UNESCO’s former Director-General and the former Minister of Education, Federico Mayor Zaragoza, has warned that society seems to be forgetting its intergenerational responsibilities when it comes to stopping climate change. "Children must be our top priority; the new generations", he said during his speech at the Deusto Business School in Madrid, 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 as part of the climate summit in Madrid to highlight the business perspective on climate change.
Hence, Mayor Zaragoza's speech was followed by that of representatives from various 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 for the planet's climate, which must be fully in force by January 2020.
Throughout his lecture, Mayor Zaragoza encouraged those present to lose their fear to act and appealed to citizens, who now have their own voice, to be actors of their own responsibility in the face of climate change, and to do so before reaching a point of no return.
In the opinion of UNESCO’s former director-general, the main mission of entrepreneurs is to dare to. It is important to dare to learn and then to learn to dare, he explained. In his view, we can no longer afford to be mere spectators. "The challenge today lies in daring and it is a fully entrepreneurial mission”.
Mayor Zaragoza added that what happens to future generations is our responsibility, so the time has come for us to act. "This must be our top priority", he stated and concluded by saying that thanks to entrepreneurs’ courage, future generations will not look back one day and despise us for not having dared to act.
UNESCO’s former Director-General's lecture was followed by a roundtable discussion which continued to address the entrepreneurial vision of the climate summit. A panel was held, moderated by the director of Deusto Business School, Iñaki Ortega, and with the participation of 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, apart from the actions of governments, the time has come for companies and civil society to take a step forward and act responsibly, which requires both business innovation and individual behaviour.
María Cordón highlighted this last point, encouraging everyone to adopt behaviours that not only care for the environment, but also for their own health. She called for greater attention to the harmful effects that pollution has on human beings and spoke of the increase in autoimmune diseases, as well as cancer, Parkinson's and Alzheimer's, among others. She stated that if attention is not paid to the health effects of toxic elements, it could be the case that the next generations will be the first ones whose longevity is less than the current one. Therefore, he demanded that some measures be taken to reduce the use of chemical pollutants. He added that some of the activities of Blue Healthcare are the analysis of the presence of toxic elements and electromagnetic waves in companies or private homes, with specific advice to reduce exposure to them.
The president of AirCorp also said that it is time for civil society and entrepreneurs to take a step forward for the environment and, in this regard, he encouraged business innovation and gave the example of the activities developed by his company in re-capturing Co2 and other greenhouse gases.
Jordi Berguinzo explained the characteristics of the project launched by his company to analyse and promote packaging and glass recycling habits because he said that this type of behaviour is essential so that we all contribute to the fight against climate change.
In the same vein, Ignacio Huic said that each one of us must do our bit for the environment and the fight against climate change. He explained that Innoenergy, a sustainable energy accelerator that operates with funds from the European Commission, works to promote business solutions that contribute to the fight against climate change through innovation.