(Paris/Nairobi, 23 April 2009) - Sealing a comprehensive climate deal in 2009 will be crucial for the future health of business and societies across the world, a gathering of senior business leaders said today at the close of the Business for the Environment (B4E) summit in Paris.
In a closing 'Manifesto', summit participants urged governments "unlock the potential for sustainable, green innovation and job creation" by forging ahead towards a low-carbon society.
"Agreement on a new climate regime is urgent?. the global crisis requires recovery plans that provide for drastically expanded investment in clean technologies and sustainable infrastructure systems, building the Green Economy," says the document.
"Now is the time to remove uncertainties, enable green investments to flow, and build scalable public-private partnerships that can leapfrog in terms of technological innovation," it adds.
The Manifesto, coming from over 400 delegates at the summit, underlines that the short-term economic models of the previous century need replacing by a more creative, long-term vision.
Participants to the Business for the Environment included the 2009 Champions of the Earth winners including Suzlon head Tulsi Tanti, photographer and activist Yann Arthus-Bertrand, Norwegian Environment Minister Erik Solheim and campaigner Kevin Conrad. Also in attendance at the Summit were Mexican Environment Minister Juan Elvira Quesada, WWF Director James Leape, and CEOs including Alcatel-Lucent boss Ben Verwaayen, Suntech CEO Shi Zhengrong, and Philippe Carli, the head of Siemens France. John Kerry, the Chairman of the US Senate Committee on Foreign Relations, was one of the panelists joining the discussion through a live video link from Washington DC.
The event was hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, with the support of Business for Social Responsibility and the French business confederation MEDEF (Mouvement des Entreprises de France).
The Manifesto underscores that the global economy needs to capture not just corporate profit and loss, but also environmental, employment and social concerns as well if it is to be relevant to six billion people, rising to nine billion by 2050.
"For business, we need increased transparency, a stronger ethical orientation and an expanded risk paradigm that includes not only traditional business and financial factors, but also relevant extra-financial issues in the environmental, social and governance realms," its says.
Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and UNEP Executive Director, said: "Combating climate change represents perhaps the biggest stimulus package of the first decade of the 21st century?one that can assist in delivering a resource efficient, innovation-savvy, employment- generating global Green Economy."
Georg Kell, Executive Direct or of the UN Global Compact Office, said: "As stated in the Manifesto, we need to shift to a longer-term orientation of value creation, one that accommodates the understanding that the sustainability of business and societies are inextricably linked."
Afterwards, while attending the G8 Environment Minister meeting in Siracusa, Italy, Steiner added that: "It is time for governments to lift the uncertainty hanging over carbon markets, investors and business and to seal a scientifically-credible, economically-defensible and socially-responsible deal at the UN climate meeting in Copenhagen in December. That is what business leaders are saying at the B4E Summit, that is what leaders are calling for across the world."
B4E, the Business for Environment Global Summit, is the world's leading international conference for dialogue and business-driven action for the environment. Now in its third year, B4E 2009 addressed the most urgent environmental challenges facing the world today. Key topics on the agenda included resource efficiency, renewable energies, new business models and climate policy and strategies.
CEOs and senior executives from leading global companies joined leaders from government, international agencies, NGOs, and other organizations to discuss environmental issues, forge partnerships and explore innovative solutions for a greener future.
The Business for the Environment Summit is co-hosted by the United Nations Environment Programme and the UN Global Compact. The event is organized by UNEP and Global Initiatives, and supported by leading international organizations including MEDEF (the French Employers Confederation), the AFP Foundation, WWF, Greenpeace, Business for Social Responsibility and many others.
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