“Sustainability and technology for the regeneration of ecosystems” is the central theme of the 6th Annual Conference of Global Thinking Foundation, held on Thursday, November 18 in Milan. After having dealt in the previous annual events with topics such as changes in the world of work, the boom of sustainable finance, impact investing and Fintech For Good, this year the time has come to address the implications of the regeneration of ecosystems, especially after what happened at COP26.

Being a trailblazer on certain topics isn’t enough, you must move forward to aspire to even more challenging goals, especially in philanthropic nonprofits. I see no other way to live my life. From Mission 3 on Education and Research and from Mission 5 on Social Cohesion and Inclusion of the RRP (Recovery and Resilience Plan), we must draw definitive indications to guide our projects which, in addition to having a measurable social impact, must become a strong and widespread social commitment between private individuals and institutions, because the game of sustainability has no extra time.

The starting point with which we presented ourselves at COP26 and to preside over this G20, is that of a country that ranks 25th in terms of digitalization out of the 28 countries of the European Union (DESI index). It is therefore clear that we are making a crucial error of underestimation on an issue that is at the heart of the European Green New Deal. Implementing the professionalism that will be able to manage the technological and ecological transformation of the country means looking at the world of work that is changing and requires different skills from male and female workers, bearing in mind that digital technology can offer medium and small businesses excellent opportunities for growth and partnership and, above all, allows companies to become more competitive.

Other important indications come from the data of the EIGE European Index on Gender Equality 2021 according to which Italy remains below the European average – stationary in 14th place since 2018 – with a deficit on issues of knowledge, work, and education. Progress has been made in health and political representation, but we are the country with the lowest number of university graduates in Europe, after us only Romania, and the highest rate of female unemployment. By virtue of these data, the Government’s national strategy for artificial intelligence and that on gender equality will have to consider that the starting point is dramatically far from the standards that have allowed other countries such as France, Portugal, and Spain to make these battles the best opportunity to recover economic growth and social welfare.

Regenerating the ecosystems of education, work, and digital means for us to create the best conditions to reduce social inequalities that hinder economic recovery and to give full implementation to participatory democracy.

Financial education therefore becomes an essential tool for individual well-being, to enable citizens to achieve full emancipation and economic freedom. In fact, it is an equalizer of opportunities through which to raise a new generation more aware and prepared to face life choices that are confronted with a complex reality because of the pandemic that has had a very high social cost.

The Cop26 meeting closed by promising the opening of a new dialogue to combat the climate crisis between the two superpowers, China and the USA, who pollute the most and produce CO2. An approach that reinforces the hope that the goal of keeping the temperature increase below 1.5 degrees compared to pre-industrial levels is achievable. However, we must also remember China and India, which have rowed against the official statement, imposing to replace the word “elimination” with “reduction” of the use of coal.

All this list of good intentions needs not only political actions and reforms, but also a huge amount of funding. For this reason, sustainable finance is a key player at COP26, which is why we have decided to place our Annual Event within the Sustainable and Responsible Investment Week, organized by the Forum for Sustainable Finance. Our aim is to emphasize that there can be no green transition without finance that respects ESG criteria, which are now a global phenomenon that has changed not only the nature of financial products, but also the approach to investment and the choices of investors.

Recent research by Deloitte on Italy quantifies and translates compliance with the limits set in 470,000 new jobs per year and a +3.3% of GDP for the next 50 years, while it warns on how a deviation towards a temperature increase of 3° would cause economic and environmental damage exceeding 1000 billion euros.

This union of intent between green finance, Agenda 2030 and sustainability has been ratified in Glasgow, with “GFanz, the Glasgow Financial Alliance for net zero” led by leading Anglo-Saxon finance figures such as Michael Bloomberg, former Bank of England Governor Carney, and other important partnerships.

More than 450 companies representing 50 countries have committed to providing financial support for the energy transition over the next 30 years and at the same time have set out concrete action to significantly cut harmful emissions now to zero by 2050. With G20 oversight, however, this group will need to demonstrate that it is also capable of putting the brakes on fossil fuel financing, and this will be the priority, along with support for emerging countries, at the heart of a major and very challenging planned action.

What is needed is the active intent for a paradigm shift towards the dictates of the circular economy, which is the basis for a cultural change in a globalized world in search of a new compass for survival. We are certain that it is essential to join to face, with conscience and ethics, an energy and environmental transition more necessary than ever, which will lead to widespread benefits and a redistribution of opportunities for social participation. Education and work are therefore central to a sustainability that is collective progress, social responsibility, and respect for the rules, but also for the diversity that strengthens and the wonder of an environment that will host us with greater gratitude because we will have shown him the respect due.

About the author, Claudia Segre

As a financial expert, author, speaker, and the president of Global Thinking Foundation, Claudia Segre believes the only way to build a brighter, more prosperous future is to invest in the financial education of all women and girls.

She uses her platform to fight economic violence, accelerate financial inclusion for women, support female entrepreneurs, and promote the role of fintech in closing the gender gap.

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