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Finance

Companies need to incorporate environmental and social concerns, Romanian Minister says

Environment and climate ministers from across the EU, EFTA (Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland) and the European Commissioner for the Environment, Oceans and Fisheries, Virginijus Sinkevičius participated in the Informal Environment Council, which took place in Stockholm between 18-19 April.

Under the auspices of the Swedish EU Presidency, the informal council focused on investments in the green transition and policies on strengthening competitive sustainability. 

The event also hosted working sessions for business representatives, which included discussions on closer cooperation in overcoming transition bottlenecks, creating business opportunities in halting and reversing biodiversity loss, and conditions for increasing circular approaches.

“Cooperation between public and private entities and ensuring strong partnerships between different actors is one of the main elements that will contribute to the development of economic sectors to achieve the transition to a green, competitive and sustainable economy,” said Romania’s Minister of the Environment, Waters and Forests, Barna Tánczos.

“The involvement of the private sector is crucial (…). Dialogue between government institutions and all stakeholders is an extremely important element in harmonising the legislative framework to establish clear and concrete guidelines for the green transition. For example, Romania has developed a state aid scheme to financially support investments in recycling facilities. We considered that this consistent financial contribution, up to eight million euros in each initial investment, would trigger a better collection and sorting,” the Romanian minister noted.

Minister Tánczos added that via Romania’s EU National Recovery and Resilience Plan, his country has invested in over 600 public voluntary collection centres for all other types of recyclable/reusable waste that are not collected in the “door to door” system.

Role of business in reversing biodiversity

Minister Tánczos said that for his country “biodiversity is of particular relevance,” as he noted that around 23 per cent of Romania’s surface is protected under natural areas that are part of the Natura 2000 network. “From the point of view of natural capital, Romania is one of the member states with a rich biological diversity not only in terms of species but also natural habitats and ecosystems. Biodiversity fundamentally underpins the benefits businesses derive from natural capital and supports key ecosystem functions that ensure business operations and productivity.”

To encourage closer dialogue, the working sessions facilitated direct discussions between ministers and business representatives, with the latter declaring openness to facilitate future discussions on identifying ‘win-win solutions.’ 

“Companies need to recognise that incorporating environmental and social concerns into business plans and processes is critical to lasting business success. Many of them now recognise the importance of analysing, evaluating and considering the impacts produced and their dependence on natural capital and ecosystem services. Taking responsibility for biodiversity and ecosystems, and the valuable services they provide, is an essential part of corporate social responsibility,” the Minister underlined.

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