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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.

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One thought on “Rio+20: Coke, Unilever, Other Giants Lead Natural Capital Initiative; Plus a Summit Business News Roundup

  1. Although only a part of the discussions at the Rio+20 conference, the oceans have the solution to some of our most pressing global problems such as energy generation and food security. But what it cannot do is to change the fixed mindsets of our political masters and world industrialists. Both of these change-masters have different agendas to that of humanity. One lives for power and the other for great wealth for the few.

    That is why Rio+20 will fail the world’s people in a catastrophic way in the long-term

    Over the last 300 years we have built a false and unsustainable world for humanity. Indeed we now live in an artificial world order that can never survive and eventually humankind will cease to live as an intelligent species. Since the term MAD (Mutual Assured Destruction) was expressed, our world has been living on borrowed time. Indeed the world is now more than ever dividing itself on the altar of nationalism and self-interest. I give no more than five years for the EC to break up and nations in the West to go their own way. But I also see on the other side of the coin, as Europe and the West disintegrate, that the East and nations like Russia will come ever closer together. This will create a formidable economic block and where a weakened western civilization will be more prone in the future to lead to conflict. History shows that global wars are economic and this will not change in the future. This is not based upon unsound expectations, but the sheer fact that the world’s economic power is transferring eastward and that we shall have around 10 billion humans by 2050, all struggling for natural resources to preserve their way of life. Increasingly what is deteriorating constantly between western nations is communication, cooperation and collaboration but where due to these facts, we should be coming closer together to preserve our planet. Indeed the latest Rio+ 20 Conference decisions by the world’s nations (decisions predominantly made by the richest nations as they own the UN to all intents and purposes) will simply be another nail in the coffin of human sustainability and existence, as nations dilute what was already agreed in 1992.

    Pointers to why Rio+20 will fail is because big business will not want to deviate from a global strategy that puts great wealth into the hands of the few (shareholders and main board directors) and poverty into the hands of over 60% of the world’s population. For global concerns consistently act covertly, only think of the bottom-line and at times act totally against humanity’s very existence.






    For no longer can we sustain ourselves with the prophesy of wealth for all through globalization and capitalist economics. How this has now been shown to be a sham for over 90% of the seven billion human inhabitants living on planet Earth. Therefore considering where we are heading and the dire consequences for humanity we simply have to start working as one planet as Einstein and others determined, but where our political masters took no heed before. It is also becoming very clear that the price of our present economic systems will eventually be the extinction of the human experience. Are we therefore really as intelligent as we think?

    Dr David Hill
    Chief Executive
    World Innovation Foundation

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