Community Banking to help make Catalonia’s economy sustainable
Lately we keep hearing the words “Km 0 products”, “digitalization” and “sustainability”. But what do these words have to do with the economy in Catalonia? What relationship does a sustainable economy have with Catalan companies and their way to help consumers to better choose the products they choose to consume?
The Department of the Environment of the Generalitat de Catalunya defines “km 0” or “proximity” products as those that have been produced less than 100 km away, that are seasonal, are organic (no chemicals or toxic products are used in their production) and at the same time protect the environment. As we have already experienced, COVID-19 has helped to accelerate and promote different initiatives to help small local food producers with the website Prodeca, a website promoting Catalan food. The web is organized according to the different categories of products and, at the same time, to territorial groups or regions, and features a special section of ecological products.
But also helps sustainability the fact that a company starts a digitalisation process, and therefore, looking at the data during 2020, this shows that 35% of Catalan companies were digitally transformed during the pandemic during that year. The main sectors that did so were services, commerce, and industry. But moreover, this has had positive consequences, because digitisation has also made them improve in efficiency and productivity.
But logically, the sustainable economy goes beyond consuming local products and digitalising companies. Sustainable economy affects three different areas which are the social, economic, and environmental part, well intertwined. On the environmental side, it helps to raise awareness with social campaigns that challenge us all. This leads us to encourage the purchase of environmentally friendly brands, to bet on recycling, fair trade, and second hand. But economy is related to awareness, because it also has consequences in promoting savings in homes and reducing energy consumption. In fact, in many cases, it is the small individual measures that, without much effort or cost, help us to contribute to those values of responsible consumption that end up helping to develop a more sustainable economy for everyone.
The trends are moving in this direction and can be seen in specific sectors where land and natural resources are being used more and more efficiently. For example, the wine sector, which is clearly committed to sustainability in our country, to generate business models that incorporate the circular economy and to reduce as much as possible the waste of resources. And in these models, the facilities themselves incorporate technology to optimise the use of all resources in generating products. The construction sectors are also evolving towards energy-responsible models, and this links up with people who are also increasingly looking for such options. In the end, customers move companies to evolve as individual awareness grows.
All the actions that we take as persons, as customers, have a great impact. In fact, if we look at trends, the economy of sharing is on the rise. Sharing, renting, reusing, repairing, and recycling existing products to create new ones, thus extending the life cycle of products, and wasting as little as possible. Using more than possessing would be the motto of all these movements and trends.
And it is necessary to be very conscious that sustainable economy is not achieved just by filling ourselves with products full of green labels as a sign of commitment to planet Earth. The main basis of any human action is to learn from its actions and consequences. We need to learn to know how to use the water we need, not to consume more than we can, to be reasonable, and to choose very well the product we want to buy, to be interested in knowing where that jumper we have at home comes from, the origin of that bottle of wine, or the consumption of that model of car we want to buy. Without going any further, many families are returning to a more natural lifestyle and a sustainable economy adapted to the current needs of society, both choosing rural life and improving life in the cities.
We, as a new bank, also want to contribute. We want to promote a sustainable economy based on the real and specific needs of each person living in the community who has their personal circumstances. Therefore, we also want to create social sustainability. Many companies start from a sustainable economy without thinking about their customers, but it is important to incorporate the people’s side, the social side, to complete the concept of sustainable economy, which is social, economic, and environmental.
Our clients are the center of the whole proposal, and therefore, what we offer must help them in their finances, to better choose their options: in short, to improve financially and economically. Thus, we intend to help our clients to choose more sustainable options and to teach them how the economy of abundance allows everyone to participate, from responsibility. And we will do it with transparency and simplicity. In the end, sustainability must make sense from economic efficiency, from individual and collective responsibility, and from the awareness that natural resources must be protected and valued.