Forum on Realizing Inclusive and Green Growth Agrees on Need for Implementation

12 April 2012: Participants in a forum on "Realizing Inclusive and Green Growth" discussed ways for business to facilitate the transition to a green economy. The forum was organized by the Government of the Netherlands, the UN Department of Economic and Social Affairs (DESA) and Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD 2012), and convened in The Hague, the Netherlands, on 11-12 April 2012.

The forum was part of the consultation process with business and industry, governments, and civil society in preparation for UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20).

Janez Potočnik, European Commissioner for Environment, gave the keynote presentation. He outlined how sustainable growth and resource efficiency are key to ensuring Europe's competitiveness and resilience, and said a green economy therefore “makes business sense.” He also discussed the EU's Rio+20 proposal for a “roadmap for an inclusive green economy,” and said the engagement of business and civil society were an “absolute precondition” for its implementation. Finally, Potočnik asked business to consider ways to accelerate the transition.

Sha Zukang, Secretary-General of the UNCSD, emphasized the key role that business and industry play in leading countries toward sustainable development, and suggested they were indispensable for the progress made since Rio 1992. He also noted the role of the private sector in providing employment and livelihood opportunities, as well as in better managing the planet's natural resources, highlighting that some companies have already shown the way towards a greener economy.

Ben Knapen, the Netherlands' Minister for European Affairs and International Cooperation, called sustainability as “prerequisite for profitability,” while noting the importance of the private sector for reaching a sufficient scale.

Jean-Guy Carrier, Secretary-General of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC), said that business believed in the potential of open trade and investment to achieve the environmental and social goals of sustainable development.

According to BASD 2012, a general consensus emerged from the forum, that business, government, and other stakeholders must work together to move “from paper to implementation,” in the words of Sha Zukang. [UN News] [BASD Press Release] [Statement by Janez Potočnik] [Publication: Summary of Discussions (Circulated May 2012)