Business & UN

ICC pledges to take outcome of Rio+20 forward

  • 27 June 2012
ICC Sustainable development

The International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) today welcomed the outcome document of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, as a stepping stone to achieve sustainable development while helping to eradicate poverty.

ICC also applauded the confirmation of the decisive role of multilateral approaches across all policy areas by governments and intergovernmental bodies to achieve a green economy. Only by striving towards a holistic and global policy framework can we enable governments, business, and all parts of civil society to scale-up and deliver solutions for sustainability.

Rio+20 has recognized that business plays a vital role in implementing sustainable development and the outcome document of the conference paves the way for increased engagement by all stakeholders, including the private sector, toward achieving green and more inclusive economies. ICC, however, also recognized the many interlinked sustainability and policy challenges remaining to scale-up and accelerate implementation for sustained, inclusive and equitable global growth.

“Rio+20 set out to provide a vision for implementing sustainable development and the outcome document helps chart a path,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, ICC Secretary General. “All of us – business, governments, civil society – now have a great challenge but also a historic opportunity and responsibility to take that vision forward by scaling up efforts to adapt to the 21st century, mainstreaming sustainability into all areas of our lives.”

“The united political will for sustainability expressed in the outcome document is not only an important step on the road to a sustainable future, but it demonstrates the essential need for multilateralism in today’s interconnected world,” Mr Carrier added. “Governments have today reaffirmed the underlying principles of a global economy and the enabling conditions that allow business to do what it does best, create jobs and growth.”

ICC congratulated the Brazilian government for its leadership at the Rio+20 conference, particularly during the negotiations. ICC also praised the Mexican government for successfully bringing the outcomes of the G20 Summit to Rio+20. The G20 Summit took place earlier in the week in Los Cabos, Mexico.

“The best news to come out of Rio is that the green and inclusive economy concept has been established and accepted into the mainstream where the private sector, governments and civil society are now collaborating to channel resources into implementing it, rather than arguing about whether we should act,” Mr Carrier said. “Governments, corporate leaders, and civil society are stepping forward with innovative partnerships, funding and ideas. We will need much more of this in order to shape the future we all want.”

To deliver on the multilateral approach required for a greener, more inclusive economy, a strong United Nations will be critical. ICC, which works closely with many UN agencies, is encouraged by the efforts to strengthen this global institution and looks forward to increased opportunities for more direct private sector engagement.

During the Rio+20 conference, ICC presented its Green Economy Roadmap, a comprehensive guide for business, policymakers and civil society to build a green, more inclusive economy. The Roadmap outlines 10 conditions required for a green economy on a range of inter-linked policies and actions calling for innovation, collaboration and governance. It serves as both a tool for integrating sustainability into business strategies and government policies as well as a platform to share and scale-up best practices and initiate new activities.

“We are pleased to see the recommendations of ICC’s Green Economy Roadmap reflected in the final outcome document of the Rio+20 conference,” said Martina Bianchini, Chair of the ICC task force that developed the Roadmap and Vice President of EU Government Affairs & Public Policy, Dow Chemical Company. “Progress will be much faster with more collaboration between governments, civil society and business. Also, the importance of education, knowledge transfer, and skill building were recognized by governments in a meaningful way and will be critical for the operationalization and transition towards a green and inclusive economy.”

“At the last Earth Summit 20 years ago, business was perceived as the culprit by governments and civil society. Today we are seen as part of the solution. Business is leading the way toward a green economy and we will continue to provide the innovation and leadership that governments and civil society are counting on business to provide,” said Louise Kantrow, ICC’s Permanent Representative to the United Nations, who led the Business and Industry delegation in the negotiation process with the UN.

Leaders within the private sector have taken concrete and measurable actions towards building a green economy, having placed sustainability at the heart of their business strategies as competitive advantage. However, more needs to be done to scale up the best practices that exist today and raise the bar for performance within the chain of commerce.

ICC also noted that small and medium-sized enterprises play a crucial role as innovators and job creators and that they need capacity-building and support to effectively contribute to a green economy. ICC will continue its efforts to assist SMEs through its global network and chambers of commerce in all parts of the world.

Photo caption: ICC launched the ICC Green Economy Roadmap on 15 June at an official UN media conference at Rio+20. From left, Martina Bianchini, Chair, ICC Green Economy Task Force and Vice President of EU Government Affairs & Public Policy, Dow Chemical; Louise Kantrow, ICC Permanent Representative to the UN; Carlos Busquets, Deputy Director, Department of Policy and Business Practices, ICC