Business Looks Forward to Rio+20 Earth Summit


With less than six months to go, this June’s UN Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro is still a largely unknown quantity for the business community.  The June 20-22 event has been dubbed “Rio+20,” since it comes two decades years after the UN’s seminal 1992 Earth Summit in the same city.

As negotiated in numerous preparatory sessions, the agenda for Rio+20 is broad but vague, encompassing “the green economy,” “institutional frameworks” and “emerging issues.”  These remain largely empty outlines – although there are a wealth of proposals from governments and NGOs.

In anticipation of last-minute and intense preparation between now and the summit, USCIB intends to focus on the main business issues on the table, and is working to engage its members in shaping preparations for the event and influencing its expected outcomes, mainly through dialogue with the Obama administration, UN officials and other international policymakers.

Working through the United States Council Foundation, USCIB members and others in the policy community are developing business perspectives and academic input on green economy policy input via the Green Economies Dialogue project (  We will be holding Dialogue meetings in Brasilia and Tokyo in the coming months, following successful meetings in Washington and Paris last fall.   USCIB is also interfacing directly with the U.S. State Department and the Obama administration on an array of issues expected to be front-and-center in Rio.

Other efforts to organize business input to the Rio+20 process include Business Action for Sustainable Development 2012 (BASD2012) – a joint effort between the International Chamber of Commerce, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, the UN Global Compact and several other business organizations – as well as the UN Global Compact in its own right.

USCIB provided business input for the so-called “zero draft” being discussed at UN meetings in New York this week, both directly and in a joint submission with several other business groups to Robert Hormats, under-secretary of state for economic, energy, and agriculture affairs, which seeks to raise the business community’s official role in the summit.  Mr. Hormats will meet with USCIB’s Environment Committee on March 14 in Washington, D.C.

Registration for the Rio+20 summit is now open, and USCIB is working to secure accreditation for member executives wishing to attend.  Please contact Kira Yevtukhova ( for details.

In addition, the government of the Netherlands and the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs are collaborating with BASD2012 to convene a two-day event in preparation for Rio+20. The event, “Realizing Green Growth: Business & Industry Consultation with Government and Civil Society for Rio+20,” will be held in Amsterdam during the week of April 10 (specific dates to be confirmed). The meeting will provide a forum to discuss Rio+20 issues, including the role of business in green growth.  Please contact Ms. Yevtukhova for more information.

Staff contact: Norine Kennedy

More on USCIB’s Environment Committee

Staff Contact:   Norine Kennedy

Senior VP, Policy and Global Strategy
Tel: 212.703.5052

Norine Kennedy promotes U.S. business participation in international environmental policy and management initiatives, and works closely with industry, government and NGOs to promote sustainable development and green growth. She also spearheads USCIB’s strategic international engagement initiative, which seeks to advance meaningful business participation and regulatory diplomacy in inter-governmental organizations.
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