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Key Role for Private Sector Acknowledged – Governments and business representatives discuss role of private sector during UN Intersessional meeting in New York

Wednesday, March 28, 2012

 New York, March 27 2012 – Only a few months prior to the Rio+20 Conference, some 100 representatives of governments, business and other stakeholders gathered in New York for a high-level dialogue on the business case for sustainable development, hosted by Business Action for Sustainable Development 2012 (BASD) in partnership with the governments of Barbados, Benin, the Netherlands and Vietnam.

 The dialogue took place during the third Intersessional Meeting of UNCSD and provided a platform to discuss issues of vital importance to the private sector in advance of Rio+20 and explore the role of business in fostering inclusive green growth. Companies around the world have placed sustainability at the top of their agendas, realizing the growing significance and urgency of global environmental, social and economic challenges. Using science and technology to stimulate innovation and investment for green growth, the private sector is contributing substantially to sustainable development.

 “It is essential that we green all sectors in all countries,” said Kris Gopalakrishnan, Chairman of the BASD. “Business already has the products and solutions which are waiting to be diffused,” he further stressed. “However, what is needed is for governments to recognize this and support both flexible regulatory and voluntary policy frameworks as well as collaboration on a much broader scale.”

 Kitty van der Heijden, Ambassador for Sustainable Development, The Netherlands adds: “On April 11 and 12, the Netherlands is hosting the official UN consultation with Business and Industry in The Hague. Organized in collaboration with UNDESA and the BASD, the main aim is to discuss business input to Rio. Sustainable development and the transition to a green economy to emerge cannot be realized without the private sector. The question is how can we leverage business’s strength in innovation, adaption and execution?”

 ”We acknowledge the role and contribution of the private sector, particularly the business sector, in sustainable development. The private sector should contribute to sustained economic growth, decent job creation, more sustainable production processes and technologies and enhance accountability, in particular regarding corporate social responsibility,” said Ambassador Le Hoai Trung, Vietnam.

 Robert Orr, UN Assistant Secretary-General for Policy Planning, continued: “This kind of frank dialogue between governments, business and civil society is an integrative formation for the kind of multi-stakeholder agreements that will be necessary in Rio to take forward the sustainability agenda.

 Rio+20 provides an opportunity to scale up actions, and BASD – as the official coordinator for business and industry in Rio – is looking forward to working with governments and other stakeholders to encourage businesses of all sizes to adopt sustainability approaches.