Some 300 business people, government and non-governmental organization representatives, attended this Business and Industry Consultation with Government and Civil Society, organized by the government of the Netherlands, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD). ICC and other business participants have been shaping recommendations ahead of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June.
ICC’s 10 Conditions for a Green Economy
At the meeting, ICC outlined the requirements to accelerate progress toward a green economy and presented its 10 Conditions for a Transition toward a Green Economy and its voluntary code for companies, the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development. The ICC Business Charter, is already being used by thousands of large and small companies around the world as the basis for sound environmental management.
ICC is also preparing a Green Economy Roadmap that will be released in May. It will be a practical tool for governments and the private sector to guide them in the transition to a green economy.
Business has been playing an increasingly important role as governments around the world seek to advance economic growth while accelerating environmental protection and social progress. The private sector has much to contribute to sustainable development, using science and technology to stimulate innovation and investment for green growth and the eradication of poverty.
ICC, in keeping with its historic principle that opening trade leads to peace and prosperity, upholds that open and efficient markets are necessary conditions for the transition to green economies.
“Trade and investment are critical pillars for green growth,” said ICC Secretary General Jean-Guy Carrier. “Business strongly believes that the potential of open trade and investment must be harnessed in order to achieve the environmental and social goals of sustainable development. This would allow for greener approaches to be adopted along the entire value chain.”
Participants at the conference in The Hague – under the theme “Realizing Inclusive and Green Growth” – discussed how business’s strengths in innovation, reactivity and execution can best be leveraged, as well as what is needed from governments to facilitate the transition to a green economy.
“Clearly, responsible business practices are needed to provide opportunities for stronger economic development, but a move towards the green economy also requires policy and regulatory frameworks that promote informed investment decisions for both public and private investors,” said Martina Bianchini, Chair of the ICC Task Force on Green Economy and Vice-President, EU Government Affairs and Public Policy, of the Dow Chemical Company. The ICC Task Force on Green Economy consists of approximately 90 companies and other organizations from a variety of sectors worldwide.
New financing models needed
Business and industry have the tools at their disposal to provide solutions towards sustainable economic, environmental and social development, but new financing models are needed to drive investment toward sustainability.
“Trade finance, for example, must be freed up to promote economic growth, especially in the developing world,” Mr Carrier said. “This would facilitate an effective private sector with improved conditions for trade and investment.”
What is business doing?
Business has demonstrated considerable success in integrating sustainability into business practices, for example through use of practical tools such as ICC’s 10 Conditions for a Transition toward a Green Economy and the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development. Other examples include reporting initiatives, such as the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), standards and guidance such as ISO 14001, voluntary sectorial approaches and “soft law” approaches, such as the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. Companies in all sectors have taken concrete actions, from reducing environmental impacts across value chains to increasing energy and resource efficiency, investing in low-carbon and renewable energy and reducing waste.
ICC is building upon its policy work and global network in the lead up to Rio+20, bringing together the substantial efforts of the private sector on green growth across a wide spectrum of global policy processes, including that of the G20.
After The Hague, ICC will head to Nantong, China, to further consult with global business at the ICC Green Growth Trade and Investment Forum, 9-10 May. Businesses of all sizes, regional and local government bodies, chambers of commerce and business groups will meet to discuss challenges and opportunities for green growth and provide practical input for Rio+20. On 11 May, ICC will hold additional consultations in China to finalize the high-level business input to both the official G20 process ahead of the G20 Summit in Los Cabos, Mexico in June, and to the Rio+20 Conference.
Upcoming events include:
ICC Green Growth Trade and Investment Forum – Asia 2012
Nantong, China, 9-10 May 2012
Rio+20 and G20 Regional Consultations in China
Nantong, China, 11 May 2012
BASD 2012 Business Day
Rio de Janeiro, 19 June 2012
World Business and Development and Awards in support of the Millennium Development Goals
Rio de Janeiro, 19 June 2012
About BASD 2012
Business Action for Sustainable Development 2012 (BASD 2012) is the official United Nations Major Group coordinator of Business and Industry for the upcoming Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to be held in Rio de Janeiro on 20-22 June 2012. A coalition of leading international business organizations who are committed to sustainable development with the overall objective to enhance the conference contribution to sustainable and inclusive markets, BASD 2012 will ensure the voice of business is heard throughout the Rio+20 Process. This initiative is convened by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the United Nations Global Compact (UNGC). A wide range of international industry associates have also joined the coalition as Partners, representing a broad cross-section of industries and geographies: International Federation of Private Water Operators (Aquafed); Air Transport Action Group (ATAG); Business Council for Sustainable Energy (BCSE); CropLife International; Cement Sustainability Initiative (CSI); Digital Energy Solutions Campaign (DESC); International Aluminum Institute (IAI); International Council of Chemical Associations (ICCA); International Council on Mining and Metals (ICMM); Global Oil & Gas Industry Association (IPIECA); World Steel Association. to learn more about BASD visit: www.basd2012.org