02 December 2019
The former Director-General of Unesco and former Minister of Education, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, has warned that society seems to be forgetting intergenerational responsibilities when it comes to curbing climate change. "Our absolute priority must be children; the new generations", he said during his speech at the Madrid headquarters of Deusto Business School, coinciding with the opening of COP 25, which is being held these days in Spain.
Deusto Business School and Madrid Foro Empresarial have organised this forum within the framework of the climate summit in Madrid to highlight the business perspective on climate change. For this reason, Mayor Zaragoza's speech was followed by those of representatives from different business sectors who analysed the importance of this climate summit, as it is the last meeting to activate the Paris Agreement, conceived as the first binding global pact in defence of the planet's climate, which has to be fully in force by January 2020.
In his lecture Mayor Zaragoza encouraged people to lose their fear of taking action and appealed to citizens, who now have a voice of their own, to be able to be actors in their own responsibility in the face of climate change and to do so before they reach the point of no return.
According to Unesco’s former Director-General, daring is the great mission of entrepreneurs. It is important to dare to learn in order to learn to dare, he explained. In his view, we can no longer afford to be mere spectators. "Daring is fundamental today and it is a fully entrepreneurial mission".
Mayor Zaragoza said that what happens to future generations is our responsibility, so the time has come for us to act. "This must be our absolute priority," he said, concluding with the hope that because of this entrepreneurial daring, future generations will not look back one day and despise us for not having dared to act.
The lecture by the former director general of Unesco was followed by a panel discussion on the business vision of the climate summit. The panel, moderated by the director of Deusto Business School, Iñaki Ortega, included the CEO of Blue Healthcare, María Cordón; the president of CleanAirCorp, Mario Oriol; the CEO of Recircula, Jordi Berguinzo and the representative of Innoenergy, Ignacio Huic.
All of them agreed with Mayor Zaragoza when he said that, regardless of the actions of governments, the time has come for companies and civil society to step forward and act responsibly, which requires both business innovations and individual behaviour.
María Cordón emphasised this last point, encouraging everyone to adopt behaviour that not only cares for the environment, but also for their own health. He called for greater attention to the harmful effects of pollution on human beings and spoke of the increase in autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer, Parkinson's disease and Alzheimer's disease. He said that if we do not pay attention to the effects of toxic elements on health, it might be the case that the next generations will be the first ones whose longevity will be shorter than the current one, and he urged that some measures be taken to reduce the use of polluting chemicals. He added that Blue Healthcare's activities include the analysis of the presence of toxic elements and electromagnetic waves in companies or private homes, with specific advice on how to reduce exposure.
The president of AirCorp also said that it is time for civil society and the business community to take a step forward in environmental defence. In this regard, he encouraged business innovation and gave as an example the activities developed by his company in the field of Co2 and other greenhouse gas recapture.
Jordi Berguinzo, explained the characteristics of the project set up by his company to analyse and promote packaging and glass recycling habits because he stated that this type of behaviour is fundamental for all of us to contribute to combating climate change.
In the same vein, Ignacio Huic said that each one of us must do our bit in caring for the environment and the fight against climate change. He explained that Innoenergy, a sustainable energy accelerator funded by the European Commission, works to promote business solutions that contribute to the fight against climate change through innovation.
The speakers concluded that we are all obliged to work to leave a better planet for the next generations.