Private sector and governments collaborate to advance green economy ahead of Rio+20

  • 13 April 2012
ICC Conference and events

In the run-up to the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20), business representatives, government officials and other stakeholders engaged in a two-day consultation in The Hague, the Netherlands.

More than 300 participants discussed the theme “Realizing Inclusive and Green Growth” and how business’ strengths in innovation, adaptation and implementation can best be leveraged to facilitate the transition to a green economy. The outcomes of the discussions have been captured and will be fed into the negotiation process for Rio+20.

Organized by the government of the Netherlands, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (UNDESA) and the Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD2012), the consultation in The Hague was a major event in the Rio+20 preparatory process. It provided an opportunity to discuss constructive global private sector key messages around the role of business and its expectations of governments for the Rio+20 Conference which will be held in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, on 20-22 June. The general consensus was that business, government and other stakeholders will need to work together and move, as one high-level UN official called it; “from paper to implementation”.

Leading companies around the world have placed sustainability at the top of their agendas, realizing the growing significance and urgency of global environmental, social and economic challenges. Using science and technology to stimulate innovation and investment for green growth, the private sector is a catalyst for sustainable development.

“Whatever progress we have made since Rio 1992, we could not have done it without the contributions of business and industry,” said Sha Zukang, United Nations Under Secretary General for Economic and Social Affairs, and Secretary General of the UNCSD (Rio+20), who set the stage in his opening keynote address.

Mr Zukang also promoted the BASD 2012 Business Day which will take place on 19 June 2012 in Rio de Janeiro. “This event will allow for a continued frank discussion between governments, business leaders and other civil society participants,” said Mr Sha.

“Governments can play an important role by fighting barriers to sustainable investment, while businesses need to accept sustainability as a prerequisite for profitability,” said Ben Knapen, Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation of the Netherlands. “Without the private sector it is almost impossible to reach a sufficient scale and have a major impact. That is why the Netherlands attaches so much importance to this consultation in the lead-up to the Rio+20 Conference.”

“Trade and investment are critical pillars for green growth,” said Jean-Guy Carrier, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and member of the BASD Steering Group, at the meeting. “Business strongly believes that the potential of open trade and investment must be harnessed to achieve the environmental and social goals of sustainable development.”

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.