Elena Abrosimova is chair of Commercial Law and Basics of Law at Moscow State University. She has also held various expert advisory roles, including with the State Duma Committee on Issues of Public Associations and Religious Organizations and the Ministry of Justice of the Russian Federation. Elena is chair of the WWF-Russia Supervisory Board.
"Crises are difficult but they are also times of opportunity. We can use the COVID-19 pandemic to build stronger societies, in which people and nature thrive, developing a prosperous and flexible global economy based on sustainable and green technologies."
We live in a demanding time. A time in which humanity has the chance to balance and harmonise its relationship with the planet. A time in which governments can move away from subsidising the most destructive and contaminating industries and instead invest in green and sustainable companies that use energy-efficient technologies, support conservation, aim for zero carbon emissions as a standard way of working, and place an emphasis on social well-being.
Yet, in the midst of this time, in which the conversations about moving towards a more sustainable future have been getting louder and louder, the coronavirus hit our global society becoming an economic, social and ecological challenge. It is obvious that our economies and societies will change forever. We see how significantly COVID-19 has transformed the behavior patterns of households, many companies, and whole industries, leaving the most important question of today - in which direction will the recovery run?
What we know is that our current resource based economic model is not just unreliable and unstable, it is dangerous. It is a model that does not protect citizens, or societies, when facing such challenges as pandemics. All countries, without exception, have found themselves at a crossroads, and it is important that our governments make the right turn, and the right choices, at this very moment.
The economic models of the future need to include not just GDP growth as the only indicator of performance but must consider social and environmental factors as well.
Indeed, a green economy can deliver all the solutions that today’s governments are seeking. It creates new job opportunities, helping to fight unemployment; invests in public health while caring about nature; and, restores ecosystems through running conservation programmes.
Yes, it may be easier to choose our current system because it is the familiar one, but it is a system that is close to being obsolete and presents far more risks to our human future. For instance, relieving companies of their environmental requirements will not help beat this, or future, crises, but instead cause more serious financial and social problems. Finally, everything is connected in our contemporary world, we all depend on each other and the task of saving our natural resources is global as never before. Russia is vast and its nature is rich, there are still plenty of wild untouched territories which provide vital ecosystem services for all the globe. This needs to be protected. We are on the doorstep of, and holding the key to, a beautiful future world, and this key is green.