We at EPN Consulting are firmly convinced that sustainability of every human action, circular economy and respect for the environment are key aspects of a civilised and evolved world. In particular, when I started working on Intelligent Transport Systems 25 years ago I used to describe this “discipline” – in those days still hybrid between the well-established disciplines of Electronics and Transport – to people as the ICT applied to transport to make better use of either vehicles (e.g. fleets of buses or lorries) or infrastructures (e.g. roads). In those days we came across the first concepts of environmental-friendly solutions (e.g. better public transport to boost its use and reduce cars pollution) while in our days these topics are fortunately more familiar among population and also the sensitivity on these topics has certainly increased.
What recently has surprised me is the echo effect generated by that Swedish student, Greta Thunberg, who started her “Friday strikes” some months ago to catch the attention of the Swedish government (first) on the dramatic effects of climate change urging them to take immediate countermeasures.
The event started as local and week after week reached the main European cities and beyond. Students in other countries started their strikes, marched in streets, media started to pay attention to Greta’s actions and some national governments, the European Parliament, the UN invited Greta to give speeches to explain her ideas.
It seems so far that Greta has achieved her goal of raising awareness on the climate change problems, great, but did we need a 16 y.o. student to promote this green message? What did the several COP21,22,23,24 achieve apart from spending huge amount of money for travels and subsistence of ministers and executives that agree on little or nothing about implementing determined changes in several business areas such energy production, manufacturing, transport, chemical agents for agri-food, etc. to protect our planet?
The opinion is that COPxy are just nice statements of good intentions that will never be completely realised whereas Greta, whose beliefs authenticity I don’t doubt, is now “trendy” for media and governments (e.g. if she is invited it means that that government is “serious” about fighting climate change causes) but, after a while, will she still be a reference for politicians and decision makers?
I hope she will continue to keep this message strong but I am not sure about the long-term balance between her power and that one of leading big companies…
EPN Consulting Founder & CEO