UNEP's 30 Years in Paris Marked
International Consultative meeting with business and Industry
17 -18 October 2005
UNEP celebrates 30 years in Paris
Paris, 17 October 2005 – Business and industry groups are meeting here today to kick start a review of their own environmental and social performance during the last three years.
Some 100 representatives from a diverse group of industries ranging from aviation and aluminium to waste and water management are sitting down to compare notes and prepare 25 “report cards” on what they have achieved since the 2002 Earth Summit in Johannesburg, South Africa.
The report cards, a follow-up to the sector reports prepared by industry associations for the Johannesburg Summit, will cover unfinished business, future challenges, and identify possible partnerships for concrete actions.
The final reports will be submitted to a session on Industrial Development at the UN’s Commission on Sustainable Development in New York, next year.
“We will be watching with interest what the industry groups come up,” said Klaus Toepfer, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), which is facilitating the report card process.
“Three years ago, a report by UNEP drawing on the industry sector reports concluded that there was a growing gap between the efforts of business and industry to reduce their impact on the environment and the worsening state of the planet,” he said. “It will be important to see what lessons have been learned since then, and what actions are proposed to meet the challenges of today.”
UNEP’s 2002 report said the gap was partly due to the fact that in most industry sectors, only a small number of companies were actively striving for sustainability, i.e. actively integrating social and environmental factors into business decisions.
Congratulating the business and industry groups that were working with UNEP on the review process, Mr Toepfer said he hoped the new report cards will show that this gap is finally starting to close.
Early drafts of some of the new report cards suggest progress has been made in some areas of concern. The trade union report card, for example, notes that 41 multi-national companies have now signed “framework agreements” on aspects of sustainable development with international trade union bodies.
According to the draft report card, many of these agreements, which give trade unions some joint oversight for monitoring of agreed activities, contain provisions related to environmental protection as well as occupational health and safety.
Mr Toepfer said that trade unions have an important role to play in helping to push employers to raise the environmental standards of goods and services, as well as environmental health standards in the work place. He also announced that UNEP will host the first ever global Trade Union Assembly on Labour and the Environment in Nairobi, Kenya next year. (Refer to separate UNEP press release).
Other business and industry sectors contributing to the report cards process include: Advertising, Accounting, Consulting Engineering, Finance, Information and Communications Technology, Postal services, Tourism, Agrifood, Coffee, Food and Drink, Detergents, Pharmaceuticals, Chemicals, Pulp and paper, Tanning, Textiles, Refrigeration, Automotive manufacturing, Cement, Building & Construction, Power generation (mainstream), Power generation (Renewables), Roads, Railways, Aviation, and Public Transport, Water Management, Waste Management, Aluminium, Coal, Iron and Steel, Mining, Oil and Gas and Liquefied Petroleum Gas.
The two-day consultative meeting with business and industry associations is coinciding with celebrations today marking the 30 year anniversary of UNEP’s Division of Technology, Industry and Economics (DTIE) office in Paris.
Individuals and organisations associated with the Paris office joined Mr Toepfer and current DTIE Director, Monique Barbut, for a special event to debate the role of UNEP’s work on business and industry – past, present and future. Participants included Anne-Marie Idrac, Chief Executive of RATP, Melina Kimble, Senior Vice President of the United Nations Foundation, Guy Sebban, Secretary General of the International Chamber of Commerce, Bertrand Collomb, Chief Executive of Lefarge and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, France Global Compact Network.
For more information on the sector reports, consultative meeting and 30th anniversary celebrations go to www.unep.fr
For more information contact: Robert Bisset on 01 4437 7613, or 06 2272 5842, email: firstname.lastname@example.org, or Mona Feghali on 01 4437 7632, email: email@example.com