By Isabelle Autissier, President of WWF France.
In fall 2012, we held our 6th Green Forum, which focused on the highly relevant subject, “A green path of growth for the European economy?”.
This opportunity for high-level discussion and sharing was only possible thanks to the support and participation of Alcatel-Lucent. We are grateful for their support. These discussions are summarized on the event website.
The Green Forum event represents the WWF’s values of dialog and action.
Through the activities carried out in over 100 countries and the active support of its 5.8 million members worldwide, WWF is working to slow down damage to the environment and to build a future where man can live in harmony with nature. Our change theory is based on the necessity of uniting all of the players in society through dialog and action.
Each Green Forum enables political and economic decision-makers to understand current environmental and social issues, to focus on good practice and to share the levers of change in order to facilitate the environmental transition of our society.
Facing a deadline of the long-term budget negotiations by the 27 EU member states, the aim of the 2012 Forum was to highlight Europe’s role in environmental transition and to encourage European policymakers to consider environmental, energy and agricultural issues, as well as the possible inclusion of environmental criteria in the European Union budget.
Our dialog with Alcatel-Lucent.
The purpose of the Green Forum is to encourage communication between all of the players in society, in order to develop solutions together and to support society on its journey of environmental transition. Private sector organizations therefore have a fundamental role to play in this debate. In this respect, Alcatel-Lucent is an important European player: it can illustrate current technologies and good practices in this sector and identify potential obstacles to the ongoing energy transition.
The team from the sustainable development department at Alcatel-Lucent presented the company’s ambitious CSR strategy and the research and development work being carried out by Bell Labs. This forward-looking assessment in particular has confirmed our interest in cooperating with Alcatel-Lucent during the Green Forum.
Philippe Richard, Vice-President of Bell Labs and Head of Green Strategy at Alcatel-Lucent, therefore took part in a round table called “A low-carbon Europe by 2050: what energy policies are needed for green economic recovery in Europe?“.
Analysis and suggestions resulting from the 2012 Green Forum.
During the round table debate Philippe Richard took part in, which was chaired by Stephen Boucher from the ECF (European Climate Foundation), it was very clear that to achieve a low-carbon economy, we still need cooperation between industry and between nations and major investment in the construction of development infrastructures.
One significant advance in the field of technological research is the smart grid, an intelligent electricity distribution network design that is helping to create a better low-carbon energy model. Giving GreenTouch as an example, Philippe Richard also reiterated the value in working as a consortium: extending this type of industrial cooperation to other areas could in fact be a source of innovation and the resulting advances in the energy sector.
In spite of this, in the context of the current crisis, the issue of the freeze on investments in the green economy was highlighted during the Green Forum. Dimitri Zenghelis, a Senior Research Fellow and co-author of the Stern Report reminded us that there are in fact plenty of financial resources and investment opportunities, and that it the public sector must act to free up these frozen funds. Private investors need to be given positive signals, to reassure them about long-term investment opportunities in green sectors.
These two days therefore allowed valuable discussions to take place, which are transcribed in the Green Forum discussion summary, published in French and English. To extend the activity beyond this event, the 6th Green Forum concluded with a new Paris Appeal for a more sustainable Europe, signed jointly by the Directors of all of the European branches of the WWF and addressed, on the eve of the European Summit on 22 and 23 November, to European heads of state and heads of government, to José Manuel Barroso, President of the European Commission, to Herman Van Rompuy, President of the European Council and to Martin Schulz, President of the European Parliament.
The issues linked to the environmental transition of the economy are significant. Within its philosophy of dialog, WWF France hopes to continue these constructive discussions with Alcatel-Lucent and all of the private and public organizations invested in constructing a more sustainable future.