Climate Change is a global challenge that requires an ambitious global response. Greener economies are the best way to protect the planet from the worst effects of climate change, according to Dr R Seetharaman, the Group CEO of Doha Bank. According to him, the need of the hour is “to focus on sectors such as renewable energy, green buildings, clean transportation, water management, waste management and land management as well as the overall mitigation of the impact of our activities on the environment”.
Speaking at the Georgetown University’s Center for International and Regional Studies (CIRS) which recently hosted a public Monthly Dialogue Series titled “Sustainable Development for Economies and Corporations” at their Education City campus in Doha, Qatar, he said global ecological imbalances due to rapid industrialization, urbanization, growing pollution levels, and greenhouse gas emissions are being witnessed today.
Adding that that the private sector has a significant role, he said,” the attention is on ways of unlocking investment potential in the private sector. There is a need to find ways of engaging new private investors, particularly institutional investors to help address the financing gap. The private sector’s expected returns on climate-related investment should ideally be commensurate with the perceived level of risk”.
Multilateral agreements have a role in this equation. The Kyoto Protocol, part of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCCC), is aimed at fighting global warming. The 19th Session of the Conference of the Parties (COP 19) to the UNFCCC which happened in Poland in November 2013 has set a pathway for governments to work on a new universal climate agreement for deliberation in the next UN Climate change conference in Peru, he added.
According to him, in a world under greater scrutiny, traditional factors such as GDP growth are not adequate for considering development milestones in the transition to a global green economy. These also include poverty reduction strategies, and strategies for meeting the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs).
Dr. R. Seetharaman said, “Across the world, 700 million people in 76 low and middle-income countries are food insecure, and the situation could grow worse in the poorest countries, according to the US Department of Agriculture. The majority of undernourished people reside in developing countries where growing populations and adverse climate changes are the key challenges affecting food security. We can no longer look at food security, poverty and climate change separately. Climate-Smart Agriculture is another driver of green growth”.
“There is also an inevitable link between business and society, so corporate competitiveness also needs to be integrated with social and environmental development. By creating long-term value through creating opportunities and managing risks derived from environment, social, governance issues and economic factors, institutional activities have the potential to create several distinct forms of value for customers. It is the customer’s perception of this value that mediates the relationship between CSR activities and subsequent financial performance.”
According to him, a more eco-conscious modern global society is an opportunity to build Green Economies aligned with sustainable development priorities that can positively change trends in many sectors. “Green economies are the solution for climate change and for sustainable global growth,” said Dr. Seetharaman. “Building Green economies will rebalance global growth and promote sustainability,” he pointed out.
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