On 20-22 June, the United Nations organized the Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development. This conference gathered world leaders, along with thousands of participants from governments, the private sector, NGOs and other groups, to shape how we can reduce poverty, advance social equity and ensure environmental protection on an ever more crowded planet without compromising the ability of future generations to meet their own needs.
Therefore, what would be the best possible scenario after the Río+20 meeting?
On one hand, it would be necessary to assess the environmental dimension of sustainability not as a contribution to sustainable development but as a fundamental and non-negotiable process. This will be possible by establishing clear policy commitments and the efficient management of scarce resources such as energy or water or efficient waste management at the industrial and local level. These commitments should be made not only in developing countries or to eliminate poverty rather at all levels and especially in cities where the majority of the world’s population lives.
Likewise, at Rio+20, it would also be necessary to establish the need for identifying new technologies to ensure sustainability in resource consumption. While renewable energy and energy efficiency are already part of global sustainability commitments, new ways of managing resources will also be required. For example, the intensive use of information and communication technologies (ICTs) enable the efficient management of energy networks and drinking water, transform transportation systems as well as monitor climate and environmental quality, among other things.
In recent years, Telefónica has been working on implementing eco-efficiency and sustainability policies in its internal processes and expanding these benefits to our customers. For us, Rio+20 is a new opportunity to make our contribution to a world with scarce resources. Hence our participation in different events at the conference:
- Wednesday, 13th June: a special issue of “Planet B” (in English) in which Daniela Torres, Head of Telefónica’s Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Office, explained the contribution of green ICTs to a world with limited resources, was published.
- Thursday, 14th June: the Telefónica/Vivo agreement with Huawei for making 4G connection tests at Riocentro, the main stage of Rio+20 was announced.
- Friday, 15th June: the Rio+20 Vivo, application developed by Telefónica/Vivo was launched as a real time guide to the summit.
- Sunday, 17th June: the Sustainable Energy for All: The Business Opportunity document drafted by Global Compact and Accenture with the collaboration of companies such as Telefónica was presented. Specifically, our contribution has focused on demonstrating the priorities for the ICT industry in this area, levers, objectives and ways of engagement for achieving them.
- Sunday, 17th June: Sergio Yamada, from the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at Telefónica S.A. participated in the panel entitled “Looking Into the Future of Sustainability: An Approach to Sustainable Cities and Renewable Energy”, organized by the Spanish Network of the Global Compact as part of the Corporate Sustainability Forum. Acciona, Agbar, BBVA, Endesa and Telefónica presented their case studies involving smart cities.
- Monday, 18th June: Sergio Yamada, Project Manager from the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at Telefónica S.A, and Juliana Limonta, Sustainability Manager for Telefónica/Vivo, took part in the meeting with the Spanish Secretary of State for the Environment, Federico Ramos de Armas. During the meeting, they shared information about the company’s activities involving energy and sustainability.
- Tuesday, 19th June, Leila Loria, Director of Regulatory and Institutional Affairs at Telefónica/Vivo took part in the panel discussion on “Broadband and ICTs for smart, inclusive and sustainable societies”, organized by the Brazilian Ministry for Telecommunications and the ITU. During the meeting, they spoke about green ICT services and their application in smart cities to promote globally sustainable growth through networks, buildings and transportation systems.
During this debate, which focused on the role of ICTs for progressing towards a green economy, among others, representatives from ITU, UNESCO, Microsoft and Ericsson took part.
- Thursday, 21st June, Sergio Yamada, Project Manager from the Office of Climate Change and Energy Efficiency at Telefónica S.A, and Juliana Limonta, Sustainability Manager for Telefónica/Vivo, took part in the meeting with the Spanish Minister of Agriculture, Food and Environment, Miguel Arias Cañete, in order to analyze the contribution of Spanish companies within the context of the overall agreement to be reached at the Rio+20 summit.
- Thursday, 21st June: commitments by companies such as Telefónica to Sustainable Energy for All are to be published.
Further information about Telefónica and green ICTs can be found by clicking here.
Silvia Guzmán, Telefónica’s Environmental and Sustainability Director. She is in charge of the Business Principles Office and the Climate Change and Energy Efficiency Office.