The CDP Iberia 125 Climate Change Report 2013 was presented this morning in Madrid, listing the companies that have had the best response to climate change, managing the associated challenges and opportunities. Over 700 institutional investors with assets of over $87 trillion follow the CDP to choose the companies in which they invest their money.
Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the CDP, believes that the key is to reinvent business and progress towards a digital, low-carbon economy.
– How important are the companies on the Iberian Peninsula to the CDP?
– They are key actors – the Iberian Peninsula is like a mother-figure that the Latin American countries look up to. There are very successful companies in sectors such as the food and tourism industries, which have developed a sense of trustworthiness throughout the world and their business activities set a great example when facing a challenge like climate change. Hence, the importance of Telefónica’s leadership, for example.
– In what way?
– The ICT industry and Telefónica are part of the solution to climate change, they are the future. The new global economy will be based on dematerialisation. We need more atoms and more bytes.
– If that’s the case, why doesn’t the role of the ICT industry receive greater recognition?
– The industry has to turn up the pressure. Specifically, Telefónica has to. It’s a champion in connecting the world and has to perform its leadership role. We have to get the companies generating the highest amount of emissions to pay higher taxes, and for that money to be used for the purposes of expanding broad band coverage, for example. I came to Madrid in an airplane that causes air pollution. I don’t understand how 44 years after reaching the moon, we don’t all have videoconferencing or telepresence capabilities at home. Airplanes, cars, etc., should have to pay for polluting.
– The automobile industry is evolving with the electric car.
– The electric car is still merely symbolic, as it only represents 1% of total sales. It would have to reach 70%.
– How can its market penetration be increased?
– By taxing emissions. Investors see climate change as one of the biggest risks. Consequently, to respond to this fear, companies are going to have to reinvent themselves.
– Yes, but that’s not easy.
– Then we must begin immediately. We can do so, if we prefer, with a more specific focus: let’s think about the children, we all want what’s best for them, and our quality of life in general. For example, why can’t employees live in one of the many towns in Spain and telecommute? We have to expand ICTs. Why not promote an industry alliance to this end, involving Telefónica, AT&T, Verizon and other operators, along with other companies like Apple?