On Sept. 9, 2014, the Curacao Business Council for Sustainable Development (Bedrijvenplatform Milieu – BPM) held a very successful seminar & workshops on the subject of “The New World of Sustainable Business”. A full room at the Kura Hulanda Hotel listened with enthusiasm to several international and local speakers on different sustainable business topics including keynote speaker, Mr. Paul van Kessel from Stichting Rijk in Holland, on implementing sustainable procurement in a business or in the government. Using real life examples from Holland, he demonstrated that sustainable procurement saves companies money and reduces their environmental impact. BPM’s vice-president, Mr. John Amarica explained the urgency behind implementing sustainability in one’s personal life and within businesses and presented some of the latest trends in sustainable business. Mr. Ralf Weiriks from PwC explained in detail what Corporate Social Responsibility is, how companies are implementing it and how assurance is crucial for CSR credibility. Ms. Deva Dee Sillie of Curacao Cares spoke to the participants about how sustainability is best achieved by cross-sector collaboration, involving cooperation and long-term partnerships between government, the private sector, and not-for-profit organizations. Also a different approach to sustainability, where people are the main focus, in a co-op business structure was presented by Sharnon Isenia of Indigo Blue Consult, using the Mondragon co-op in Spain as an example. Finally, a look into the future of consumption, resources and energy on our planet was provided by Mr. Patrick Newton of KPMG including the trending of 10 sustainability ‘mega-forces’ that will shape the way business is conducted in the coming 30 to 50 years. The potential for businesses to succeed in the transition of our current economy to a “blue’ and eventually a “green’ economy are enormous.
In the afternoon, there were also two workshops where participants learned hands-on about sustainability labels for products, sustainability certifications for companies, and how to implement CSR in companies.
The event ended with a panel discussion of how Curacao can reap the benefits of the New World of Sustainable Business and the current transition to a new type of circular sustainable economy. The conclusion seemed to be that the best opportunity is to try and establish a Sustainability Center of Excellence on Curacao to promote and disseminate new sustainable technologies in the Caribbean and South America.