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Arzu Tekir, TR

Director of EMBARQ Türkiye

What does Sustainable Entrepreneurship mean to you personally?

Sustainable Entrepreneurship is the creation of new ventures based on a deep understanding of the ways that social, financial and ecological systems intersect. Demographic dynamics and environmental pressures caused by economic activities have been taking their toll on earth for some years now. It is projected that the world population will reach the level of 9 billion by 2050 and most of this population will be living in the cities of developing countries.

Current patterns of production and consumption are already damaging the limited natural resources of our world. We have to control and prevent this trend; we have to establish the balance between economic activities and natural resources. This is why we should take sustainability very seriously. The quality of our lives and the lives of future generations depends on our success in this area.

What do you think, how firmly rooted is Sustainable Entrepreneurship already in people's thinking and, above all, in the actions of entrepreneurs?

The awareness is increasing both in public opinion and in the business world. However it is not sufficient yet. All entrepreneurs, particularly those who found and run SME’s must understand that sustainability is not only a luxurious concern of big enterprises, but it is vital for the success of every business, small and big.

Which sectors do you think are doing the most in terms of Sustainable Entrepreneurship, and which have a lot of catching up to?

It is good to see that many companies in the private sector are aware of this subject. Turkey sent impressive sustainability projects from different companies and public organizations to the Rio + 20 Summit last year. Some industries are running ahead of others in the effort they put into sustainability issues. Cement, automotive and energy industries, as well as construction made important progress in this area. We do see some movement in retail and fast moving goods industries. I believe other industries will follow soon.

What has to be done to gain more awareness in society and economy?

Social awareness is increasing in this area. The consumers are very interested in contributing to sustainability and they support those brands that do something to achieve it. The enterprises also see that sustainability provides resources and ensures the future of their business.

What we have to do in order to strengthen and extend this awareness is to apply principles and values of sustainability to every aspect of our lives, as it is the basic component of quality of living. Successful projects will increase the consciousness and awareness.

For instance Embarq is involved in finding sustainable solutions to urban issues, especially to transportation. The projects we conduct with local authorities in order to improve the quality of urban life help a lot to increase the awareness.

Politics, industry, society - who should be the driving force for the development of Sustainable Entrepreneurship?

Obviously it is important to create the legal framework and social environment that supports and encourages sustainable policies. Therefore an important part of responsibility is on the government and policy makers. However this does not mean that responsibility rests solely on politicians. Businesses, society and particularly NGO’s should support sustainability projects as well and work in order to increase the performance and awareness in this field.