7.1 Article
Forging alliances for the environment and equality of opportunity

Borja Echegaray – Director of the CEOE Foundation

“Business alliances are and will be key in the recovery based on the establishment of a new model, in which solidarity and sustainability take centre stage in promoting the transition towards a circular economy that will help to achieve the Sustainable Development Goals”

The entire world is suffering an unexpected and profound crisis caused by the Covid-19 pandemic that, although it has had a widespread impact at a social and economic level, has been especially severe for the most disadvantaged sectors of society. Spain has been no exception, and therefore at CEOE Foundation we launched the ‘Empresas que ayudan’, (Companies that help) project in order to coordinate solidarity initiatives started up by companies to help tackle crisis situations and covering as many needs as possible.

In a context of temporary shutdown of the majority of businesses and face-to-face training centres, and of limitations such as those that many residences for the elderly or educational and insertion centres with limited resources have had to face, difficulty in accessing technology has become a new source of inequality for many people and groups that have seen their options for socialising or accessing services curtailed.

For this reason, when Ecotic Foundation proposed to jointly undertake such a timely and necessary campaign as ‘‘Digitalización Sostenible’ (Sustainable Digitalisation), we had no doubts to embace it under our ‘Empresas que ayudan”  project, also with the collaboration of other electronics Producer Responsibility Organisations, the SEUR Foundation and the ecoinnovation studio inèdit. The idea of a broad alliance of organisations working together to reduce the digital gap, and additionally contributing to the circular economy and environmental sustainability by reducing waste generation, is undoubtedly aligned with CEOE Foundation’s  values and our purpose of contributing to the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG) that guide all our activities across the board.

However, we should point out that none of this would have been possible without the support of hundreds of companies and self-employed people from all over Spain, who have contributed to the success of ‘Sustainable Digitalisation’ through their donations of computers, tablets, monitors and other equipment. Thanks to these donations, we have already been able to collect more than 3,000 devices, although the collections continue and the final quantities are forecast to be significantly higher. Once reconditioned, they will be distributed through different NGOs we collaborate with to give them a second life in the hands of children, the elderly and other groups at risk of exclusion who need them.

The companies’ purpose is to provide not just economic but also social value. Our country’s entire business community, from large companies to SMEs and the self-employed, has the chance to take part in an economic recovery based on a new model, in which solidarity and sustainability are the key to driving the transition towards a circular economy more efficient in its use of the resources available.

The solidarity of companies and workers, the commitment to leave no one behind and the commitment to conserving the environment have become more visible than ever during this pandemic. Entrepreneurs and the self-employed, each in their own field and in very difficult conditions, have made enormous efforts to help as much as possible and alleviate the pressing needs during this pandemic. And in this difficult situation, widespread access to new technologies have emerged as one of these needs and, in turn, an opportunity to work in pro of equal opportunities.

Our desire is for initiatives such as ‘Sustainable Digitalisation’  to continue and that they serve as the inspiration behind many other alliances that enable us to progress along the path towards a digital transformation that is necessary, environmentally friendly and improves the lives of the general public. And we are convinced that, with the commitment of organisations like Ecotic Foundation and all the other promoters and collaborators, we are getting ever-closer to achieving a more just and sustainable society, which is what we want and which we firmly believe in.