The European Commission presented its long-awaited Green Deal on 11 December – but what does it mean for #SustainablePublicAffairs? In this article we set out our views on where EU’s opportunities lie and how we can help.
The environment is our common good, but some companies turn that common good into their own profits at the expense of the rest. Such inherent market failures can only be solved by a regulator and, fortunately, in Europe the EU sets minimum standards for environmental performance: a baseline for the market.
While many companies struggle to attain these standards, more innovative companies are managing to outperform them. We call those companies top-runners. Top-runners are good news for the environment and sustainable innovation, but their premium performance often comes, initially, at a higher cost, as it does factor-in environmental externalities.
So, if we leave it to the market alone, sustainable innovation is non-competitive in the short-run and needs a long time to take off. But do we have time?
One of the solutions is to take a serious look at the gap that exists between the baseline performers and the innovative top-runners. It is there, that the EU’s opportunities lie in terms of improving sustainable competitiveness and achieving systemic change.
In order to achieve the Green Deal objectives, the EU will have to close the gap by a better application / upgrade of its environmental standards in the direction of what innovative companies are already capable of doing. That is the best deal!
That gap also makes for the new frontier in Public Affairs and that is our sweet spot. We help to convince the EU to level the playing field in an upward direction, so top-runners can compete more fairly with others on their innovative and sustainable merits.
We call that policy-driven growth for sustainable business cases and that is our mission.