Environment ministers and senior policymakers from more than 80 countries assembled for the 2012 United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum and Global Major Groups and Stakeholders Forum, which took place from 17-22 February.
Held in conjunction with UNEP’s 40th anniversary celebration, the meetings set out to prepare input on a range of issues, including a green and inclusive green economy, options to strengthen international sustainable development governance, sustainable consumption and production, and several sectorial topics such as chemicals and waste.
“Business is an important contributor to sustainable development such as through science and technology that lead to innovations and investments for green growth,” Martina Bianchini – Chair of the ICC Task Force on Green Economy and Vice-President, EU Government Affairs and Public Policy at Dow Chemical – told a ministerial roundtable and forum.
“It will be crucial to “green” all sectors in all countries and to advance resource efficiency and life cycle approaches,” Ms Bianchini said at the event, which was attended by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner.
“There is no-one-size-fits-all. Priorities and actions needed to transition towards a “green economy” may vary from sector to sector, value chain to value chain, and for specific national circumstances. Governance structures at local, regional, national and global level need to be aligned and mutually reinforce each other to allow all actors to meet their shared responsibilities, she said.
At a ministerial roundtable discussion focusing on Asia, Andrea Bacher, Policy Manager of the ICC Commission on Environment and Energy, stressed that in order to become a functional economic system, a green and inclusive economy needs to become ingrained in international and global markets and operationalized in the market and business balance sheets.
ICC’s conditions for a transition towards a green economy received positive recognition during a joint ICC UNEP discussion with stakeholders from trade unions, local governments, youth delegates and the science community. The side event re-emphasized that a green economy requires social, environmental, and economic pillars reinforced with cross-cutting elements, including integrated policy-making, governance and collaborations.
Steven Stone, the UNEP lead on green economy, stressed the importance of efficient markets and Greg Bond, Corporate Director Product Responsibility at Dow Chemical, showcased, through examples of innovative partnerships and management approaches, best practice and experiences demonstrating how the chemical industry enables products and services for green growth.
The ICC Green Economy Task Force will take dialogue outcomes into account when finalizing its green economy roadmap to be launched at Rio+20.