RIO+20: AT FORUM, BUSINESS LEADERS DISCUSS SHIFTING TO SUSTAINABLE PATH

kristy Green Prosperity

RIO+20: AT FORUM, BUSINESS LEADERS DISCUSS SHIFTING TO SUSTAINABLE PATH
New York, Jun 15 2012 2:05PM

More than 2,000 business leaders, investors and labour activists will today
gather at a United Nations forum seeking to reach consensus on sustainable
policies that will protect the environment, provide safe and fair conditions
for workers, and stimulate economic growth, ahead of the UN Conference on
Sustainable Development (Rio+20) taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil,
next week.

During the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum: Innovation &
Collaboration for the Future We Want
, also taking place in Rio de
Janeiro, business leaders will have the opportunity to discuss with
government and civil society representatives ways in which to implement
sustainable policies and trigger innovations, through a series of workshops
and thematic sessions linked to Rio+20, such as on energy, water,
agriculture and urbanization.

“It is absolutely critical that business leaders be involved in the
sustainable development dialogue,” the spokesperson for the Corporate
Sustainability Forum, Timothy Wall, said in an interview. “The kind of
movement that has been developing around the Rio Summit and the issues that
are covered by sustainable development cannot be dealt with satisfactorily
without the business community.”

Mr. Wall emphasized that constructive dialogue on the challenges faced by
the business community in making their practices more sustainable.

“Labour leaders and activists concerned about the economic arena will take
part in the forum providing criticism which is good to get the ideas out on
the table and so we have a multi-dimensional view of what businesses are
doing, and how can their current activities can be scaled up and increase
the momentum for sustainability,” he said.

The four-day forum aims to spark public-private partnerships and encourage
commitments and contributions from the business community towards a
sustainable future. Participants will also make recommendations to
governments on how they can support the private sector in achieving
corporate sustainability.

“Business is not against regulations,” Mr. Wall said. “They like to know the
rules of the road. Responsible corporations do not mind sanctions for
damaging corporate behaviour, and they like incentives to move in a
direction that will help the environment and combat poverty.”

The Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum is organized by various
organizations including the UN Global Compact, a sustainability scheme
joined by more than 6,000 companies that have committed to conduct business
in line with human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption
principles.

“Almost all our activities every day are economic activities – buying food,
driving a car, saving for retirement, putting money in the bank – all
involve the private sector,” Mr. Wall said. “If the activities that we
engage in are going to be leading to the future we want and taking into
account considerations for the planet and for others, we need to adjust and
it is crucial that we involve private businesses.”
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For more details go to UN News Centre at http://www.un.org/news