Rio+20 Business: Companies can lead transformation to green growth, says ICC (21 June)

Politicians make the policy. But it’s often left to business to implement it. For this reason RioPlus Business is featuring submissions from business across the globe in the lead up to Rio+20.

The aim is to demonstrate how Sustainable Development is becoming a reality on every continent, country and city.

Here Jean-Guy Carrier, Secretary General at the International Chamber of Commerce explains how trade and investment can help to drive green growth.

Jean-Guy Carrier, Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce

There are significant opportunities for business to lead the move to green growth

Clearly there is great urgency to make faster progress to achieve sustainable development. Today, still over one billion people lack basic access to food, electricity or safe drinking water.

Moreover, climate change and global population growth are predicted to exacerbate these challenges.

The world business communityhas already demonstrated considerable success in integrating sustainability into business practices, for example, via codes such as the ICC Business Charter for Sustainable Development, which has provided thousands of large and small companies around the globe the basis for sound environmental management.

Companies of all sizes are also leading by example, with innovative business actions providing solutions to challenges such as energy access, water security, resource efficiency and reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

However, more can be done and there are significant opportunities for the business community to lead, for example, the OECD has identified $2.1 to $6.3 trillion of potential commercial opportunities related to environmental sustainability in natural resource sectors alone.

ICC’s Green Economy Roadmap is a tool for business, government and civil society to achieve a green economy.

It offers a specific focus on the power of innovation to bring solutions to the economic, social, and environmental dimension of sustainable development.

The roadmap emphasizes that in order to meet the sustainability challenge, we must fully harness open trade and investment as critical tools that have already raised millions of people out of poverty.

Trade and investment can act as global drivers of green growth, provided governments create the right enabling conditions, prevent protectionism and work cooperatively.

Rio+20 offer an excellent opportunity for governments to work with business and civil society to provide confidence and clarity to scale up-investment and innovation towards a green economy.

Jean-Guy Carrier is Secretary General, International Chamber of Commerce.

This article is part of a series commissioned by the Rio Conventions for their RioPlus Business project.


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