(3BL Media) Rio de Janeiro – June 18, 2012 - The final compilation of voluntary private sector commitments to the Rio+20 process, announced today at the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, surged to 200 and covers areas ranging from low- or no-carbon footprints to re-forestation, business plans for subsistence farmers and renewal of clean, fresh water sources.
The plans will be annexed to policy recommendations that business leaders forward to UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and Heads of State at the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) later this week. They constitute the first wave of innovation and action to emerge from the Rio+20 process, according to Georg Kell, executive director of the UN Global Compact. The Compact is organizing and hosting the 15 -18 June Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum, with 1,400 business executives and over 2,700 total participants.
Addressing a group of CEOs in February, Secretary-General Ban challenged the business community to act. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the Global Compact jointly set criteria for time-bound, measureable commitments on which corporations are required to report annually.
Seeking a snowball effect
As data centres eat up an increasing share of energy output, Microsoft says it will achieve carbon neutrality through offsetting actions. Unilever is launching a drive to halve the greenhouse gas impact of their products, and Nike’s target is zero discharge of hazardous chemicals along its entire supply chain, both by 2020.
Ole Hansen, Director, Global Compact said that beyond their immediate impact, the commitments will serve as a testing ground.
“The only way to know if an innovative approach will work is to try it,” Mr. Hansen said. “The difficulties will teach us lessons, and the successes will snowball.”
With the world facing a need to double food production by 2050, DuPont pledged $10 billion in R&D for increasing productivity, scaling up nutrition and cutting back on food waste. DuPont will develop 4,000 new products along these lines by 2020. Also looking to product development, Proctor & Gamble promises $50 billion in sales of “sustainable innovation products” by the end of this year, and H&M will upgrade to 100 per cent sustainable cotton – either organic, recycled, or certified — in its cotton garments.
Groups of companies are engaging in shared efforts. Forty-five companies, includingLevi’s, Pepsi and Coke are extending their commitments to water management and 23 companies pledged to transparency and disclosure on their impact on climate change. Joint campaigns are also being launched by businesses participating inGlobal Compact Networks in Brazil, Uruguay and Japan, among others. And numerous companies are taking action on the UN Secretary-General’s campaign forSustainable Energy for All. Their contributions, alongside commitments from governments and civil society, will be announced on 21 June at RioCentro, Pavilion 3.
- Browse commitments for the future we want at business.un.org/commitments.
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
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