'People want change,' Action Planet founder says

How the Malta Sustainability Forum will help Malta’s sustainability agenda

“Sustainability affects every single one of us, from swimming in the sea with plastic to how we are treated in the work place,” says Fiona Hornstein, Founder and Team Leader of Action Planet.

With this in mind, she is looking forward to speaking at the upcoming Malta Sustainability Forum – which is taking place next week – because “it is so important that we unite to find solutions to positively impact Malta’s sustainability. There are so many amazing initiatives being undertaken in Malta but there is little awareness of them.”

Hornstein is a creative entrepreneur. A mother of two with a keen love for the island, she is currently leading the nationwide sustainability initiative, Action Planet – Business, which brings together sustainability experts to develop a one-stop shop to promote and support sustainability in the island’s business sector. It is this cohesion and collaboration that she thinks is key to finding solutions for Malta’s sustainability. And the Malta Sustainability Forum, or MSF, answers this vital need perfectly.

But what does sustainability mean to Hornstein?

“We need to look at the three pillars – economic, social and environmental,” she says. “To achieve true sustainability, all of them need to be considered. We not only need to look at how our everyday choices are impacting our environment but also what we are doing to replenish resources. We need to consider how people of all ethnicities, genders and abilities are treated in the workplace and community. We also need to look at how our sustainability choices can positively impact economies by using free energy, and developing more paperless and circular economies,” she explains.

Fiona Hornstein, Founder and Team Leader of Action Planet
Fiona Hornstein, Founder and Team Leader of Action Planet

The Malta Sustainability Forum, which is open to the public and will be held on 14 November at The Westin Dragonara Resort, is co-sponsored by some of the island’s most sustainability-focused businesses, namely APS Bank, PwC, GO, GasanMamo and Cool Car Pooling.
The event is the first of its kind on the island, and its main objective is to raise awareness on the topic of sustainability and empower Malta’s citizens to make conscious decisions towards achieving a sustainable life. In fact, the overarching theme this year is the ‘Thinking Citizen’.

At the event, a panel of top local and international speakers will present practical cases about how to move Malta’s sustainability agenda forward, followed by moderated discussions. HE The President of Malta, Dr George Vella, will open the Forum and the keynote speech will be given by the Hon. Minister José Herrera, Minister for the Environment, Sustainable Development, and Climate Change. Other speakers will include Adrien Labaeye – Sharing Cities Fellow and PhD researcher at Humboldt Universität zu Berlin, Carl Pratt – Founder of Future Planet, and, of course, Ms Hornstein.

The Forum is targeting both consumers and corporations, and Ms Hornstein is keen to point out that both groups play a critical role in achieving sustainability for future generations.

“As individuals, changing some simple every day habits can make a difference – from reducing what we consume to ensuring that we recycle,’ she points out. “As businesses, putting into place sustainability policies that ensure ethical sourcing and employee rights creates a positive working environment, happy employees and loyal customers. It makes business sense to be sustainable! In fact, in the United Nations Global Compact-Accenture CEO Study this year, they noted that 93 per cent of CEOs believe that sustainability is important to the future success of their business.”

And does Ms Hornstein feel that this is progressing in Malta? “Every country has committed to reaching the 17 Sustainable Development Goals, outlined by the UN, by 2030,” she says. “We are far from target and have a lot to do! But the good news is that there are many passionate people in Malta that are undertaking some very exciting projects that can help us to achieve some of our targets. It is time to talk about them and also to come together to share thoughts and discuss ideas about what else can be done.”

Hornstein goes on to say that: “There is a growing awareness in the world. People want change. People want to live in a clean, fair, prosperous, peaceful world and our sustainability choices directly affect that. “

So why, in her opinion, are events like the Malta Sustainability Forum so useful? “By coming together we can have more impact, we can pool ideas and constructively work together for a better future. Initiatives like the Malta Sustainability Forum create a platform for this to happen.”

Tickets to the Malta Sustainability Forum start at €20, including a networking lunch. To view the full agenda and register for the Forum, please visit www.maltasustainabilityforum.com

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