Leading into Rio+20 Summit, Business Makes a Pitch for Corporate-based and Public-Private Sustainability Solutions

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Leading into Rio+20 Summit, Business Makes a Pitch for Corporate-based and Public-Private Sustainability Solutions

Vote tonight on business bid for engagement in Sustainable Development Goals
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Monday, June 18, 2012 - 7:15pm

CAMPAIGN: Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum

CONTENT: Press Release


(3BL Media) Rio de Janeiro - June 18, 2012 - Concluding a four-day forum, executives, investors, civil society leaders and business school deans today delivered a strong message to world leaders who will meet later this week at Rio+20 to tackle economic deprivation and environmental risks.

A wrap-up statement from the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum (15-18 June) endorses the potential of multi-stakeholder collaboration in making transformational changes on energy, water, food, women’s empowerment and other global issues, and the power of private sector innovation to scale up and sustain progress. Business pledges and policy recommendations will be handed over to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Heads of State on 21 June at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) .

One pending issue will be dealt with at the Forum´s closing plenary, later tonight. Participants will vote on whether business should make a bid to be part of developing and promoting new worldwide Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). A proposal to establish SDGs, as an extension of the Millennium Development Goals, is on the Rio+20 agenda and is one of the items that has attracted broadest inter-governmental support. 

With 1,400 private sector representatives, the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum has drawn the highest level of participation from the business community of any UN conference. There are more than 500 representatives from government and, combined with UN, grassroots and academic participation, total registration has surpassed 2,700.

Organized and hosted by the UN Global Compact, in cooperation with the Rio+20 Secretariat, the UN System and the Global Compact Local Network Brazil, the Forum is a launching pad for a range of new programmes, according to an advance draft of today’s Executive Summary:

  • Approximately 200 corporate commitments in areas ranging from carbon neutrality and infrastructure to replenishing natural environments, and multi-stakeholder action frameworks on water, biodiversity and social enterprise investing;
  • A communiqué from 45 CEOs of brand-name corporations to governments detailing areas where regulation, support and incentives can advance progress on delivery of fresh water and access to sanitation facilities – the infrastructure sector tagged as requiring the greatest investment in upcoming decades;
  • The launch of a new corporate policy framework to assist companies in the development, implementation, and disclosure of policies and practices related to ecosystems and biodiversity;
  • The launch of a social enterprise investment framework, designed for large corporations, institutional investors and governments interested in incubating and scaling up for-profit startups and small enterprises with social and environmental missions;
  • The UN Global Compact and a group of 16 leading companies and stakeholders in the food and agriculture sector committed to champion the development of global voluntary business principles on good practice and policy for sustainable agriculture. This initiative will be aimed at developing a common understanding and agreement on what resources and impacts are needed from the global community to transform markets and agricultural supply systems;
  • A commitment by five stock exchanges, collectively listing over 4,600 companies, to promote sustainable investment – a first step towards a global call from the "Sustainable Stock Exchange" initiative to improve environmental, social, and corporate governance disclosure and performance of listed companies; 
  • Commitments by over 60 Higher Education Institutions in the Principles for Responsible Management Education initiative, to better integrate sustainable development into business school curricula worldwide;
  • An online platform of the Women’s Empowerment Principles to advance transparency and disclosure on gender equality issues in business;
  • Over 70 businesses, governments and international organizations endorsed the Green Industry Platform, an initiative to mainstream environmental and social considerations into corporate operations through efficient use of energy and raw materials, innovative practices and applications of new green technologies; and
  • Chief executives of 37 banks, investment funds, and insurance companies submitted a far-reaching Natural Capital Declaration aimed towards integrating natural capital considerations into their products and services. 

The private sector has established credentials in the full spectrum of sustainable development, Forum organizers say. Examples include producers delivering on energy efficiency and carbon neutrality; business dynamism in the developing world as a lead factor in the strong decline in extreme poverty rates; access to cell phones by six out of seven billion people in the world; and the location of two thirds of Internet users in developing countries.

“Entering into the Rio+20 process, we were concerned that corporate action on deteriorating environments and on the pressures brought about by an ever more tightly compressed global society needed to be scaled up drastically to reach a tipping point,” Global Compact executive director Georg Kell said this afternoon.

“We now know that momentum is here,” he said, “and that there is no turning back for business.”

The Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum took place at the Windsor Barra Hotel, Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

Media Contacts 

Forum Spokesperson Tim Wall, +1 213-447-5954, 55 21 9283 7118, timwall123@gmail.com

Deputy Spokesperson Kristen Coco, +1 917-288-0787, 55 21 6845 6925, cocok@un.org

Vanessa Ramalho, Forum Media Relations Staff, Vanessa.ramalho@imagemcorporativa.com.br
55 11 80319009

Global Compact Head of Public Affairs Matthias Stausberg, +1 917-367-3423, stausberg@un.org

About the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: 
Innovation and Collaboration for the Future We Want 

Hosted by the UN Global Compact, in cooperation with the Rio+20 Secretariat, the UN System and the Global Compact Local Network Brazil, the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum (15-18 June 2012) seeks to bring greater scale and quality to corporate sustainability practices, as a critical contribution to sustainable development. As a showcase for innovation and collaboration, the Forum is designed to be a launching ground for widespread action. With more than 2,000 participants in attendance, the Forum features over 100 sessions focused on six themes central to the Rio+20 agenda: Energy & Climate, Water & Ecosystems, Agriculture & Food, Social Development, Urbanization & Cities, and Economics & Finance. www.compact4rio.org

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.www.unglobalcompact.org


Tim Wall
+1 (213) 447-5954
UN Global Compact
Kristen Coco
+1 (917) 288-0787
UN Global Compact
Keywords: Technology | Business & Trade | Corporate Social Responsibility | Corporate Sustainability | Energy | Environment & Climate Change | Ethical Production & Consumption | Events, Conferences & Webinars | Finance & Socially Responsible Investment | Reports | Rio+20

CAMPAIGN: Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum

CONTENT: Press Release