Airbus had a key presence at the World Economic Forum’s first-ever Ministerial Meeting on Innovation and Sustainable Growth, held this week to drive forward the global agenda on innovation and sustainable growth.
Among those representing the business sector was Airbus President and CEO Tom Enders, who acted as a spokesperson for the aviation industry.
Participants of the meeting – held as part of this year’s Annual Meeting of the New Champions in Tianjin, China – agreed that energy-saving and environmentally-friendly products would lead future markets, as well as technological innovation.
Environmental considerations have long been an integral part of the Airbus activities at all levels, and are a key priority in the development of new methods, products and processes.
The meeting also underscored the need for an optimal balance between the roles of government and business, markets and regulation, locally and worldwide – with global institutions providing a clear framework for the adoption of green technologies. At a national level, governments should tailor policies to their own context, while companies can be supported for innovation through a combination of incentives and regulation at the industrial level.
“Political decisions should not distort competition and should set the right incentives,” added Enders. “For instance, if Europe alone introduces carbon taxes in the next couple of years, that distorts competition with other airlines.”
Creating the ecosystem for eco-efficient growth to take root among stakeholders requires a progressive, step-by-step approach, the ministerial meeting confirmed. Without proper access to funding, however, stakeholders may not have the means to participate in the green economy. Additionally, there was a consensus on the need for more openness towards financing small and medium enterprises.
“The best way is to look after the market mechanisms, to incentivise companies, perhaps to look after some taxation relief for a limited time – encouraging companies to move ahead and not wait until big administrations have figured it out,” Enders recommended.
Participants concluded that the way forward may include innovative public-private partnerships and a small coalition of like-minded countries that are well placed to pilot new ideas and create momentum for reform.