Business has made great progress in internalizing the concept of sustainable development since the 1992 Earth Summit, and is now addressing its role in society at large. Rio+20 will focus on how business can engage more fully in this process and act as a catalyst for action by identifying ways in it can achieve the most effective synergy with government, while helping shape the sustainability agenda over the next 20 years.
The WBCSD is developing specific deliverables for Rio+20 which are to:
Demonstrate the WBCSD’s role as the business thought leader on sustainability issues;
Be recognized for the progress the WBCSD and its members have made since 1992;
Insert key positions in outcome documents;
Create vehicles for member companies to tell their stories and engage in the process.
Forming the centerpiece of its contribution the thought leadership piece will identify what policies are needed to ensure business and markets act as effective change mechanisms. As its starting point the project will address the question put to the WBCSD by UN Under-Secretary General Sha Zukang and various countries' representatives: What does business need from governments?
The piece will focus on pragmatic, action-oriented policy recommendations to stimulate business in order that it can fulfill its role in addressing the challenges of the turbulent teens (the transitory period outlined in Vision 2050);
It will draw on the WBCSD’s cornerstone Vision 2050 report and the Sustainability through the markets report, and take into account the WBCSD’s 20 years of engagement in policy discussions on the major sustainability issues, such as climate, biodiversity and development along with concepts such as purpose driven capitalism.
Celebrate progress since 1992
20 years after the original summit, the time is right to celebrate the tremendous progress that has been made by our members and claim credit for the leadership role the WBCSD and its members have played in moving towards a more sustainable world. Implicitly the project aims to illustrate that business (and the WBCSD) has taken the warnings and the intent of the original Rio conference to heart.
Provide input to the UN process
Despite limited opportunities to directly and indirectly engage with the UN and the national missions to influence the outcome document, the WBCSD will ensure that all options available are utilized and that the business voice is incorporated.
Support WBCSD work programs
The Advocacy Team, supported by the Rio Program Director, will act as the overall coordination platform for work program milestones to be marked.
A communications plan is being implemented to support the activities and reach the broadest audience possible in the run up to, and during, the conference. Key elements of this strategy will be continuous media outreach and the creation of an online presence which will also provide opportunities for WBCSD members to deliver their messages.