Toward Rio: Leading Business Sustainability Groups Make Case for Greater Scale and Collaboration

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Toward Rio: Leading Business Sustainability Groups Make Case for Greater Scale and Collaboration

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Thursday, June 7, 2012 - 4:45pm

CAMPAIGN: Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum

CONTENT: Press Release

(3BL Media) New York/Amsterdam - June 7, 2012 - Two of the world’s most prominent business-oriented sustainability organizations – the UN Global Compact and the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) – today issued a joint statement highlighting the urgent need to take pioneering corporate sustainability practices to greater scale, and calling on governments to work more fully with the international business community in the years and decades to come.

The UN Global Compact Office, headquartered in New York City, and the Global Reporting Initiative, based in Amsterdam, issued the statement just two weeks before government leaders will meet in Rio de Janeiro for the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) to try and forge consensus on a global sustainable development strategy.

“Taking pioneering sustainability innovations of leading companies to scale, business will be the key driver for green economic growth,” the statement reads. “Together with responsible investors, business organizations – working independently and in partnership with a range of other committed and passionate stakeholders – will help our world achieve the goal of true sustainable development.”

The statement – titled Sustainable Business: Helping to Foster the Future We Want – cites the growth of corporate sustainability implementation (based on initiatives such as the Global Compact) as well as sustainability reporting (based on frameworks such as that of GRI) as evidence that the sustainable business movement has taken firm root globally and “is reaching a point where it could become common norm for the business practices we need” to achieve “a sustainable future”.

However, the statement notes that: “While many thousands of companies have embraced universal sustainability principles as well as related reporting, the majority of businesses in the world have not. Thus, achieving scale – with respect to corporate sustainability implementation and disclosure, as well as the related fields of responsible investment and finance – remains the overriding and urgent priority.”

The statement concludes by calling on:

  1. All businesses to embrace the tenets of corporate sustainability – defined as the delivery of long-term value creation in financial, environmental, social, and ethical terms;
  2. All investors to adopt principles of responsible investment and finance as the norm; and
  3. All governments and inter-governmental organizations to commit to policies to drive the adoption of corporate sustainability practices and make them common for the good of all.

“We hope this joint statement by our two organizations will send a strong signal to governments everywhere that corporate sustainability must be incorporated into any long-range global sustainable development strategy,” said Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact. “Across a wide range of critical issues – including water, energy, food, human rights, and anti-corruption – the business community is pioneering a number of innovations and solutions.”

Mr. Kell added that many of these advances and practices will be showcased and discussed at the Corporate Sustainability Forum, scheduled to take place on 15-18 June in Rio de Janeiro.

Ernst Ligteringen, Chief Executive of the Global Reporting Initiative, added: “To achieve growth and prosperity for the future we want, companies must build on what the pioneers are already doing: measuring their performance and being transparent about the results. By pulling together, governments, business, finance, civil society, and other committed stakeholders can help accelerate the transition to sustainable development and a Green Economy.”

Media Contacts

Matthias Stausberg
Head of Public Affairs
UN Global Compact


Daniela Bonora
Communications Assistant
Global Reporting Initiative

About the UN Global Compact
Launched in 2000, the United Nations Global Compact is a both a policy platform and a practical framework for companies that are committed to sustainability and responsible business practices. As a multi-stakeholder leadership initiative, it seeks to align business operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption, and to catalyze actions in support of broader UN goals. With 7,000 corporate signatories in 135 countries, it is the world’s largest voluntary corporate sustainability initiative.

About the Global Reporting Initiative
The Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) produces a comprehensive Sustainability Reporting Framework that is widely used around the world, to enable greater organizational transparency. The Framework, including the Reporting Guidelines, sets out the Principles and Indicators organizations can use to report their economic, environmental, and social performance. GRI is committed to continuously improving and increasing the use of the Guidelines, which are freely available to the public.



Matthias Stausberg
+1 (917) 367-3423
United Nations Global Compact
Daniela Bonora
Global Reporting Initiative
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CAMPAIGN: Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum

CONTENT: Press Release