Coping with crises requires a great deal of courage and talent. Those whose pulse does not quiver and who know how to see opportunities in times of uncertainty are those who are called upon to set the course for progress. Today, the pandemic has tested many countries’ response to the health and economic emergency, but it has also demonstrated the strength of entrepreneurs. Innovative companies and initiatives have emerged to improve people’s lives, anticipating the needs of a society trying to beat Covid-19.
The post-pandemic roadmap is based on another of the planet’s greatest needs: building a more sustainable future. “Climate change and sustainability priorities are an integral part of the post-COVID-19 strategy,” says Marta Aisa, Director of Responsible Banking in Santander Spain. Entrepreneurs who support this vision will not only have more options to access EU aid for resilience and economic recovery, but they will lead the transition towards a green, digital and competitive economy.
Experts warn that the health and climate emergency requires a resilient, inclusive, and low-carbon economy
Dedicated to improving the world
In the case of Spain, entrepreneurial activity continues to increase (from 5.2% in 2016 to 6.4%), as indicated in the latest report. Informe Global Entrepeneurship Monitor (GEM) 2019-2020. In addition to other analytics, such as Entrepreneurship MapMost recently, six out of ten entrepreneurs have started over again during the health crisis.
The difficult current context is not an obstacle for them. Something in line with the assessment of experts, who point out that wealth creation is not the only driver for entrepreneurs. There are other factors that move them. According to GEM, entrepreneurs are also directed toward “intangible” purposes and also aspire to change the world, a planet advocating a low-emissions production model based on alternative energy sources.
Six out of ten entrepreneurs start working again during the health crisis
Fund those who drive change
This year, Banco Santander and Oxentia launched the Santander X Environmental Challenge, a challenge that supports green entrepreneurs. The proposal contains categories Be sustainableFor solutions that leverage green finance and innovation, and Be vigilantFor those projects that raise awareness about the importance of reducing our carbon footprint.
This initiative aims at innovative projects in Germany, Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Spain, Mexico, Portugal, Poland, the United Kingdom, Uruguay and the United States, which are already established as a company, with frequent sales of at least one product or service and its turnover between two hundred thousand and five million euros per year. The 20 finalists presented their projects in front of an international jury on April 26th. The six winners, three for each category, will receive € 20,000 for their projects, in addition to specialist mentoring and other types of support.
The positive effects of owning a sustainable company
A commitment to sustainability has multiple benefits. “There is evidence that those companies with a more sustainable appearance are showing themselves as more resilient companies in a scenario characterized by a high degree of uncertainty and economic hardship.“ They are able to adapt more easily and anticipate policies and regulations, ”says Marta Issa. Impact on cost reduction, such as energy and water costs, by enhancing efficiency, reducing consumption, and favoring a circular economy, ”the expert says.
Many companies need to know how sustainable they are. For this purpose, Banco Santander has a seal in accordance with the ESG criteria (ESG in its English acronym: Environmental, Social and Corporate Governance) to qualify the sustainability of organizations in accordance with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (ODS). “Responsible and sustainable corporate behavior will contribute to achieving the sustainable development goals, as well as achieving profitability and growth in an efficient and innovative manner,” says Director of Responsible Banking Services in Santander Spain.
If we do not avoid it, the consequences for our planet will be tragic. This challenge is a real opportunity for a green revolution that requires huge investments in new technologies.
Consequently, sustainable companies reduce costs, are more competitive and efficient and gain employment in new markets and key sectors of the future economy. “Commitment to sustainability is no longer an option but a necessity. New businesses cannot turn their backs on a management model that integrates factors beyond purely economic factors and takes into account the social and environmental value of their activity,” concludes Issa.