United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

European Union

Fourteenth Session, New York, 01 ? 12 May 2006
Delivered version, 09 May 2006
The role of the private sector in increasing investments in energy and industrial
· For many developing countries and countries with economies in transition, there is a
need to continue to work on improving sustainable business and investment conditions to
achieve higher levels of domestic and foreign investment.
· Financing of clean and affordable energy services and investments in clean
production are crucial especially for developing countries and countries with economies
in transition. Foreign direct investments contribute to globalisation of the market. It is
important that such investments are made with a view to achieving sustainable
development for the protection of human health and the environment locally as well as
globally. This implies that investments would need to meet sustainable development
standards, including environmental standards. The various sources of financing ?
domestic, multi- and bilateral donors, private sector ? need to be considered jointly to
meet the challenge of unlocking the resources needed.
· We need to find win-win-win solutions, which can combine improved economic conditions
with increased welfare and environmentally sound development. Responsible business
practices and an appropriate policy framework will strengthen the development impact of
foreign trade and investment. All companies, with multinational enterprises taking the
lead, should manage operations ensuring environmental protection, promoting sound
working conditions and promoting social progress. They should provide data on their
performance. Support to the Global Reporting Initiative and coming ISO Standard for
Social Responsibility is one way to bring this matter further.
· To facilitate trade and enhance the capacity for compliance with foreign regulatory
standards a clearinghouse for information could be created to inform the business
community of upcoming regulatory changes affecting trade in developed countries.
Fostering entrepreneurship specially women entrepreneurs, and promoting micro-,
small- and medium-sized enterprises, including by facilitating their access to finance
and financial services.
· In building business capacity, technological innovation and cooperation, in particular of
small and medium-sized enterprises, unsustainable industrial practices must be
addressed. Improving business capacity, especially of SMEs, should focus on enabling
them to access and compete better in high value markets by helping develop the
necessary skills, knowledge, technology, market information and financial resources. It
also includes the development of business support services.
· In developing countries and countries with economies in transition one tool to promote
SCP in micro and small enterprises and in the informal sector is tailored and focused
training and capacity building.
· Improved systems of business registration and licensing are, in this respect, fundamental
requirements to assist small and medium enterprises. Bureaucratic requirements to start
up a business are excessive and time -consuming in many countries. Also, laws and
regulations often restrict the ability of enterprises to restructure or shut down.
· Foreign Direct Investment is furthermore strongly dependent on the risk of conflict,
human rights and good governance. Private investors hesitate to start business
development in countries afflicted by corruption and violent conflict or where governance
is of insufficient quality. As a contribution to improving governance, the Extractive
Industries Transparency Initiative (EITI) encourages transparency of payments by
companies to governments and the revenues received by host country governments.
Pilot projects are taking p lace in Azerbaijan, Nigeria, Kyrgyzstan and Ghana.
· Women are often excluded from decision ? making processes, particularly poor women
with limited access to education. There needs must be on an equal basis as the needs of
men and fully considered in all phases of providing affordable and accessible energy
services and in the planning of sustainable industrial development.
· A number of barriers remain to achieving gender equality and to improving the status,
health and economic welfare of women and girls..
· Education, as a tool of implementation, can contribute to the effectiveness of policies for
Corporate environmental and social responsibility and accountability: doing good by
doing it better
· Changing unsustainable consumption and production patterns is an effective way of
mobilizing support from the private sector. Integrating sustainability into the management
of supply chains, investment strategies and modalities for market development can
reduce production costs, enhance competitiveness and open new business opportunities
for achieving social and economic development decoupled from negative environmental
impacts. As such, business relationships provide channels for the transfer of commercial
and technical competence, management practices, technology and capital, as well as
opening for market development.
· Finally we need to enforce ILO core labour standards. Employment and decent work
issues can be an important vehicle for economic growth and poverty reduction as also
highlighted in the recommendations of the first Trade Union Assembly in Nairobi in
January this year. A well functioning labor market contributes to a positive climate of
investment, an increased economic growth and a fair income distribution.