McKinsey: What should Europe be optimistic about?
Massimo Giordano: When Europe works, it works extremely well. Let me give you two examples: sustainability and inclusion. On sustainability, Europe has 2.4 times lower CO2 emissions per capita than the United States, and 1.8 times lower CO2 emissions per unit of GDP.1 We got off to an early start but need to maintain our lead.
There’s still a lot to do, but we are doing quite well. The same holds true for inclusion. If you examine all the key parameters like social progress, social lift, inequality, life expectancy, and life satisfaction, Europe scores extremely high, so we should be proud.
Europe’s education system is another reason for optimism, and statistics bear this out in terms of accessibility, as well as in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM). Also, we probably have the most connected society on earth, especially with regards to trade, making Europe a great market for any organization, which we should leverage more.
Over the last few years, we’ve experienced the highest growth in unicorns, with more than €110 billion invested in European start-ups.2 We are a bit behind in venture capital investment compared to the US, but in recent years, we’ve seen a significant push to sustain new businesses, which can be a great lever for innovation and an incubator for future leaders.
Also, many traditional and well-grounded European companies have decided to invest in new technologies or sustain small start-ups and venture capital initiatives, which, in my opinion, is a very virtuous way of financing the future.