Global business leaders at a United Nations-backed gathering today stressed the importance of reaching an ambitious climate change deal later this year, noting that such a pact will spur the growth of a ‘green’ economy.
Nations are expected to conclude negotiations on a successor pact to the Kyoto Protocol – the legally binding emissions reduction regime whose first commitment period ends in 2012 – at December’s UN climate change conference in Copenhagen, Denmark.
Over 400 delegates at a Business for the Environment (B4E) summit in Paris, hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, underscored in a closing manifesto that agreement on a new climate regime is crucial, with recovering from the current economic turmoil requiring investments in clean technologies and sustainable infrastructure systems.
“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,” said Achim Steiner, UNEP Executive Director.
Participants at the Paris meeting emphasized the need for increased transparency and a new risk paradigm that takes into account extra-financial issues in the realms of environment and governance.
“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,” said George Kell, Executive Head of the office of the Global Compact, a UN alliance for responsible businesses.