Rio de Janeiro, June 22, 2012 – Responding to the results of the Rio+20 Summit, the United States Council for International Business (USCIB) expressed optimism that agreements reached at the summit would pave the way for American companies to contribute to greener growth.
“While the summit has not achieved all that we wished, Rio+20 has delivered a package of pledges that, taken together, could broaden the engagement of not just governments, but also business, in sustainable development and take it to a new level,” said Norine Kennedy, USCIB’s vice president for energy and environment.
Over 120 heads of state met in Rio this week to lay out international priorities for new actions and institutions in a broad range of areas, including scaling up technological innovation, improving access to sustainable energy, and advancing sustainable consumption and production – all of these deliverables were identified by USCIB as critical to a successful and practical outcome.
The Rio+20 agreement renews the commitment of the international community to sustainable development, and reaffirms the importance of promoting an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future by engaging not just governments, but also other stakeholders and the business community. Specifically, it provides for:
- the launch of an international effort to frame Sustainable Development Goals, involving important partners, including business
- the creation of a new international high level forum for sustainable development to raise the level of involvement of governments and other stakeholders, including business.
A large number of USCIB member companies attended the landmark event – more than at any previous UN environmental gathering. They offered their expertise to negotiators and other important decision-makers gathered here, and participated in the Day of Business organized by the International Chamber of Commerce and its Business Action for Sustainable Development initiative.
USCIB, which launched the Green Economy Dialogue (GED) project last year to foster consensus among business, government and other stakeholders around green growth policies, held GED briefings in Rio, in cooperation with the Japanese and U.S. governments. The briefings developed recommendations for globalizing green growth approaches, and explored options for public- and private-sector action and partnership. Speakers from a wide range of companies and government representatives discussed green economy issues as substantive input to Rio+20. They reflected the necessity of engaging all business sectors in greener growth and more sustainable practices.
USCIB Executive Vice President Ronnie Goldberg highlighted the urgent need to enact policy frameworks that will spur job creation. “While we see the promise of job creation in new industries and sectors related directly to sustainability, reaching the full potential of greener growth will require sensible government policies to make all jobs greener,” Goldberg said at the U.S. Center Green Economies Dialogue event on June 18.
Encouraging corporate sustainability reporting was among the specific business recommendations set out in the text. “U.S. companies will continue to explore approaches to communicate sustainability and will participate to share models of good practice in this area,” said Clifford Henry, associate director of corporate sustainable development with The Procter & Gamble Company and chair of USCIB’s Corporate Responsibility Committee.
USCIB’s Kennedy, who served as a member of the U.S. government delegation in Rio, said USCIB had represented the views of U.S. companies throughout the negotiating process. “We underscored the importance of open trade and investment, and the need to protect intellectual property rights and proprietary information,” she said. “We appreciate the U.S. delegation’s strong efforts to promote technological innovation in the Rio+20 outcomes. We are pleased that governments rejected harmful provisions that called for weakening of IPRs, a reassessment of existing IPR and patent rules, or preferential access to transfer of technology.”
USCIB promotes open markets, competitiveness and innovation, sustainable development and corporate responsibility, supported by international engagement and regulatory coherence. Its members include U.S.-based global companies and professional services firms from every sector of our economy, with operations in every region of the world. With a unique global network encompassing the International Chamber of Commerce, the International Organization of Employers and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD, USCIB provides business views to policy makers and regulatory authorities worldwide, and works to facilitate international trade and investment. More at www.uscib.org.
Jonathan Huneke, USCIB
+1 917.420.0039 (mobile), firstname.lastname@example.org