Since the EU Green Deal was announced in December 2019, sustainable development was identified as one of the key priorities for European policy and regulatory action. In the immediate aftermath, the Covid 19 pandemic and lockdowns highlighted the vital role of new technologies, as well as the need to accelerate the decarbonisation of our economies. This only confirmed the importance of aligning European policy priorities with environmental and digital objectives.
The path to the twin transition
The twin digital and green transition emerged as the way forward to achieve environmental and climate goals. Very early on, the private sector, understood that the green transition was not merely a social responsibility issue, but became a priority in business plans. Corporate environmental policies and digital transformation became a vital factor. There was no alternative but to transform. Thus, the different transitions, green, digital, energy… converged in the same direction.
In a way, it can be said that, in the regulatory field, we are currently witnessing a similar and comparable process. Those elements, laws, and standards that have been shaping the regulatory package of the EU Green Deal since their announcement are permeating, in a Brussels effect, into the environmental and sustainability regulations of third countries, particularly in Latin America.
In that regard, companies, as organisations with the capacity to replicate the same regulatory compliance throughout their extension, can become not only a subject obliged to comply with a certain regulation, but also an ambassador of European regulation in different geographies.
In the case of Telefónica, its presence in Latin America makes it a key player in extending the dual digital and green transition in the region.
Strengthening the EU-Latin America relationship through the Green Deal
Recently, the Real Instituto Elcano presented a policy paper entitled “The European Green Deal as an engine for EU-Latin American cooperation” was recently presented, which expresses the approach ofthe Brussels effect of the EU Green Deal.
The study highlights that the European Union (EU) and Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC) together account for nearly one-fifth of global greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions. In Latin America there are countries that are considered critical for the fulfilment of climate objectives and the defense of biodiversity.
In Europe, some of the countries have shown strong commitment and more ambitious goals in the fight against climate change. Thus, both strong economic and social links and a common vision on the fight against climate change allow for a framework of cooperation and common understanding in this field.
The Elcano study shows that LAC’s vulnerability to climate change generates a sense of urgency to strengthen the green transition based on an energy transition that enhances the use of renewable energies and a more reasonable use of land and agricultural resources. This requires budgetary reforms, greater access to sustainable finance schemes, regulatory reforms, and governance mechanisms. The development of the regulatory framework of the European Green Deal could serve as a source of inspiration and cooperation between both regions. For example, there is potential for joint green diplomacy based on shared values and vision.
In this regard, despite the different realities in each of the two regional blocs, the shared vision and goal of combating the effects of climate change align. Europe´s experience and the path taken in transforming the economic model driven by the development of measures to promote sustainable finance can serve as a source of inspiration, a Brussels effect in the field of environmental policies.
It is essential to continue working on cooperation between both regions, acknowledging that the pillars of environmental policies and the regulations that support them can, and must be improved in order to continue moving in the right direction.
On this path, in order to bring together the same values around transformative environmental and digital policies with the European Green Deal as a basis, the participation and experience of European companies with a presence in Latin America is indispensable. Telefónica is committed and willing to contribute to this effort.