Op-Ed: Promoting a sustainable economy after COVID-19 crisis
One of the topics that interests me the most and that I have always wanted to promote inside and outside my professional life is the importance of building sustainable economies, that is, working together to establish local economies that are economically and environmentally responsible.
To understand it better, sustainable economic growth is economic development that attempts to meet the needs of humans, but in a way that sustains natural resources for future generations.
Now, in the face of this crisis, the issue is stronger than before. The COVID-19 pandemic is first and foremost a humanitarian crisis, and efforts to contain the virus and support those affected are a top priority. As entrepreneurs, we also have a responsibility to assess how the pandemic will impact the future of sustainable development and what we can do to counter this impact.
The reality is that in general there is a misconception of what “sustainability” means and it is attributed solely to reducing carbon emissions, protecting the environment, etc. But sustainability goes further, of course it seeks to protect our natural environment, human and ecological health, but it is also a great driver of innovation.
I think one of the objectives is for companies to manage innovation under sustainable structures at a social, environmental and economic level. To innovate requires leadership and structure; we must generate innovation through sustainable value.
Although many economists disagree on the importance of the environment with respect to economic activity, I think that most entrepreneurs agree on some concepts. For example, the fact that natural resource extraction as well as pollution are caused by economic activities. And that marketing and any business strategy must be connected to environmental or social sustainability.
It’s also important to understand that many of the costs of the damage created by economic activities have a very negative impact on people who do not obtain the benefits of the economic activity or accept to pay the costs related to it.
The good news is that as best sustainability practices are adopted, companies, both small and established, are accelerating a very big change.
A truly sustainable economy will look different depending on your industry. In agriculture, it will mean the elimination of poverty in smallholder communities, for auto companies it will probably mean total adoption of solar powered vehicles. Regarding finances, we expect entrepreneurs to implement environmental and social considerations in their investments.
It’s a fact that promoting and implementing principles and standards of responsible business conduct can help create an investment environment that is based on respect for accepted social and environmental principles. The current coronavirus crisis has exponentially amplified the demand for a resilient infrastructure that can operate effectively during difficult times.
This represents a great opportunity for the business world from now on to seek to provide infrastructure that is sustainable, technologically advanced and robust.
Following these lines, PayPal took steps to address the impact of the COVID-19 global pandemic, reaffirming our commitment to employees, customers, and communities around the world. Among the most important decisions is to help more than 24 million businesses affected by COVID-19.
Our priority is to help the most vulnerable in this crisis. Our goal is to promote financial inclusion by facilitating transactions via mobile phones, even to people without a bank account. Digital payments represent a great support in the midst of this pandemic and at the same time are a very big step in achieving sustainable economies.
We must work together now to set the stage for a recovery that builds a more sustainable, inclusive and equitable economy.