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With the signature European Green Pact, the 27 EU member states committed to making Europe the first climate-neutral continent by 2050. Europe has a plan to combat the effects of climate change: it pursues the sustainable development and wants transformational change in all areas of society: economic, political, social and cultural.  

The European Commission has adopted a set of proposals to align EU climate, energy, transport and taxation policies with goal to reduce net greenhouse gas emissions by at least 55% by 2030 compared to 1990 levels. 

On the other hand, according to the report prepared by the World Economic Forum at partnership with PwC, on the principles of climate governance, the effects of climate change alter the operation of companies in all sectors: whether due to the higher cost of raw materials or the alteration of supply chains or the duty to comply with European regulations in this area subject. 

How do companies face their path towards sustainability, are they prepared to comply with European directives, and what are their challenges and objectives? Professors of the new Master's Degree in Sustainability of the University and managers from different fields, from the Economics, agriculture, the world of fashion, energy or the technology sector, provide some keys.

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Reducing the impact on the environment

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The food sector is facing new challenges in the way it acts due to the sustainable crisis and the impact the sector has on the environment (water consumption, impact on biodiversity...). For this reason, "it is no longer enough to reduce this impact, but we have to try to identify and reverse it, in order to be nature positive as soon as possible and align ourselves with the carbon neutrality strategy", explains Ana Gascón, director of sustainability strategy for packaging at The Coca Cola Company

According to professionals, sustainable factors have become a priority. "Consumers are considering sustainability aspects as a relevant factor in their purchasing decisions, and professionals are taking the positive impact of companies more into consideration when deciding where they want to work," explains Joseba Arano, director of Corporación Pascual's area People, Quality and Sustainability.

In the food sector, directives are stringent and condition companies' activities. "Sustainability has become an absolute priority for the food and beverage industry. The European legislator is putting out a lot of rules and regulations to which we have to adapt. There are a lot of measures that are within the EU's green pact and we are especially affected by everything that has to do with the action plan in Economics circular", says Gascón.

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Ana Gascón

Director of Packaging Sustainability Strategy, The Coca Cola Company



Joseba Arano

Director of area of People, Quality and Sustainability of Corporación Pascual




Regulatory pressure from investors and financiers

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The sustainable development is nothing more than satisfying the needs of present generations without compromising the development of future generations. To ensure this development it is necessary to know the legal norms that regulate the activities and that have a direct and indirect impact on the environment. "The reasons for the transformation are fundamentally the regulatory pressure from investors, financiers and consumers. All this means that companies must acquire notions in subject of sustainability to include it in their diary of work", explains Pablo Bascones, partner manager of Sustainability and Climate Change of PwC

"Investor preferences are also changing, and investors understand that there is a link between the risk of an investment and its sustainable characteristics. Regulation is becoming more and more intense and requires companies to be increasingly aware of their social and environmental impacts," says Ramón Pueyo, partner manager Sustainability and Good Governance at KPMG

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Pablo Bascones

partner manager of Sustainability and Climate Change at PwC.



Ramon Pueyo

partner manager KPMG's Sustainability and Corporate Governance Department


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Need for indicators to measure sustainability

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In the field of investments, there is a growing need to integrate sustainability issues into investment decisions, which is why initiatives such as the Net Zero Asset Owner Alliance or the investment principles manager are appearing, leading asset managers to decarbonize their portfolios. Faced with so many changes, according to Antonio Ballabriga, director Global Business manager of BBVA, "the financial sector must integrate environmental, climate and social risks in its decision making. This is a fundamental change in the way financial institutions management operate". 

Andrea González, General Director of Spainsif, states that the issue of sustainability, and the sensitivity that has grown towards it, has permeated the financial markets with the new regulation and with the development of new products. However, she says: "There is still a lot of work to be done on the development of indicators that really capture the contributions to sustainability objectives and, in the use of these indicators, on the development of financial products".

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Antonio Ballabriga

Director BBVA Global Business manager



Andrea Gonzalez

General Manager of Spainsif




training and social impact



The training of professionals with expertise in sustainability and the evaluation of the social impact it entails, its risks and opportunities, are the main challenges facing companies in different sectors today. The World Economic Forum 's report Future of Jobs Report (2023) states that sustainability specialists will be the second most in demand by 2027. Companies must incorporate climate emergency into their corporate governance. 

Ramón Pueyo, partner manager Sustainability and Corporate Governance at KPMG, sees it clearly: "Public opinion is increasingly concerned about the social and environmental impact of companies and issues such as climate change. In this context, what is happening is that company managements are needing to incorporate professionals who know the social and environmental impacts that companies have in order to try to mitigate them". 

