“Companies are incorporating value in this, they are seeing the opportunities open to them. There is a relevant factor in that today’s companies are moving or passing through this transformation process, to identify what their impacts are and to work to reduce them”
A study conducted by the NGO Germanwatch found that over the past 20 years, Chile has incurred expenditure amounting to $9 billion as a result of climate disasters. 46% of this sum was spent within the last three years. These figures are cause for concern, and have encouraged companies to make moves in favor of the planet.
“It brings great pride to see how Santiago is changing to become the city with the second highest number of electric buses in the world - and we achieved this in Chile,” notes David Falcon. He also adds that the Government is active in this area. This May the Ministry of the Treasury announced the groundbreaking issue of a sovereign green bond. This has made Chile the first country in the Americas to enact such an initiative at the governmental level, setting an example regarding the vital need to transform business activities into environmentally friendly projects.
“When green bonds are issued, more initiatives begin to appear. The cold world of the bottom line becomes imbued with the topic, and you realize that working on green projects is good for business. These are long-term projects that lead to less impact on the community. You start to see how these funds and investments are available, they get more development, and there are more investors ready to get involved with them”
Green bonds are similar to normal bonds, but with the difference that they can only be used to finance projects that protect and are friendly to the environment. “This is something new to the country and shows that not only companies can work in this area: the State can also finance a mechanism that works for all citizens. Companies find themselves influenced by the actions of the State. Previously, unless a law one in place, companies did not react. This area is now changing drastically,” states Falcon.
Not just good intentions
Each day the business community innovates new examples for how to mitigate the effects of global warming, setting out to make a real change that brings benefits to the community.
“Today, the move to green activities brings better returns than traditional ways of doing business, and there is much more emphasis on public and social cohesion in terms of generating goodwill. Nowadays this is an area that cannot be ignored, because it is a tangible social asset and we need to ensure that we meet consumers’ needs”
Experts believe that companies’ decision making needs to be fully apprised of sustainability concerns, seeking to generate real benefits, not just ‘greenwashing’. “When it comes to operating and interacting with the community, when companies only pay attention to their image, experience has shown that company value and social cohesion diminish over the course of time,” adds Falcon, who maintains that “today’s businesses are not looking kindly on projects that fail to generate a positive environmental impact.”