“The Bee Group of GLOBE EU is a great opportunity for executives who believe in sustainability, resource efficiency, Corporate Social Responsibility and environmental management; it represents a pivotal moment to share ideas and canalize them into the European political body through the experience of the parliamentarians that support it.”
– Gianluca Manca, co-chair Asset Management Working Group UNEP FI, Head of Sustainability Eurizon Capital, Intesa Sanpaolo.
Some of the changes towards a low-carbon, resource-efficient economy are driven by market dynamics, but not all. More often than not, the current productive model and regulatory framework privatize profits and socialize costs but do little to reward corporate commitments to sustainability. As a matter of fact, markets are distorted by direct and indirect subsidies for unsustainable products and practices. Without the right incentives and market mechanisms to drive sustainability and resource efficiency, citizens see themselves firstly forced to live in a gradually eroded environment resulting from unsustainable productive practices and are, secondly, asked to assume the higher costs of environmentally responsible products as consumers.
Consumers are very price-sensitive, however, when intangible goods, such as sustainability, are sold which is why markets often do not reward corporate commitments to sustainability either. Furthermore, it is democratically questionable to delegate to individual citizens the daunting task of correcting a deliberately distorted market – they already elect political representatives to Government and expect them to legislate in the interest of the people.
Legislators ought to be better at integrating legislation with the bottom line of forward-looking corporations by delivering incentives to innovate towards resource-efficiency, upscale best practices, and new business models and by preventing free-riders from taking advantage from their lack of ambition. This would enable and protect the fastest, vision-driven, corporate actors in each sector, rather than the laggards. Positive legislation is needed to manage the transition towards a more sustainable model. The Eco-Design Directive, driven by voluntary industry agreements and the scope of which keeps widening –from energy-using products to energy-related products and, in the future, to natural resource-related products– is a successful example of this type of legislation.
The Bee Group is a forum for MEPs on one hand and progressive business partners on the other. Its aim is to propose alternatives inspired by innovation and a long-term vision. Its purpose is not to defend any specific interests in the short-term, but to think about the future.