Wednesday, 14 May 2008

CED Invited to Speak at the B4E Summit

B4E-Business for the Environment Global Summit 2008 was held in Singapore from 22-23 April 2008 with the theme "Business and Markets in a Climate of Change". With a focus on Resource Efficiency and Renewable Energies, this second B4E brought together senior executives from leading global companies, governments, international organisations and NGOs to explore and share solutions for a greener future. The summit was jointly hosted with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) and the United Nations Global Compact and was frames as the most important event on business and the environment in 2008.

Mr. Uchita de Zoysa of CED was invited to speak at the plenary forum, and was amongst other global speakers such as Mr. Maumoon Abdul Gayoom (President of the Republic of Maldives), H.S.H Prince Albert II of Monaco, Achim Steiner, Executive Director (UN Environment Programme and Under-Secretary General of the United Nations) Georg Kell (Executive Director, UN Global Compact), Arab Hoballah (Chief, Sustainable Consumption and Production, UNEP DTIE), Aron Cramer (President and CEO, Business for Social Responsibility), Andrei Marcu (Senior Managing Director, World Business Council for Sustainable Development), Wolfgang Gregor (Chief Sustainability Officer, OSRAM), Neil Hawkins (Vice President, Sustainability, The Dow Chemical Company), Olivier Luneau (Senior Vice President Group Sustainable Development, Lafarge), Wolfgang Bloch (Vice President, Environmental Affairs, Siemens AG), Jouko Virta (President of Global Fiber Supply, Asia Pacific Resources International Ltd), David Williams (CEO, Impact DTG), Habiba Al Marashi (Chairperson, Emirates Environmental Group), Sheri Liao (Advisor, Global Village of Beijing), Isabelle Louis (Director Asia & Pacific, WWF International), etc.

Singapore based newspaper "The Nation" qouted ...."Uchita de Zoysa, director of the Sri Lanka Centre for Environment could not get business leaders to respond when asked how they will address the pressing need for the developed world in particular to reduce consumption to cut carbon emissions. "Are companies ready to handle the consequences if consumers embrace that notion?" Zoysa asked." Following is a summary of his presentation;

Environmental Partnerships: Leverage Corporate and NGO Capabilities
by Uchita de Zoysa, Executive Director - Centre for Environment & Development

Opportunities for Partnerships
We are here together because the changing climate is presenting new business and market opportunities.
• Global warming needs not just mitigation but adaptation. Therefore more public awareness and participation is a challenge.
• Diminishing natural resources and emerging power over resource ownership by southern communities challenges us for new ways of consumption and resource efficiency.
• Continued poverty and increasing food crisis with growing demand for eradication as a priority agenda presents more opportunities for creating better quality of life.
• Increased consumption societies, urbanization and market leaderships in Asia will place more pressure on global sustainability.

Barriers for Partnerships
We need a new generation public-private-civil partnerships.
• Business - CSR is becoming dangerously used as a tool for corporate-whitewashing, resulting in threatening true social service and social entrepreneurship.
• Funds/sponsorships becoming a bottom-line for public-private partnerships, where triple bottom-lines are compromised.
• Global diplomacy is becoming weaker and sustainability is a continuously delayed process – 50 years of sustainability talk leaves us with voluntary commitments in the UN Marrakech Process on SCP?
• Partnerships are made in comfort zones – friends and clubs and the like minded – excluded are the people!
• Finally, NGOs need to come-out of their own “protective zones” and look forward as to the need of the people and world. Not to just the ideals and funded projects.

Some Ideas for Partnerships
The need is inclusive partnerships, and with true stakeholder determinations.
• Sustainable enterprise (sustainable production to Sustainable consumption based markets)
• Sustainable credit and banking (from micro credit to alleviate poverty to credit and banking for a sustainable world)
• CSR and corporate sustainability is based not only on reporting, transparency and citizenship, but on going beyond market interests and towards a sustainable world and with true partnerships with people and their representatives of the world.
• We are seeking partnerships for a better world that mandates Equity, Wellbeing & Happiness for all!