Rio+20: Coke, Unilever, Other Giants Lead Natural Capital Initiative; Plus a Summit Business News Roundup
The Coca-Cola Company, Dow Chemical and Duke Energy are among 24 major companies that have agreed to develop a methodology to assign value to the world’s forests, freshwater and marine systems. The Corporate Eco Forum and The Nature Conservancy are leading the Valuing Natural Capital initiative, announced at the United Nations’ Rio+20 Earth Summit.
Committed firms also include Alcoa, CH2M Hill, Clorox, Darden, Dell, Disney, Ecolab, EKO Asset Management Partners, Enterprise, FEMSA, GM, Hanes, Kimberly-Clark, Lockheed-Martin, Marriott, Nike, Patagonia, TD Bank, Unilever, Weyerhaeuser and Xerox.
In the New Business Imperative: Valuing Natural Capital report, the organizations lay out a four-step framework for the methodology, which includes reducing risks caused by scarcities of natural resources; finding ways to cut costs while reducing impacts to ecosystems; enhancing brand and reputation and winning trust from customers who value sustainability leadership; and fueling revenue growth from products and services that don’t harm ecosystems.
The declaration was designed to complement other Rio+20 initiatives working to embed natural capital considerations across business, finance and national accounting systems. “Natural capital” is a term for the goods and services ecosystems provide, such as fresh water and food.
Leaders of 37 banks, investment funds and insurance companies agreed at the summit to take better stock of the unsustainable stress put on ecosystems by the economic activity they manage, and work towards integrating natural capital into their products and services.
The Natural Capital Declaration, created by the UN Environment Program Finance Initiative, Global Canopy Program and Center for Sustainable Studies of the Business Administration School of the Getulio Vargas Foundation, calls for financial institutions to incorporate natural capital considerations into the risk assessment procedures they undergo before making a loan, equity, bond or insurance products-related decision.
The declaration also calls for policymakers at Rio+ to begin crafting legislation and regulations that can encourage the development of financial products and services that take account of and sustain the Earth’s natural capital.
The signatories are Athelia Ecosphere, ASN Bank, Banca Monte dei Paschi di Siena, Banco Multiva, Banco Pichincha, Banorte – Ixe, Caisse des Depots, Caixa Econômica Federal, Caledonia Wealth Management, Ltd., Calvert Investments, CDC Climat, China Merchants Bank, CIBanco, Cyrte Investments, Financiera Rural, FIRA – Banco de Mexico, Fundación Social, Infraprev, International Finance Corporation, MN, Mongeral Aegon, Mutualista Pichincha, National Australia Bank, Nedbank, Oppenheim, PaxWorld Management, Rabobank Group, Robeco, Shenzhen Development Bank, SNS Asset Management, Société Forestière, Sovereign, Standard Chartered, Sumitomo Mitsui Trust Holding, UniCredit, Vision Banco, Zevin Asset Management.
In other Rio+ Earth Summit news:
Mars Inc. announced it has agreed to The Leadership Compact, a statement of intent by global business leaders committing to value and maintain the Earth’s natural capital. The compact, convened by the University of Cambridge Program for Sustainability Leadership, seeks an agreement from business leaders while simultaneously urging international governments to align economic development with the sustainable use of natural resources.
The World Resources Institute and the British Embassy announced that they are launching a two-year partnership to measure corporate and farm-level emissions in Brazil. These sources account for nearly 20 percent of the country’s total emissions. The project, based on the Greenhouse Gas Protocol, will develop GHG accounting guidance for Brazilian agriculture.
A global 24-hour “Twitterstorm” kicked off today in hopes of increasing pressure on world leaders at the summit to cut nearly $1 trillion in fossil fuel subsidies. The Twitterstorm, which can be tracked at endfossilfuelsubsidies.org, is supported by a number of civil society organizations including Avaaz, Climate Reality Project, Earth Day Network, Friends of the Earth International, Greenpeace International and WWF. The global campaign Avaaz.org also will deliver a petition today to G20 leaders with 750,000 signatures, demanding action.
Meanwhile, 300 deans and representatives of business schools issued “The Rio Declaration on the Contribution of Higher Institutions and Management Schools to the Future We Want,” reaffirming their commitment and summarizing action taken to date to embed sustainable development as a core principle guiding society.
Last week, KPMG released a report that said a successful Rio+20 outcome for business would be to learn the direction governments will take to implement sustainability policies and then capitalize on sustainable business practices.
Photo courtesy of United Nations of Sha Zukang (center right), Secretary-General of the Rio+20 UN Conference on Sustainable Development. At centre left is Luiz Alberto Figueiredo Machado, Under-Secretary General for Environment, Energy, Science and Technology at the Brazilian Ministry of External Relations and Brazil’s chief Rio+20 negotiator.
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