Our world and our economy are changing rapidly.
The challenges we face are global. Climate change is the greatest challenge in human history!
Dealing with increasing climate change and the environmental, economic and social consequences (from environmental disasters to shortages of basic consumer goods, cost increases and supply chain disruptions) it is necessary to turn towards Sustainable Development, changing the productive economic model towards more sustainable solutions.
Sustainable development (or sustainability) is more than just a business trend. As a leading political and economic goal of the European Union and of the State, it now governs all policies and sectors of social and economic life.
In this context, as economic conditions change in the direction of sustainability, companies are called upon to innovate in the production model and in the products / services they produce, in their distribution methods, in the development of partnerships and in every part of their commercial activity.
The benefits of adopting sustainable business practices for businesses are significant, such as:
- Achieving a competitive advantage through innovation and partnerships
- Access to finance / attract investment for new product development
- Improving the image / reputation of the company and its extroversion
Sustainable Development & Competition
Sustainable development in our daily lives
Sustainable development has entered our daily lives as an urgent challenge that requires drastic solutions to ensure better environmental conditions.
The United Nations Agenda 2030 is the general common framework of all mankind for sustainable development, setting seventeen (17) Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Furthermore, theParis Agreement sets targets for strengthening the global response to the threat of climate change in the context of sustainable development.
The goal of sustainable development aims to meet the needs of today’s generations without compromising the self-sufficiency of future generations. It thus constitutes a holistic approach as it contains aspects, extensions and outcomes concerning the environment, society and the economy which are interrelated and mutually reinforcing. As the European Commission states, SDGs are a combination of the above elements/dimensions (environment, society, economy), setting goals for:
- human dignity
- ensuring the “health” of our planet
- fair and resilient societies and prosperous economies.
Sandbox for Sustainable Development & Competition
Creating a Protected Environment
In order to foster innovation and contribute positively to the public interest, the Hellenic Competition Commission (HCC) has created this protected environment that will encourage businesses to adopt innovative business ideas in favor of sustainable development.
The sandbox is a supervised environment where undertakings can undertake initiatives that contribute significantly to the goals of sustainable development, for a specific period of time under the guidance and in direct collaboration with the HCC, so as to ensure that these initiatives do not significantly impede competition.
In this context, the proposal’s effects on both competition and sustainable development are assessed by the HCC in order to enhance legal certainty and reduce regulatory risk for investments in line with the broader public interest goals for sustainable development.
- Overview and Objectives
The primary purposes of the HCC’s sandbox are:
- Promoting and enhancing competition: Through the sandbox, companies can take initiatives that contribute significantly to the goals of sustainable development without significantly impeding competition. In this context, the proposal’s effects on both competition and sustainable development are assessed by the HCC in order to enhance legal certainty and reduce regulatory risk for investments in line with the broader public interest goals for sustainable development. The aim is to increase legal certainty, in terms of the application of competition law, for companies wishing to invest in green transformation and set green standards for the production of products, services, energy, etc., facilitating their development and raising capital from financial markets.
- Avoidance of anti-competitive practices: Within the HCC’s supervised environment, it is possible to fully evaluate those practices that make a significant contribution to the public interest and enhance sustainable development.
- Strengthening the culture for promoting innovative business proposals
The purpose of the HCC is to contribute to the green transformation of the Greek economy according to the principles of competition and to the creation of a new economic model which, ab initio, will avoid the creation of monopolistic situations. The challenge for the Greek economy is to create a modern industrial production base on the basis of sustainable development. In this context, the Greek economy can assimilate and create technologies in order to eliminate the technological gap that exists with other countries and economies, and also to contribute to the redesign of the world economy along green standards.
- Why join the HCC’s Supervised Environment?
The EA’s supervised environment provides the eligible participants with the opportunity to cooperate with the HCC and to implement their proposal in the market under the supervision of the HCC for a certain period of time, in case specific competition problems are identified which require some form of monitoring.
- No-enforcement action letter
In accordance with the provisions of article 37A of law 3959/2011 and following the evaluation of the business proposal, the President of the HCC may issue a no-enforcement action letter against a horizontal or vertical agreement for violation of article 1 of law 3959/2011 or and article 101 of the TFEU or against a practice for violation of article 2 of law 3959/2011 and article 102 of the TFEU.
- Who can apply to join the sandbox?
The sandbox involves various sectors of the industry, such as technology, environment and energy, recycling / waste management, healthcare, but also other sectors that will primarily aim at promoting the environmental goals of sustainable development.
- The stages
- Application / Submission of proposal
- Contact of the parties with the HCC for the first evaluation of the project
- Collection of studies / analyses and evaluation by the HCC
- Result and Implementation Schedule