Hungary, Glasgow, COP26, and Green Matters


Photo by rangizzz /

With the eyes of the world firmly on Glasgow over the next couple of weeks, there is only one place where we could start this issue’s editorial, and that is with the COP26 UN climate change conference.

In commemoration of the hopes invested in this 26th “conference of the parties,” as COP should more appropriately be called, we have boosted our environmental coverage. Our Green Matters column is relaunched this week with more detailed coverage and a new, dedicated reporter. Garry J. Morrell will be better known to regular readers as our real estate editor but has long been interested in environmental issues. If you have any Hungarian environmental news to share with us, please drop me a line, and I will gladly pass it on.

(In the weeks between now and Christmas, we will be introducing three other new columns dedicated to the automotive, healthcare, and HR sectors. Look out for more information on these in upcoming issues.)

On the page facing Green Matters, we carry an interview with Attila Steiner, the state secretary at the Ministry for Innovation and Technology responsible for developing the circular economy, energy, and climate policy. We got the interview, by the way, from those good old-fashioned journalistic attributes of being out and about. At an embassy event (a screening of the new James Bond film, since you asked), I met the wife of a past Expat CEO of the Year candidate. She happens to work in this area, and agreed to pass on contact details. Video conferencing can do a lot, but there is still a place for personal human interaction.

In our interview, Steiner talks about what Hungary hopes to get out of COP. At the risk of sounding flippant, quite a bit would seem like a reasonable answer, since the country is sending its biggest COP delegation to date to Glasgow.

Hungary has relatively good climate change credentials, as evidenced by the KPMG Net-Zero Readiness Index Steiner references. President János Áder, who attended the world leaders’ summit at the start of COP26, has long been interested in environmental issues, especially around water supply, and presents his own podcast called Kék bolygó (Blue Planet; presumably they cleared the name with the BBC).

Back in 2007, there was a story about a Hungarian company donating a reforestation project to be called the Vatican Climate Forest that was supposed to make Vatican City the first carbon-neutral state in the world by offsetting its greenhouse-gas emissions. It seems that never happened (in 2010, the Vatican was even threatening to sue), but Hungary’s forests have more than doubled in the past 100 years, according to Áder.

What Hungary wants, by the way, is a fair and balanced transition to sustainable technologies, among other things. But I will leave you to read more about that yourself. You will find the interview on page seven.

Robin Marshall


This article was first published in the Budapest Business Journal print issue of November 5, 2021.

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