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Business Leaders Recommit to Urgent Action on Environment

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#CSR #Environment
The fourth annual Business for Environment Global Summit (”B4E”) took place in Seoul, Korea on April 22nd and 23rd 2010. The United Nations Secretary-General, Ban Ki-Moon, invited more than 1000 participants from 35 countries which included corporate executives and entrepreneurs joined with leaders from governments, international agencies and civil society. Business leaders pledged to broaden their commitments towards a “Green Growth” to address the world's most pressing environmental issues.

Business leaders from the world's largest global companies responded to Ban Ki-Moon’s call-for-action: Clarins, Coca Cola, Dow Chemical Company, Generation Investment, Hewlett-Packard, Hitachi, LG Electronics, McKinsey & Co, Puma, Siemens, SIG SA, and Virgin Group along with other multi-nationals. The objective of the Summit was to forge a new sustainability pact that will advance solutions and approaches in numerous areas, including - energy efficiency, green-growth strategies, water stewardship and clean-tech innovations. Companies suggested new environmental strategies, for instance :

- Embracing new models of water management that include broader considerations of economic, environmental and social impacts at the watershed level;

- Expanding sustainable procurement and green supply chains by requiring vendors and partners to embrace sustainability criteria and standards;

- Encouraging investors and financiers to adopt longer -range investment horizons that fully incorporate environmental and sustainability considerations;

- Raising awareness among consumers to drive new consumption patterns, while at the same time developing new products and services that appeal to new priorities (e.g. ecodesign which takes into account the environmental impacts of the product during its entire lifecycle).

The UN’s Under-Secretary General and Executive Director of Environment Program, Achim Steiner, gave his point of view about the key role that economic actors can play in sustainable development: " The blunt economic models of the 20th century are unlikely to deliver the kind of low carbon, resource-efficient development path so urgently needed on a planet of six billion, rising to over nine billion people by 2050. Thus a transition to a Green Economy is in the end inevitable. The question now is whether this happens by design or by default”.

Ban Ki-Moon explained that, "We need green growth for our economic and environmental well-being. […] Climate change, desertification and declining biodiversity are themselves a threat to the Millennium Development Goals. We need action. Innovation. Resolve. I look to business to play a major role”.

To recap, the Millennium Development Goals consist of eight objectives that the United Nation’s members states are in agreement to reach by 2015:

1. Eradicate extreme poverty and hunger.
2. Achieve universal primary education.
3. Promote gender equality and empower women.
4. Reduce child mortality.
5. Improve maternal health.
6. Combat HIV/AIDS, malaria and other diseases.
7. Ensure environmental sustainability.
8. Develop a global partnership for development.

Ban Ki-Moon will hold another World Summit in September 2010 in order to prepare a global action plan to reach these objectives. You can also note that today the {{LNK|Global Compact|}} has grown to more than 7,700 participants from more than 140 countries.

{{LNK|More Information: United Nations Environment Programme|}}

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