An overarching theme that seemed most relevant to many of the places we visited in Europe was Green Business. In the European Union the regulations are much different compared to the United States. The first stop that I heard this theme come up was at the European Social Committee, our speaker talked about how it’s the job of the EU to make sure business are following the laws to make sure they aren’t harming the planet. He brought up how the EU doesn’t allow any pharmaceutical or cosmetic testing allowed on animals which seems like a common since to not allow but after looking in to the US side it isn’t. Many US cosmetic brands aren’t sold in the EU because they allow animal testing.
The second point brought up by our speaker at the social committee was being kind to the environment. The EU tries to make sure products sold on the common market aren’t overly wasteful. We saw this when visiting Coca-Cola on Wednesday morning. Coca-Cola Europe tries to be as carbon efficient as possibly. They try to avoid sending trucks out empty. They prevent this by handling shipping for Luxemburg and partnering with other small beverage companies to be able to use fuel efferently. Coke also reuses glass bottles when possible the water used to clean used bottles is also filtered and cleaned near the site to save money and energy. In addition to reusing glass bottles they worked ways to repurpose plastic bottles and cans. They are repurposing them to make everything from clothing to bike frames and chairs. Comparing this to the US where environmental concerns are not as big of an issue.
Finally the importance of green business and the EU was brought up at the meeting at Business Europe. During our round table discussion of Brexit the speaker talked about how green business is one reason why the EU market is strong. When comparing the EU market to the markets of the US and China the speaker talked about creativity and green business are what sets the EU apart and makes the single market so strong. When looking at all of this its interesting how such different cultures and countries in the EU can come together and enforce and believe in doing the right thing for the environment. Hopefully other large markets follow suit and we can start bettering our world.
The Brussels trip may have been my favorite part of this whole summer abroad trip. What I took out of Brussels was how important it is to be a global citizen. Not only was this relevant in the different offices and companies we visited but also in the fact that there was a NATO summit while we were there. The city had increased security and it was impactful to see that what was happening on the news was happing just a few blocks away. We live in an increased globalized world and its important to be well informed and active global citizens.