The Great Debate UK
from The Great Debate:
The 1992 Earth Summit in Rio was marked by optimism and hope, but much of the buzz about the upcoming Rio+20 meeting is skeptical and cynical. Critics say the Rio process has been unduly bureaucratic and hasn’t lived up to its goals. They are branding Rio+20 as a failure before it has even begun. President Obama and Prime Minister Cameron are sitting it out. Some even say that in the radically decentralized Internet Age, the days when government leaders or U.N. bodies can set global agendas by fiat are long gone.
True, the Rio process itself has sensibly evolved away from government decree and turned toward the private sector to build a green economy that can implement sustainability on a global scale. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t important things governments can do to make Rio’s goals a reality.
Many global businesses now recognize sustainability and equity as the only acceptable model of growth, and have adopted sustainable management of global supply chains as the “new normal.” In the years since the first Earth Summit, businesses and NGOs like ours have been working to scale up sustainable resource use and engage producers and communities worldwide. Unilever and hundreds of other global businesses are committed to sourcing 100 percent of the commodities they use from farms or forests independently certified by organizations like the Rainforest Alliance, the Forest Stewardship Council and commodity roundtables. Certified producers conserve resources and forests, protect habitats and biodiversity, and put livelihoods and communities on a sustainable, equitable footing.
Our efforts are quietly transforming global markets. Three percent of the world’s working forests, 10 percent of the world’s tea production and 15 percent of the world's bananas are under sustainable management certified by the Rainforest Alliance. Ten percent of the entire global economy now operates under some form of sustainability standards. And these numbers are growing rapidly.
Slowly but surely UK corporate pension funds are “linking the thinking” between capital provider and capital recipient and waking up to the potential in SRI (sustainable and responsible investment).
-Lindsey Nefesh-Clarke is the founder of Women’s Worldwide Web – an online charitable organisation designed to help empower women with access to micro-finance loans, education, mentoring and networking. The opinions expressed are her own.-
“To reach a tipping point towards a new era of sustainability”: this is the urgent goal of the business, government and civil society leaders who convened in New York City for the recent U.N. Global Compact Leaders Summit.
from The Great Debate:
Davos leaders have traditionally looked to the long term and have largely been keen on helping all nations of the world to benefit from economic development. But with politicians and businesses tied up with short term concerns about the economic crisis there's a risk at least that efforts to spread development and to ward against the threat of climate change may go on hold, at least for a time. Reuters News asked delegates at the World Economic Forum's annual meeting to share their thoughts on whether we should be concerned about development and sustainability slipping down the global agenda.