08 July, 2008
A conference on "Green Entrepreneurship: Greek Ideas, Innovation, Products and Technical Know-How in the Global Fight for the Environment" was officially opened by Foreign Minister Dora Bakoyannis on Tuesday morning, in the presence of President of the Hellenic Republic Karolos Papoulias, at the foreign ministry's amphitheatre on Akadimias Street in Athens.
In her opening speech, Bakoyannis emphasised the need for competitiveness and said that this was enhanced by "green entrepreneurship" and technology.
She noted that such "green" business models and ideas, along with original innovations, new technology and new products, provided an answer to the challenge of climate change while putting an end to the dilemma of development versus environment by combining both.
"The wager for Greece is to not be simply among the group that consumes green technology but among those that develop and transfer it to others," she underlined.
Bakoyannis pointed out that the applications of green entrepreneurship concerned all sectors of the economy: primary (organic agriculture), secondary (energy production, energy conservation and recycling), tertiary (trade in green products)and quaternary (certification, communication etc).
At the same time, environmentally-friendly, extroverted entrepreneurship also provided ample opportunities for small-scale businesses and would help boost both Greek enterprise and the competitiveness of the Greek economy, she added.
Next to speak was Deputy Foreign Minister Petros Doukas, who stressed that the scientists and business people present were "on the front lines" in the effort to prevent climate change and that the conference would give them an opportunity to meet and give each other ideas.
Others attending the event included Parliament President Dimitris Sioufas, who hailed the foreign ministry's efforts as an "active participation in the global battle for the environment" and referred to the way Greece was changing its "energy balance" in response to climate change.
Minister of State Theodoros Roussopoulos, meanwhile, said that the rapid rise in oil prices over the past year "may prove one of the most positive developments in the history of mankind, since it provides the economic incentives to accelerate the discovery and application, in practice, of new technologies that combine technological development with protection of the environment".
He stressed the need for states to take a series of legal and financial measures to protect the environment and to create a new "green culture" among their citizens.
The event is organised by the foreign ministry in association with the National Technical University of Athens (NTUA), the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce, the Technical Chamber of Greece and the Hellenic Federation of Enterprises, with the support of the Universities of Piraeus and Patras, the American-Hellenic and British-Hellenic Chambers Of Commerce and Greenpeace.
The aim of the conference is to look into innovative Greek ideas, to present Greek companies and scientific research by Greek professors and research centres that provide the global fight against climate change with innovative products, technical know-how and technology. It is also aimed at the evaluation of cooperation prospects and funding for "Green Entrepreneurship".
It will close with a final speech by Doukas, who supervised its overall organisation.
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