The Road to a Green Economy

Wed, 02/24/2016 - 14:41

The road to a Green Economy is fraught with obstacles that, for some countries, are almost insurmountable. This is understandable considering the continuing uncertainties in the financial markets and the debt crises that still continue to haunt the global economy. While the challenge of attaining a Green Economy and sustainable society is daunting, there is no alternative. Countries cannot forget that growth at all costs comes with rising emissions, disappearing ecosystems, and fast declining resources. The debate on the Green Economy takes an interesting turn when estimating the costs and benefits in monetary terms of low-carbon resources, efficiency, and a socially inclusive economy. One of the green threads woven into Mexico’s economy is the Sustainability Index in the Mexican Stock Exchange. It has become an ideal parameter from which to identify the best sustainability practices of companies with the objective of building this fabled Green Economy. Companies that can prove high performance in environmental, social, and corporate governance gain a place in this platform and gain access to a new set of investors with serious concerns about the country’s sustainability. Listed entities become a reference point in the financial markets and a benchmark for other companies striving to obtain the same achievement.

There are several areas a company must consider, such as water consumption, waste, energy, biodiversity, and emissions. Organisms like OECD, UN, Global Compact and GRI release criteria to evaluate the best performance in matters of environmental commitment and social responsibility. Irrevocably it also touches upon Social Responsible Investment (SRI) and it has gained momentum in emerging markets such as Brazil and Mexico. In the US market, SRI represents 12% of total investments in the market while in Europe, this is between 12-15%. It is estimated that of these international resources only 3-6% will reach Mexico and other Latin American markets.

ICA is the sole construction company in Latin America that belongs to the Sustainability Indexes of the Mexican Stock Exchange and the Dow Jones. Ana Paula Fernández del Castillo, Chief Sustainability Officer of ICA, describes the trajectory that allowed the company to enter this eminent list. “In order to be included for a third year in a row in these platforms, we defined eight key priorities that would enable the company to grow sustainably,” she explains. “Sustainability is immersed in our daily operations in order to identify the added value we bring to all projects we develop,” she adds.