" Decarbonizers will be needed in companies if we want to get to Net Zero. We would have to have carbon accountants and people who better understand the relationship between business and nature. All those profiles do not exist. [...] I think this is going to be one of the great niches of development of employment in the coming years", agrees José Luis Blasco, Global Sustainability Director of Acciona.

Fernando Riaño, director Sustainability, ESG and Institutional Relations at group Social ONCE, confirms that we are at a time of change, from an academic, social and business point of view, which encompasses public and private organizations. However, in this triple dimension of sustainability (social, environmental and governance), Riaño identifies a pending subject ; the social. "I think there is a great opportunity here for organizations from that perspective of understanding sustainability globally and internship and with an impact of the 3 R's: responsibility, profitability and reputation."

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Ramon Pueyo

partner manager KPMG's Sustainability and Corporate Governance Department



José Luis Blasco

Acciona Global Sustainability Director



Fernando Riaño

Director of Sustainability, ESG and Institutional Relations of group Social ONCE


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25 decisive years

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In the opinion of José Luis Blasco, Acciona's Global Sustainability Director , the great revolution in the energy sector will be brought about by three factors: decarbonization, artificial intelligence and the relationship with work. "Experts and consultants talk about reallocation of resources and assets. This transformation is going to generate new profiles and new needs." 

Javier Sanchez, CEO of Total Energies, does not hesitate to state that the next 25 years are going to be decisive and we will have to be prepared to identify new trends and alternative sources. "By the year 2050 everything is going to be wonderful because it is the reference letter that we all take to have net zero carbon emissions. We, for example, as a company, in 2022 93% of the business was coming from the oil and gas world. Now we are talking about hydrogen, biogas, but we have to think that it is likely that in 25 years something new will emerge".

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José Luis Blasco

Acciona Global Sustainability Director



Javier Sanchez

CEO of Total Energies




Ethics and the fight against disinformation

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From the communication sector, sustainability is presented as an opportunity for media literacy, the fight against misinformation and the generation of quality content, guided by ethics and rigor. "For years the media have been experiencing many changes, much transformation, and we are living in a very complex media environment. Every day we all receive, through our devices, an almost infinite offer of content: news, entertainment; content created by traditional media, but also by social networks or platforms. And we are seeing that society, faced with such a complicated environment, sometimes does not have the necessary skills to be able to analyze all this amount of information to know if what they are being told is true," says Susana Gato, director of Corporate Responsibility at Atresmedia

"It is the social dimension where the media have to put the focus because our contents are the footprint we leave in society. It is those contents that contribute to make a society that can be much more free, critical, plural and diverse, and we can protect the most important thing which are the values of democracy." 


Susana Gato

Corporate Responsibility Director of Atresmedia


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Circularity, connectivity and digital skills

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Sustainability is seen as a long-term growth opportunity in the technology sector. "Sustainability and the transformation of the telecommunications sector go hand in hand. Why do I say this? And why is it so important, both for the green transition, but also for what is sustainability, the impact on society? Because in our infrastructures is all the digitalization. And digitalization is very important right now to address challenges and social gaps that existed before when there was no connectivity," says Elena Valderrábano, Global Chief Sustainability (ESG) Officer at Telefónica.

Companies are committed to circularity and have set themselves the target goal of zero waste by 2030. In addition, talking about sustainability in this area means talking about accessibility and promoting connectivity to alleviate the digital divide; promoting digital skills and enabling and ensuring the ethical use of technology, with the traffic of millions of data as a backdrop. "We work on sustainability from the point of view of opportunity. Why? Because we know that it generates growth. [We share practices with the entire sector, in the sense of auditing and working with the value chain, so that we can effectively make the world more sustainable together," adds Valderrábano.


Elena Valderrábano

Global Chief Sustainability (ESG) Officer of Telefónica




For a new transforming model

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"The fashion industry, in my opinion, has for too many decades now had a model business that doesn't work. Buy-shoot, buy-shoot, a new fashion every week, discount, promotion, Black Friday.... It is a business model that is generating billions of garments going to the landfill every month, an absolutely indiscriminate consumption of natural resources," says Javier Goyeneche, CEO of Ecoalf

Goyeneche says the industry needs to think again and start doing things differently. "Anyone can make a T-shirt, but what is the footprint of that T-shirt in the world? For us at Ecoalf, it makes no sense to make a product if it is not as sustainable as possible," he continues. 

Like other managers, Javier Goyeneche stresses the need for training of professionals who can have that vision of the business, of all its areas, in fashion, but also in transportation, or food... "We live very obsessed with what subject planet we are going to leave to our children, but we have not asked ourselves what subject children we are going to leave to the planet", he concludes.


Javier Goyeneche

CEO of Ecoalf