Lisbon 17 October 2019: Together with the Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Portugal, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), organized one of the first regional dialogues on Vision 2050. Participants focused on how global developments trends affect companies operating out of Portugal, and the role of business in enabling system change while enabling over 9 billion people to live well, within the boundaries of the planet by 2050.
The half-day workshop, kindly hosted by Águas de Portugal, brought together sustainability leaders from 30 leading Portuguese companies and organizations. It provided attendees with an opportunity to learn more about WBCSD’s ambition to refresh its Vision, a collective effort led by over three dozen member companies of the Council, while also providing essential regional perspectives and insight into this process.
The WBCSD team, led by Filippo Veglio, Linden Edgell, and Uta Jungermann, outlined WBCSD’s approach to refresh its Vision 2050 and zoomed in on important findings to date. BCSD Portugal’s Mafalda Evangelista and João Meneses complemented this overview with insight explaining the regional context of Portugal. On the back of this, business representatives discussed how an understanding of systems transformation can enable local action, how Vision 2050 focus areas resonate and relate with Portuguese priorities and what actions and processes have realized change in the country over the past decade following the financial crisis in 2008.
The discussions surfaced how the financial crisis has served as a vehicle for structural change in Portugal, in particular with regard to the country’s approach to deploy more renewable energy. The role and importance of managing natural resources was discussed broadly in light of Portugal’s exposure to the sea, the risk of freshwater scarcity in some regions and frequent events of heavy forest fires.
Other topics of discussion included the importance of governments setting clear priorities with regard to social mobilization, investment in research and development and building consensus to ensure stability. It was suggested to more prominently reflect circularity and the interconnectedness of various pathways, as for example energy and mobility. The importance of education was also highlighted and how business could benefit from building more collaborative ties with the educational system.
The dialogue was part of WBCSD’s effort to engage its Global Network partners across the world in a roadshow around Vision 2050, aiming to incorporate the varying impacts and importance of sustainability challenges across countries and to rally companies of all sizes around a positive, opportunity-based, action agenda it needs for the decade to come, in support of the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and beyond.
João Meneses, Secretary-General at BCSD Portugal, commented: “The Portuguese government recently approved a National Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality by 2050. The building up of this roadmap was very participatory, gathering many stakeholders from the private sector, the public sector, the civil society, and the academia. The transition towards a truly sustainable development model is now clearer and more shared in Portugal. Following that path and kind of ambition, the WBCSD’s Vision 2050 session, held in Lisbon, helped many local stakeholders understanding the importance of having a broader vision of the sustainability challenges towards 2050, by shedding light on many relevant subjects not directly addressed by the National Roadmap for Carbon Neutrality. We just hope that it was equally valuable for the WBCSD team in charge of refreshing its Vision 2050. Together we stand and thrive!”
About BCSD Portugal
The Business Council for Sustainable Development (BCSD) Portugal is a non-profit company-based association that aggregates and represents more than 90 leading businesses in Portugal, which are actively committed to the transition to a sustainable world. Its focus is to help its member companies in the journey towards sustainability, promoting positive impact for stakeholders, society and the environment.
BCSD Portugal is part WBCSD’s Global Network, an alliance of more than 60 CEO-led business organizations worldwide. The Network, encompassing some 5,000 companies, is united by a shared commitment to provide business leadership for sustainable development in their respective countries and regions.