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Regional preparatory meeting (Europe & North America) for the World Summit For Sustainable Development
Geneva, 24-25 September 2001

High Level Plenary Session
24 September 2001

Sir Mark Moody-Stuart: Business Action for Sustainable Development

'Business Action for Sustainable Development' is an initiative formed by the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development specifically to prepare for the WSSD in Johannesburg.

First, we welcome the emphasis in the draft Ministerial Statement on co-operation between groups. This is something strongly supported by business and in fact I only have an opportunity to speak here today as a result of the co-operation of Pieter van der Gaag, the Executive Director of ANPED, who kindly relinquished his slot.

The areas where business has made progress on Sustainable Development, and I believe that there have been many, have been based on sectoral activities e.g. the Marine Stewardship Council, the Global Mining Initiative, sustainable forestry initiatives, Responsible Care in the chemicals industry, action in the cement industry and so on. But all also result from co-operation with others - not only in helping to find solutions but in identifying the key issues of importance to society at large. We in business know that we cannot do it alone; equally we welcome opportunities such as this to contribute.

Second, there has been considerable reference today to monitoring and accountability. Business has also made progress in the last few years on publishing targets and reporting openly progress against those targets. The reporting has often covered all three pillars of sustainable development. A start has been made for example by some businesses in publishing progress against published greenhouse gas emission reduction targets. We believe that this is a key not only to check on progress and benchmark, but it is also important in building trust and demonstrating accountability. But again, what we report and the nature of the targets are very sector dependent. Key performance indicators vary from industry to industry - there is no one size or shape that fits all.

Third, we welcome the presence of the South African delegation as hosts of the Johannesburg Summit and hopefully this will help draw our attention to the major issues outside this region in other parts of the world. But in discussions with the South African Government we understand that there is a major budget problem relating to the WSSD. I was very pleased to hear Minister Michael Meacher on behalf of the UK Government also raising this issue and committing to significant financial support.

It is clear that it is to the advantage of all that the meeting be held in South Africa. But it is equally clear that South Africa should not have to bear undue expense in hosting the meeting.

World Business Council for Sustainable Development International Chamber of Commerce