Low carbon economy – business opportunities and challenges
The debate was hosted by H.E. Steve Williams, British Ambassador to Bulgaria, H.E. Robin Barnett, British Ambassador to Romania and Tony Buckby, Director, British Council Bulgaria. The discussion was moderated by Magor Csibi, Member of the European Parliament from Romania and Konstantin Ivanov, Head of Communications and Marketing at WWF in Bulgaria.
Representatives of cement producer Lafarge talked about the reasons they became involved in WWF’s Climate Savers initiative. They focused on the activities they undertook to cut down CO2 emissions by over 10% and told the audience that Lafarge CO2 reduction has led to other cement producers taking similar steps.
Renault Nissan announced that Nissan’s electric car will go into production by the end of the year, while Renault’s electric model will be available in 2011. However, the audience heard that Bulgaria and Romania are falling behind other EU countries, where consumers receive various perks for using clean cars and the state invests in building the necessary infrastructure.
The Romanian Green Building Council explained that the cost of building energy efficient resident and office buildings is only up to 4% higher than building conventional buildings, but the investment is quickly repaid because of significantly lower electricity bills. Investors in Bucharest are already showing interest in building energy efficient buildings, but this is not the case in Sofia, the audience heard.
Regional telecommunications giant Globul said that the company saved over 16 tons of paper by cutting down on paper phone bills and told the audience that they considered their programme for recycling old mobile phones and used batteries successful.
The debate was made possible thanks to a video link between the two countries, which is a good way for companies to limit unnecessary business travel and to cut down on CO2 emissions. The British Embassies and British Council in both countries have taken serious steps to limit their carbon footprint by reducing electricity consumption and use of paper.