In a letter to the national negotiators, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) have strongly pressed governments to commit to concrete action at the United Nations Rio+20 Conference on Sustainable Development which takes place in June.
The letter was co-signed by Peter Bakker, President, WBCSD and Julia Marton-Lefèvre, Director General, IUCN. It strongly urges governments to speed up the transition to sustainability in order for upcoming challenges to be tackled successfully.
“The simple fact of the matter is that there is no excuse for inaction on sustainability,” said Peter Bakker. “Sustainability is good for national economies, civil society, the environment and business. Now is the time forgovernments to recognize the urgency and put in place stable policies that will in turn help maximize business contributions to sustainable development.”
“Over the last two decades leading businesses, supported by the WBCSD and IUCN, have helped economies become more sustainable. However, the current voluntary transition to sustainability is too slow to meet future challenges and must be accelerated. Governments must now go further and make sure that all businesses play their part”, added Julia Marton-Lefèvre.
Specifically the letter urges governments to:
• Instill a sense of urgency into the negotiations: addressing economic woes is one of the most compelling reasons to advance sustainability, not an excuse to do nothing or go backwards.
• Ensure that commitments made since 1992 are implemented: additional commitments at Rio+20 will be meaningless without action on previous promises.
• Put in place predictable, stable policies to help business scale up sustainable solutions: Clear long-term policies and rules that reward more responsible and inclusive business practices, and sanction unsustainable behavior are needed.
• Strengthen Paragraph 24 of the Zero Draft Document by including the explicit requirement for companies to adopt standardized, rules-based sustainability reporting.
The WBCSD and IUCN have developed numerous tools to help business move toward a sustainable economy, using business models that can be successful and profitable. Many companies have already taken advantage of these resources but further action is needed to achieve a sustainable future.
“Collective action from business, civil society and governments will help drive change and make Rio+20 meaningful.” Bakker said.
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