […] because it is more profitable to protect the environment than to destroy it. This could just be our best chance to do this.”