June 25, 2012 (via reuters.com) Global leaders ended a U.N. development summit on Friday with what was widely considered a lackluster agreement, leaving many attendees convinced that individuals and companies, rather than governments, must lead efforts to improve the environment.
Nearly 100 heads of state and government gathered over the past three days in efforts to establish “sustainable development goals,” a U.N. drive built around economic growth, the environment and social inclusion. But a lack of consensus over those goals in Rio de Janeiro led to an agreement that even some signatory nations said lacked commitment, specifics and measurable targets. Continue Reading >>
June 22, 2012 (via greenbiz.com) At the Rio+20 conference this week, Richard Branson was everywhere (including two rows behind me on my flight from Houston to Rio — on United Airlines, for what it’s worth).
I counted at least a dozen events at which he was the featured speaker — and, I’m sure, many others not on the official schedule. One of those was the World Green Summit, where I moderated a session on sustainable cities.
I caught up with Sir Richard briefly after the event, and managed to get in three questions – including one about “screwing.”
June 22, 2012 (via guardian.co.uk) Jeffrey Sachs, the economist and director of the Earth Institute at Columbia University, speaks with a velvet tongue but packs a mighty punch.
Big business, he says, is not responsible only for destroying the American democratic system, but has also transformed citizens into consumer addicts.
While multinationals continue to line their own pockets, what they leave in their wake is billions of people who are not only unhappy, but are suffering increasing levels of anxiety. Continue Reading >>
June 22, 2012 (via bloomberg.com) Richard Branson has lent his name and directed his profits to the search for carbon-light business models. Virgin Airlines is developing biofuels. The Carbon War Room works with industry to identify market opportunities that can make money and reduce greenhouse gas emissions. At the UN Rio+20 Sustainability Summit, he signed on his support to a Greenpeace call banning Arctic oil drilling. I caught up with him at the world green summit, one of dozens of side events that have sprouted up around the UN’s Rio+20 Summit. Continue Reading >>
June 22, 2012 (via bbc.co.uk) On the final day of the UN sustainable development summit in Rio, UN chief Ban Ki-moon has urged governments to eliminate hunger from the world.
The secretary-general said in a world of plenty, no-one should go hungry.
The final phase of the summit has seen pledges from countries and companies on issues such as clean energy.
But a number of veteran politicians have joined environment groups in saying the summit declaration was “a failure of leadership”.
And UK Deputy Prime Minister Nick Clegg described the outcome as “insipid”.
The meeting, marking 20 years since the iconic Earth Summit in the same city and 40 since the very first global environment gathering in Stockholm, was aimed at stimulating moves towards the “green economy”. Continue Reading>>
June 21, 2012 (via guardian.co.uk)In the inter-dependent world in which we live, it is becoming increasingly difficult to tell the difference between the language of NGOs and the top tier of progressive business leaders.
Just listen to what Paul Polman, CEO of Unilever, one of the world’s biggest companies, had to say when I caught up with him after he took part in the launch of the Natural Capital Declaration at the Rio+20 convention centre: “The very essence of capitalism is under threat as business is now seen as a personal wealth accumulator.
“We have to bring this world back to sanity and put the greater good ahead of self-interest. Continue Reading >>
June 21, 2012 (via Reuters.com) The main obstacles to creating global green economy are the lack of political will, the fear of alienating voters with rising costs and the absence of a global price on carbon, economists and scientists said at a U.N. environment summit on Wednesday.
Heads of state and deputy leaders from around 120 countries are meeting in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil until Friday to try and set a series of clear goals for sustainable development and to discuss how to achieve green growth. Continue Reading >>
June 21, 2012 (via telegraph.co.uk) British businesses have called for a cut in ‘green taxes’ after Nick Clegg announced that the UK will be the first country in the world to force major companies to measure their carbon footprint.
The controversial new scheme will make more than 1,000 companies measure their greenhouse gas emissions in full.
Mr Clegg said carbon reporting will force companies to cut pollution and switch to a more sustainable form of business.
Mr Clegg insisted there is all to play for at the summit including a plan for all countries to start to measure their natural capital as well as GDP.
The concept, known as GDP+, would mean that countries not only reveal their material wealth but their ‘natural wealth’ such as rainforests, clean rivers and fresh air. Continue Reading>>
June 21, 2012 (via sourcewire.com) Rio, Brazil: Richard Branson’s non profit organisation Virgin Unite celebrated businesses making a difference at global event Rio+Social, awarding five business leaders with a Screw Business as Usual (SBAU) Award. Rio+Social is a global event at the nexus of social media, technological innovation and sustainable development held on the eve of the UN Conference on Sustainable Development by the United Nations Foundation. Continue Reading>>
June 21, 2012 (via japandailypress.com) Giving his address at the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development (Rio+20) on Wednesday, Japanese Foreign Minister Koichiro Genba pledged $3 billion in aid from Japan over the next three years to go to developing countries trying to work towards a green economy. With the conference taking place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, Genba called on the other countries present to help contribute in similar ways to create an economy with efficient use of energy and resources.
More than 100 government leaders are present at the conference, working on how to balance economic development and environmental conservation. Ban Ki-moon, the U.N. Secretary-General, said that the world was watching this conference to see if any real action will come of their words, and this opportunity should not be wasted. On Tuesday, the 191 U.N. member-countries reached an agreement on accelerating sustainable development, and Friday, at the Rio+20 conclusion, will see the results presented to Heads of State for adoption. Continue Reading >>