Business faces energy challenge

  • 9 February 2006

ICC has urged environment ministers from more than 100 countries to develop long-term energy policy that involves business in finding solutions to problems such as climate change and the lack of access to affordable energy.

ICC’s views were expressed at the UN Environment Programme’s (UNEP) 9th Special Session of the Governing Council/Global Ministerial Environment Forum.

Wendy Poulton, General Manager, Corporate Sustainability, at Eskom of South Africa, spoke on behalf of an ICC-led business delegation attending the talks:

“Business is actively committed to contributing to reliable access to energy at affordable prices with acceptable impacts. Engaging business and its significant operational, technological and financial capacity in energy policy development and implementation is essential for sustainable delivery and consumption of energy.”

Meetings held during the day included tense negotiations on the international management of chemicals, a frank dialogue on the risks posed by a lack of access to affordable energy, and talks on the environmental impacts related to a continued reliance on carbon-intensive energy sources.

The ICC statement laid out the realities confronting the energy industry as it enters a new era of higher oil costs and tackles a renewed push for alternative sources of energy. It stated that energy policy must work in concert with other internationally-agreed goals for sustainable development.

In her statement to the UNEP plenary, Ms Poulton said a longer-term energy policy approach should:

Take into account the experiences, impacts and effectiveness of implementation of energy policies in different countries and regions;
Engage broad international participation to address all risks effectively;
Push the fact that open, free markets provide the best conditions for investment in and provision of energy;
Encourage utilization of the full range of energy options;
Address adaptation needs, particularly in developing countries;
Stimulate the broader use of existing efficient technologies, and support research, development and global deployment of new technologies in all sectors.

Ms Poulton applauded the move by UNEP to include energy on its agenda as precursory discussions for the 14th UN Commission on Sustainable Development meetings (CSD 14). The meetings, to be held in May 2006, will examine a broad range of energy related issues.

ICC is a founding member – along with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development and the World Energy Council – of the Business Action for Energy (BAE) initiative. BAE brings together a comprehensive network of businesses from around the world to advocate that:

Business is a constructive contributor and indispensable participant in delivering sustainable energy – alongside governments and civil society;
Business is a willing and active partner in the process through the provision of resources, and the development and deployment of technologies.