The First Ministerial Summit on Environmental Sustainability to ensure a rapid and just transition to a low-carbon economy, co-organised by the OECD, together with MINAE, the Ministry of Foreign Trade and the support of the European Union, was held on 5 October at the Costa Rica Convention Centre.
The meeting, which attended by senior officials from the region and other countries around the world, was aligned with the objectives of the OECD Regional Programme for Latin America and the Caribbean (RPLAC) and was held under the theme “Economic resilience, green and just transition”. OECD Ministers and representatives discussed the region’s environmental challenges, possible solutions and recommendations with a call for joint and supportive action to share knowledge and experiences to address global and regional challenges in a coordinated and effective manner.
Enhancing the contribution of business to economic resilience and the green transition
Within the framework of the summit, the first Business International American Caribbean (OECD) meeting was held with the participation of managers and senior executives from the region who discussed the role of the business sector in the green transition in LAC and the challenges they face in moving forward in this area.
In Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC), the business sector plays a key role in promoting and accelerating the green transition towards a more sustainable and environmentally friendly economic model. This region rich in natural resources and biodiversity faces significant environmental challenges, such as climate change, ecosystem degradation and resource scarcity, which require a collective and committed response from both the public and private sectors.
In this regard, Agustina Catone, Director of Responsible Business and Corporate Ethics at Telefónica Hispam, who was invited to the meeting, began her presentation by highlighting the importance of adequate regulatory, fiscal and financial frameworks to drive digitalisation in the green transition.
Telefónica as an ally of sustainable development in Latin America
As part of the initiatives in pursuit of climate and energy change, from Telefónica is promoting actions in pursuit of energy efficiency (reducing emissions scope I, II and III and increasing the use of renewable energies), the management of electronic waste, the extension of sustainability in the value chain with Eco Rating, and the development of Eco Smart products and services. These solutions do not only generate operational and cost-saving benefits, but also environmental benefits.
The implementation of sustainable practices and the expansion of projects related to the green transition generate employment in the region. This includes the creation of jobs in renewable energy production, waste management and ecosystem restoration, which contributes to economic growth and social stability. For this job creation to take place, adequate training and re-skilling is needed in areas -such as renewable energy and new materials-, and in technologies -such as artificial intelligence-, as well as in sociology and how to adapt society to the changes that these new jobs will bring about. In this sense, Fundación Telefónica Movistar has been promoting the development of these new skills for some time now to ensure that no one is left behind.
To extend sustainable management throughout the value chain, companies in the region are adopting responsible sourcing practices, promoting sustainable production and fair trade. This not only reduces negative environmental impacts in supply chains, but also supports local communities and enhances the reputation of companies.
No digitisation, no green transition
In summary, Agustina Catone concluded by emphasizing the most relevant points to accelerate progress towards the implementation of the green transition in the region.
- Without digitisation there is no green transition.
- Strong policy and regulatory mechanisms are needed to further develop decarbonisation plans based on digitisation.
- The green transition is a work of public-private articulation, requiring support from the ecosystem as well as increased financing.
- The urgency to reduce greenhouse gases is clear; a goal in which telecommunications services can play a key role, helping other businesses to improve and advance their energy efficiency by assisting them in their digital transformation. Digital skills need to be developed to accelerate this transition without leaving anyone behind.