Concrete examples of how businesses can contribute to reduce carbon emissions and the waste of resources were delivered by Veronika Pountcheva, Global Director Corporate Responsibility & Senior Vice President of METRO AG. METRO target is to reduce its C02 emissions by 50 % until 2030, for example investing in photovoltaic, e-mobility, generating its own renewable energy sources and adjusting its supply chain to reduce food waste to the minimum. However, one of the biggest challenges is to convince investors of the profitability of climate protection measures as they are currently more interested in profit margins than in sustainability.
A passionate and vivid intervention came from Sandrine Dixson-Declève, Co-President of the Club of Rome, who believes that we can emerge from the climate emergency, if we manage a just and quick transition that bring businesses, politicians, citizens and workers unions along. Still today, 80% of our economy depends on fossil fuels. However, with the existing strategies and knowledge, we could already decrease carbon emissions by 50% within the next years. Linus Steinmetz, Fridays for Future added that the current genuine effort is higher than ever before, however we still need more ambition when it comes to carbon divestment and should also focus on new job opportunities created by the green transition of the economy.
The discussion with the audience touched upon issues such as how to bring citizens along, especially the most vulnerable groups, as well as the need to create a regulatory level playing field for business at global level. Christian Verschueren, Director General, EuroCommerce, closed an evening full of lively discussions and pointed out to the contribution of the retail and wholesale sector towards climate protection. In this sense, retail and wholesale sector needs to be a positive role model for its customers by offering solutions and strategies to avoid food waste.