Under the auspices of USCIB’s affiliate the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), business representatives were front and center at UN preparatory talks last month in advance of next year’s landmark “Rio+20” environmental summit.
Martina Bianchini, director of EU government affairs and public policy for the Dow Chemical Company, and chair of ICC’s Green Economy Task Force, led the world business organization’s delegation to the 2011 UN Environment Program (UNEP) ministerial and governing council meetings.
The meetings, held February 17-24 in Nairobi, brought together environment ministers from over 80 countries to consider critical next steps in preparing the environmental input to the Rio+20 Conference in 2012. Issues under discussion included new measures on chemicals, e-waste and heavy metals, and options to strengthen international environmental government institutions.
Speaking at a forum attended by UNEP Executive Director Achim Steiner and U.S. Environmental Protection Authority Administrator Lisa Jackson, Ms Bianchini said: “Business supports international cooperation towards greening economies and jobs: in our view, to reach its full potential, the green economy concept must become global, seeking to green all elements of the economy. The objective is to foster innovation, rather than mandate it.”
The ICC Green Economy Task Force plans to review and provide comments on the UNEP Green Economy Report, which was released at the Nairobi meetings. Attending the UNEP meetings, Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for energy and environmental affairs, highlighted the report’s importance for considering how businesses across all sectors will contribute to progress towards environmental innovation, job creation and economic growth. “The right enabling frameworks will amplify the opportunities for greener technologies and investments needed to take sustainable development to the next level,” she said.
Green economy, green growth policy and market options are being discussed in the G20, the OECD and a variety of other intergovernmental forums. The “greening” of economies and jobs is seen as a response to a variety of economic, food, energy and environmental crises, and is an organizing theme of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development to take place in Rio in 2012.
The ICC Green Economy Task Force was launched in October 2010 to provide international and multi-disciplinary business input via BASD2012 to Rio+20 preparations, and to engage with UNEP and other intergovernmental forums. ICC will also co-host the UNEP global business dialogue in April to provide more in depth comments on the Green Economy Report, and showcase business’ major contributions in delivering jobs, investments and solutions required for the transition to a green economy.
Staff contact: Norine Kennedy