The main panel of the business breakfast, which had the theme ‘Economy vs Environment?’ included Minister for the Environment José Herrera, Opposition Spokesperson for Transport, Infrastructure and Capital Projects Marthese Portelli, Malta Developers Association President Sandro Chetcuti, economist Gordon Cordina and Energy and Water Agency Chief Executive Officer Manuel Sapiano.
Sapiano said that water and energy are an important aspect both of the environment and economy. Malta’s natural resources in both sectors are not enough, he stated. Demand is higher than supply. It is important to be efficient in the way we use these resources, he added.
“Our aim us to reach the country’s demand by seeing what natural resources we have, plus seeing which alternative resources we need to supplement them,” he said, mentioning, among others, land reclamation, renewable energy and desalination of seawater. He added that in his opinion, companies and entities which implement sustainable practices should be rewarded.
The discussion was moderated by Jesmond Saliba.
The event also saw the participation of several movers-and-shakers in the audience who gave a valid contribution to the proceedings.
Jesmond Mizzi Managing Director of Jesmond Mizzi Financial Advisors, said that the subject of economy versus environment is often a hot topic when he goes to similar events abroad. The middle class is growing all over the world, he said, and one needs to see where these kinds of people – as well as companies – are investing.
“People are investing a lot in ‘clean energy’, Smart Cities and, therefore, companies which are changing the way we live,” he said.
Mizzi also touched upon the problem of water scarcity all over the world. He said it is positive that many people – especially from the younger generation – are becoming more conscious of these issues, adding that even governments are aware of what is their constituents demand when they go to vote in this respect.
All this is a radical change which is now also reaching Malta. The three parties – government, business and citizens need to work together for a better world, he concluded.
David Aquilina, one of the Directors of Belair Property, said that we tend to speak about development and environment as if there is a clash between the two; as if they cannot co-exist. He said that there is nothing to be done about certain ‘wrong’ planning which was carried out in the past. However, now it was the citizens, not the people at the ‘top’, who were unhappy with the current state of affairs.
“It’s easy to say that you are going to build environmentally-friendly buildings,” he added, “but it comes at a cost.”
Speaking to Newsbook.com.mt after the event, William Spiteri Bailey from RSM Malta said that the Business Breakfast was a very interesting event which tackled an issue which is very important to the whole country.