Although as a constituted body it doesn’t fall within our direct remit to stimulate and lead the commitment towards sustainable business environmental transitions, we are actually and tangibly doing it out of our firm belief in ESG principles and SDG goals. The Malta Employers’ Association is managing to do this through the MEAGreen Project.
The MEAGreen initiative is of a strategic objective of the MEA to offer leadership to its members on ESG matters dedicating substantial time and resources towards creating strong awareness amongst entrepreneurs that green growth makes business sense. The objective behind MEAGreen is to prepare companies for a world where business must be conducted within the highest Environmental, Social and Governance principles.
At the same time, the each individually-linked initiative was also aimed at contributing towards the country’s SDG (Sustainable Development Goals) laid down by the UN for peace and prosperity for people and the planet, now and into the future – in particular those amongst the 17 Goals directed at Quality Education; Decent Work and Economic Growth; Clean Energy; Climate Action; Sustainable Communities; and Industry, Innovation and Infrastructure. All throughout, consistent input was sought from the ICT sector in light of the MEA’s strong belief that the optimization capabilities provided by ICT are a crucial enabler for attaining such goals.
As stated above, for the purpose of MEAGreen, the Association mobilized all its resources and internal channels of communication and membership engagement. Principal amongst these is the MEA TV Programme, with audiences exceeding 20,000 every week. The Association, dedicated several, 25-minute programmes to promote aspects related to ESG and SDG governance and panel discussions about the Circular Economy; Climate Change and Work; Green Jobs; Jobs in the Maritime Industry; the European Green deal and other similar topics.
Likewise, the MEA also made ample use of its online communication channels, in particular its website, social media and MEA Index portal to consolidate the messages imparted and provide sign-posting links to related resources (such as funding incentives, courses etc) placed at the disposal of interested companies by the competent authorities.
The MEA is also organizing a number of webinars on related topics often involving keynote speakers and experts of high repute to ensure interactive communication and engagement with members. For the same reason, so far, the MEA already dedicated two National Conference (organised in June 2021 and November 2021) to related topics, namely “Balancing Sustainable Economic Growth with Quality of Life” and “The Journey Ahead for SMEs & Green Growth”. Collectively, over 50 expert speakers addressed these two events involving several panel discussions to maximise interaction.
All throughout, the MEA’s SME Helpdesk kept in contact and established good working relationship with important leading stakeholders to keep itself abreast with all latest developments and opportunities arising from same, most notably in terms of the National Environment Strategic plan. Similarly, the MEA was constantly plugged into its prominent international and regional affiliations including ILO and EBSOMED from where relevant data, manuals and best practice information was periodically sourced and circulated to the business community.
An innovative feature of the conference organised within the MEAGreen initiative was a 150-page document which was pre-intended to derive concrete and lasting benefits from the event, which would be accessible to a wider audience, well beyond the group of people who participated actively in its event. This publication outlined the outcome of the discussions in the context of the positions put forward by business and the various authorities represented. The same information was further synergized into concrete recommendations forming part of the MEA’s “Pre-Election 2021 Memorandum” which was shared with political parties” and published in the media.
The MEAGreen initiative had clear and targeted objectives of influencing business and government decision makers towards orientating their strategies and processes in favour of ESG principles. The overarching intention behind MEAGreen was to support Malta’s path towards attaining the Sustainable Development Goals laid down by the UN for a better, greener and fairer world.
The consistent messages emanating from the MEA throughout the duration of this project were disseminated to more than 800 enterprises, being those companies with the highest employment count and influence in Malta. This, besides around 20,000 weekly viewers of the MEA TV Programme, online and social media channels which were all mobilized for the purposes of this project. Feedback from the enterprises and public at large, as a result of the collective MEA initiatives, drove certain public sector agencies and NGOs to respond and initiate new programmes and incentives to support businesses in their innovative and greener objectives.
Several concrete initiatives, in fact, were taken in response to the private-sector’s positive reaction to orientate their operations towards carbon neutrality thereby reducing the exposure of their staff, clients and people residing in the immediate vicinity of their business location to potentially harmful pollutant emissions.
- Transport Malta so far certifies vehicles converted to Hybrid Diesel Dual Fuel (HDDF) and issues them with a Vehicle Registration Certificate as evidence of their “clean vehicle” status.
- The Department of Contracts, issued Circular No 18 (15 November 2021) to regularise acceptance of vehicles which do not satisfy the desired EURO level standard (5) to be duly considered eligible to participate in any tendering process if the above-mentioned TM Vehicle Registration Certificate attests that the same standard has been achieved via technical after-treatment or through the retrofit of a Heavy-Duty Dual Fuel System.
- TM secured a €50m budget from the EU’s Recovery and Resilience Fund to promote the transition to battery electric vehicles. The resultant incentives offered varied from €11,000 for each new electric car to €250,000 for new electric coaches or big trucks. The purchase of electric pedelecs and motorcycles was also promoted as was the conversion of heavy-duty vehicles to HDDF technology.
- In November 2021, the MEA signed an MoU with the Malta Enterprise to promote and support environmental-sustainable enterprises.
- Malta Enterprise launched various grants aimed at incentivizing sustainable business models such as Change to Grow, Investment Aid for Energy Efficiency Projects, Smart & Sustainable Investment Grant
- In May 2022, the MEA was approached by NGO “Flimkien ghal Ambjent Ahjar” to endorse and sign an Environmental Charter aimed for better environmental policies and governance in Malta.
- The MEA was invited by a pan-Mediterranean association to contribute towards an EBSOMED Project involving a study on the application of Green Hydrogen and the Carbon Border Adjustment Mechanism, through the lens of sustainability, skills and green transition. Other Mediterranean partners were invited
- Further benefits emerged in that as a result of the initiative, the MEA representative on the EESC (Group 1) was able to transmit the feedback received from all actions taking place under MEAGreen to peer organisations at European and Euro-Med levels. In particular when Ms Sammut-Bonnici was rapporteur of the “Digital transition in the Euro-Mediterranean region” working-group and in her participation in conferences on “Geopolitics of energy strategies in the Mediterranean region”; “Enhancing labour mobility to support economic recovery.
During the duration of MEAGreen, in November 2020, MEA was approached to join the Foundation for Transport as one of the pioneer co-founders. Through MEA’s participation, hundreds of entrepreneurs benefitted from a number of webinars, focus group meetings and pilot projects and were able to participate and contribute through two conducted surveys.
The MEA was pleased to note that as a collective result of the MEA’s initiatives, business responded to the call for decarbonisation and Greener-solutions:
Energy generated from renewable sources for commercial use increased significantly from 57,509 to 93,454 kWp over the past 3 years.
Similarly, Malta now counts 1,112 electric cars belonging to companies. This represents a share of 13.5% from the electric vehicles registered.