Remarks by UNEP Executive Director, Achim Steiner to 2010 Summit of China Green Companies
Chengdu, 23 April, 2010 - Distinguished delegates, members of the China Entrepreneur Club and Chengdu Municipal Government, Co-organizers of this meeting with UNEP
We live in a world of challenges
- Six billion people to feed, clothe, house and to generate employment for, rising to nine billion by 2050
We live in a world increasingly defined by natural resource constraints
- Fisheries, healthy productive soils, biodiversity and other ecosystems such as forests, freshwaters and the atmosphere degraded, damaged and in many cases in fast decline
We also live in a world of rising expectations
- People want higher standards of living everywhere; the poor and those championing the cause of the poor want a solution to poverty; two billion people without access to electricity cannot wait forever
- A rising affluent, vocal and curious middle-class, not just in developed economies but increasingly in countries like China are scrutinizing more and more the environmental footprint of companies, their products and services
- Scrutiny that is going global and is interested not just in the company, but in its supply chains and relationships from the source of raw materials to its transportation chain right up to the shop and outlet and to the disposal of the product
We also live at a moment of inordinate opportunity
- All the solutions, be they technological or scientific are in large part already out there being deployed; starting to be deployed or close to uptake if only they can be scaled-up and fast-tracked nationally and globally.
- Many companies, in part as a result of the recent financial and economic crisis, are beginning to look less short, but more medium and long term.
- A global, interconnected economy means that companies who set sustainability standards in one place can perhaps mirror or at least transfer some of the knowledge and practices across its global operations-sustainable multi-nationals are becoming part of the landscape.