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Posted on Sustainabilitank.info on January 22nd, 2014
by Pincas Jawetz (pj@sustainabilitank.info)

nbsp;www.theguardian.com/sustainable-b…

Now this is a Guardian of the UK blog – and as you know they are the journalistic outlet that made WikiLeaks and Snowden famous – we give them a lot of credit for perpetuating good journalism – so when we found the following in an e-mail from UN Wire of the UN Foundation we tended to give it credibility.

We do indeed expect the UN Foundation to be business oriented with a fresh breaze of air – that is SUSTAINABLE BUSINESS when Sustainability is understood as a way for the future and not just an issue of profitability for this moment.

The posting is about the ongoing meeting of the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland and we understand that the B – TEAM is the Sustainability team for World Economics of a more sustainable World.

 

 

GSB: Guardian Sustainable Business blog

Exclusive: the B Team asks business to drive sustainable inclusive prosperity

As the World Economic forum kicks off, business leaders are calling for companies to respond to the ‘planetary emergency’• Jo Confino reflects: Sustainable development goals could be at risk by political squabbling

 

General view of the city of Davos, the Congress Hall venue of the World Economic Forum

As political and business leaders gear up for the World Economic Forum at Davos, the B Team calls for business to drive the sustainability agenda. Photograph: Pascal Lauener/Reuters

They lack neither influence, nor the ability to use it.

But there is one asset that business leaders at the World Economic Forum this week could usefully exploit further: the power to advance the wider interests of people and planet.

The theme for the World Economic Forum (WEF)  Annual Meeting 2014 isThe Reshaping of the World: Consequences for Society, Politics and Business. “

With UN climate change negotiations under way and as the UN designs its flagship Sustainable Development Goals
in 2015 – business needs to engage.

Indeed, broadening its agenda could help secure its status in the long term. Faced with the ever-widening gap between rich and poor, widespread degradation of the natural world and runaway climate change, business has played a dual role, as chief instigator and seemingly disinterested observer. But some businesses have already shown that, despite scepticism among some governments, they can be a driving force in development, helping to achieve social and environmental ends that governments and community groups are unable to deliver alone.

When the UN decided on its Millennium Development Goals, aiming to reduce poverty and improve quality of life in developing countries, businesses were not at the table. Today their contribution to some of the initiative’s successes is widely recognized.

As foreign direct investment in developing countries leapt from 25% to 60% of the global total, millions of new jobs were created, lifting many more out of poverty and helping finance new government programmes. With growing interests in these economies, some companies adopted policies specifically designed to support the UN goals and worked with governments and community organisations to deliver them, in particular in energy, healthcare, infrastructure and water.

Business not only offers its technical expertise, but capital and armies of skilled people to such initiatives, as well as capacity to scale through its global financial, logistical and communications networks. The expansion of mobile and internet networks into new territories, for example, could not have taken place so quickly without the private sector.

Today, there are nearly as many mobile phones as there are people, and 39% of the world’s population already uses the internet, dispersing knowledge and economic opportunity, driving collaboration and helping to respond to the needs of the 1.4 billion people still in extreme poverty.

Some of the results of the Millennium Development Goals have been dramatic. Clean drinking water is available to two billion more people than in 1990, for instance, and the mortality rate from tuberculosis and malaria has been substantially reduced. Today we are faced with a planetary emergency, and this means the successor initiative, the Sustainable Development Goals, must be more ambitious yet. Realising these will call into question the very purpose of business in the 21st century.

Traditional business practices have brought new services, jobs and well-being to many communities in recent decades, while sustainable business practices have often helped a company’s image and bottom line. But with increasing inequality, volatility and resource scarcity, there is a real chance the gains in prosperity of the past fifty years will be lost to future generations – with the greatest burden falling on the world’s poor, those least responsible for causing the problems. Business must go further, redefining its responsibilities and terms of success, embracing the need for equitable opportunities, fair returns to work and respect for the environment alongside profit and growth.

Our peers in Davos can start at home. A growing number of companies already pay a living wage, involve poor people as employees and are looking to serve low-income consumers. Others are delivering sustainable farming, aquaculture, forestry or ecotourism, and invest in new biochemical, low-carbon concrete and steel, and clean energy and transport technologies. Many have found new ways to work with governments and NGOs in pursuit of social and environmental ends, partnerships that can be boosted by new financial instruments, such as social impact bonds or investments in social businesses.

Both innovation and concerted action are needed to accelerate business practices that promote true transformation. Many managers may be unaware of the side effects of their decisions, or lack incentives to address them. Education in new management practices can help, as well as the measurement of environmental and social impacts, improved governance and increased transparency. . . . . . Organisations such as the UN Global Compact and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development have also launched important initiatives that businesses can join and learn from.

Our hopes for a new era of peace, shared opportunity and ever-increasing interdependence may be at risk, but realising them is not beyond human capability. The strengths of business – enterprise, innovation, and technological progress – could be instrumental.

This version of the future – not that of a blighted planet – is fundamentally in the interests of business. Executives must rise above narrow sectoral and short-term interests, and work with governments to create a new framework of incentives and sanctions, rewarding investment in people and planet.

It is time that they take the initiative at their own companies, and together with politicians of courage and conviction, drive towards a global goal of sustainable, inclusive prosperity – at the UN general assembly, in Paris next year, and beyond.

The B Team is a not-for-profit initiative formed by a global group of leaders to create a future where the purpose of business is to be a driving force for social, environmental and economic benefit.

Join the community of sustainability professionals and experts. Become a GSB member to get more stories like this direct to your .

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AS AN EXAMPLE WE GIVE HERE TODAY’S MAIN EVENTS AT DAVOS  – THOSE BESIDES SKYING AND PARTYING – January 22, 2014:

 

Event Highlights:

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    • What lies ahead for the economy in 2014?

      The global economy in 2013 remained suspended between the poles of hope and uncertainty. While …

    • What does citizenship mean in the 21st century?

      The past 10 years have seen the greatest expansion of information since the dawn of …

    • World Economic Forum launches Forum Academy

      The World Economic Forum today launched Forum Academy, an online learning platform, in …

    • How can we have an honest conversation on climate change?

      Here’s a stat that should scare you: only one in three Americans say they have occasionally …

    • How can we build more resilient cities?

      When senior leaders at a large, global financial institution were choosing between cities in …

    • What is the role of business?

      Any business is a risky endeavour with an uncertain life expectancy. It has been, and should …

    • My message to the World Economic Forum in Davos

      This is the full text of Pope Francis’ special address to the World Economic Forum’s …

    • The 30 cities reshaping the world

      The theme for this year’s World Economic Forum Annual Meeting is The Reshaping of the World: …

     

 

 

 

 

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