Green vision or greenwashing?

It is high time for us to move beyond mere rhetoric and truly embody the principles of sustainability.

It is time to call it out. ‘Sustainability’ has taken over the world – at least this is what they make us believe.

Living sustainably has one simple meaning and definition: not to compromise tomorrow’s future by the way we are living today. This simple phrase can mean nothing and everything. What I do know, however is that this simple word has become the talk of the town and has lost all its purpose.

Overnight, governments all over the world, including our own, businesses, and certain activists have found their green hearts and souls, vouching to make their country or business a showcase and a reflection of sustainability. This was in reaction to the unveiling of the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) by the United Nations back in 2015 as a means towards action to end poverty, protect the planet, and ensure that by 2030 all people on the planet enjoy peace and prosperity. Action is the only word you need to focus on from here onwards.

The current green utopia

We are in 2024. So, dear people, we should rejoice, as in just six years we will be living on Planet Utopia! All wars will have stopped, we will see no homeless in the streets, everyone in the world will have access to clean water and energy and you, dear reader, will not be stuck in traffic! Discrimination will be a thing of the past. Government tenders will be fair and your children will not have to travel abroad to get proper jobs. Every person on earth will have food on the table. Migration will be a thing of the past as everybody will be happy in their own continent and country.

Is this even possible? The current reality shows otherwise.

The reality behind greenwashing

While the famous SDGs were created to be integrated into our daily living as a responsibility of every one of us, and while the EU poses its targets by 2030 and 2050, reality is that we don’t even know whether we will still have enough water by that time. You probably don’t care as you’re living in the now, but the reality is that, in 17 years, water will become more precious than diamonds. 

China is also focused on reducing its emissions and reaching carbon neutrality by 2060. Good focus, but what about human rights? Is carbon neutrality more important than giving a decent life to citizens? I can continue ranting about promises made by different countries, but this is an article for another day.

Dedication to these sustainability goals will ideally involve creating opportunities for those who lack them and addressing discrimination against the marginalised (women included). However, it is disheartening to see that these commitments often remain mere words without corresponding actions. I can personally attest to this, as I have experienced firsthand the superficiality behind the lofty statements made by governments and businesses, who often seize these opportunities to improve their public image and engage in good public relations.

When my company, GSE Technologies, attempted to introduce certain international companies to our competent entities and authorities in Malta, we felt we were not taken seriously. Our innovative ideas on transforming our country into a green hub were dismissed on the basis of the argument that there were already enough industries in this field. Yet, later on, we couldn’t fail to notice a stark resemblance between our ideas and some of those announced by those same entities and authorities. However, even if an idea is borrowed, it can only have a long-lasting impact if its implementation is underpinned by a nurtured vision.

Our aspirations are driven by purpose and noble intentions, rather than greed. Our goal is to promote the common good. We can confidently assert that, if we approached 100 doors, 99 of them were slammed in our faces, accompanied by a plethora of colourful excuses. Yet, these corporations and others continue to preach about sustainability to the general public, solely to boost their popularity on social media. They speak about their love and commitment to the environment and our country.

The past three and a half years of our lives as a team at GSE Technologies have been dedicated entirely to developing a genuine Green Vision — a vision that seeks to transform words into tangible actions, beginning with Malta. It is high time for us to move beyond mere rhetoric and truly embody the principles of sustainability. The time for pretence is over; everyone must now take decisive action.

The Green Vision – a real one

Our vision prioritises the well-being of Malta, as we believe that charity begins at home. It would be hypocritical to attempt to address global issues while neglecting our immediate environment. Therefore, our Green Vision acknowledges that, in order to rectify global challenges, we must first start by improving our local surroundings.

In line with this philosophy, we have established the Green Vision Summit & Expo, which is scheduled to take place in April of this year. We firmly believe that Malta deserves an opportunity for positive transformation, and this value serves as the foundation for all others. By successfully instilling an understanding of the benefits of sustainability among the people of Malta and fostering genuine environmentally conscious businesses, we can create a pathway to influence the rest of the world. Consequently, we are extending invitations to businesses worldwide to join us in realising this vision by participating in the Green Vision Summit & Expo and showcasing their innovative and sustainable approaches.We aim to connect with organisations that share our values and demonstrate a similar dedication to providing sustainable solutions.

More so, our children deserve access to quality education. We owe it to them. They deserve to have an opportunity to live in a country where green jobs are a reality. How can we claim to prioritise sustainability and espouse a green vision without fostering the growth of green companies on the Maltese islands? Consider this: How many companies are truly dedicated to the green industry, in contrast to the multitude of contractors and real estate developers? The answer is clear – we need to elevate our efforts.

The Green Vision initiative presents an opportunity to attract the right investments to the Maltese islands. We have a unique chance to not only achieve carbon neutrality but also establish sustainable practices that set us apart. In essence, we can demonstrate to the world that, when we set our minds to it, we can be a shining example of ethical business practices. Our aim is for Malta to become the premier green hub within Europe and the Mediterranean, a place where businesses from all corners of the globe converge and connect against the backdrop of our stunning Maltese landscape.

However, upon closer examination, we have encountered numerous individuals who proclaim themselves to be champions of sustainability, leaders who want the best for their country, yet money talks. Isn’t this called hypocrisy? Isn’t this part of the greed vision? As a citizen, what do you truly gain from this pursuit of greed? Perhaps a grant for solar panels is the extent of what is offered, leaving you perpetually thirsty for more.

This is an open invitation to join the Green Vision movement, one that aims to collectively define the true essence of sustainability. Are you going to be part of it? We reiterate this is an open invitation to you. Yes, YOU. Let us unite in granting our country and our people the chance they deserve. This is also an invitation to the international community to lend their support to this mission. We are in this together!

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