María Mendiluce (We Mean Business): "The energy transition "is good for the planet and for the economy"

MADRID, 17 Nov.

María Mendiluce (We Mean Business): "The energy transition "is good for the planet and for the economy"


The CEO of the We Mean Business coalition, María Mendiluce, has advocated strengthening the fight against climate change and accelerating the energy transition because this is not only "good for the planet", but also "for the economy and for the pocket" of citizens, especially in the current context of energy crisis and high inflation.

In an online conversation with the global head of Sustainability at BBVA, Javier Rodríguez Soler, within the framework of the "Companies with a sustainable future" dialogues, organized by the bank, Mendiluce mentioned a We Mean Business study according to which a family can save $2,000 a year by choosing to use cleaner energy.

To a question about how the economic impact of the war in Ukraine will influence the European Union's plans to move towards a low-carbon economy, he replied that, unlike what they defended a few years ago, now there are large companies in sectors industrialists who advocate promoting the use of renewable energy.

"Before they said that this was very expensive. Now it is not very expensive, now everyone knows that we have to install heat pumps and solar panels and that we have to prepare and insulate the buildings better so as not to lose energy. I think it is a very important change," he declared.

However, Mendiluce believes that "much more can be done", especially by governments, which must reduce red tape to speed up the construction of these facilities.

"There has never been a more pressing need" and, furthermore, "it is profitable", he stressed, betting on taking advantage of this moment to accelerate the ecological transition and leave gas, oil and coal behind.

On the other hand, he has described public-private collaboration as "very important" to achieve the objectives set by the Paris Agreement for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

With respect to companies, he stated that, if the goal of halving emissions by 2030 is to be achieved, those that are committed to it should not be thousands, but millions.

Even so, he has celebrated that leading companies such as BBVA, Unilever or BMW "are giving governments confidence" by assuming their own commitments, because this encourages public administrations to approve stricter policies and laws to cut emissions, which must be also fulfilled by other companies.

Regarding banks, Mendiluce said that their role is very important because they have the opportunity to finance the energy transition, in which "a lot of money is going to be invested", and because they have to invest in companies that have set energy reduction targets. the emissions.

Thus, banks will require these commitments from companies to finance them and these, in turn, will ask other companies with which they are related within their value chain, according to the CEO of We Mean Business, a non-profit coalition for-profit that works with companies in the fight against climate change. Rodríguez Soler has confirmed this "multiplier" effect to which Mendiluce has alluded.

On the other hand, the expert has exemplified how technology and innovation can help to make the necessary changes to reach zero net emissions in 2050, mentioning the case of the Swedish company Hybrit, which, after being the first to manufacture the first ton of zero-emission steel, has prompted other steel companies to make zero-emission commitments.

"We need this type of disruption in all sectors and in all processes. This is a great business opportunity and a great opportunity for young people coming out of university to think of a different way of doing things differently and of use technology", he defended.

Finally, Mendiluce has warned of how "unfair" it is that the impacts of climate change especially affect the countries that have contributed the least to generating this phenomenon.

"It is a very contentious issue that is frequently debated in international negotiations, since the most developed countries have promised to give money to developing countries and they have to fulfill their commitments," he said. She believes that if that help is not provided, developed countries will end up receiving significant numbers of climate-related immigrants.