Business action is your new hope for beyond Rio+20
At least from manyinfluential corporations present here, I must add, but there are clear signs of results from the business sector as a whole, seeing sustainability as crucial to future success of what they do.
Today, I’m at the Business Action Day for Sustainability http://basd2012.org in Rio. The very same hour as the event kicked off with great energy, I was reached by the news that passed nights work at the negotiations had resulted in an agreed text for a Rio agreement. At first, I was thrilled, but after skimming it through it was clear that the eagerness for a complete agreement had resulted in a ”least common denominator” output, smoothing out the text and omitting controversial issues. Note however that this is not the final wordings, but merely the startin point for the heads of state and ministers tha from tomorrow will step in and take lead in the process. It does mean, however that the process so far is living up to its reputation.Therefore it is so reassuring to see that the business sector is heeding the call by the Rio92 meeting: to get involved and to play a larger role in Sustainable development.
The theme of today’s meeting, where 700+ high level delegates from companies all around the world, is ”scale up”. According to a brand new survey by the consultancy firm SustainAbility, presented this morning only 4% of business respondents see technology as a barrier towards sustainability. The major identified obstacle is ”lack of political will”. This means, we know how to do it, but we also need support from governments. Is this going to toss the coin around? Instead of governments, states and municipalities being viewed as drivers of sustainability, will now business sit up in the front seat?Maybe not completely since I also sense the smell of greenwashing from parts of the room, but there is clearly a change in what way businesses want to take leadership, responsibility, form new multisectorial partnerships in order to fast forward sustainability progress. The key to success spells innovative business models and to think different.
Although the official dewatered text from Riocentro just reached me, I feel more positive than I’ve done for a long time. Stay tuned. Andreas