United NationsDepartment of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Business & Industry

For business too, there are linkages between waste management and all the other issues
under discussion in this issue cycle, and with none moreso than SCP. Enterprises and
sectors also struggle with the diverse types of waste to be addressed, whether postindustrial,
post-consumer, transport-related, construction-related or from agriculture and
natural resource extraction and processing. A number of international instruments exist
to deal with these challenges at global level, chief amongst them is the Basel Convention,
as well as regional, national and local efforts, some of which have been mentioned
already by panelists. Implementing these must be our starting point.
Promoting waste minimization and environmentally sound management of wastes is
linked with the each of the 3 pillars of sustainability - water and air quality, ecosystem
protection, commodity markets (including for materials for recycling), governance,
infrastructure and capacity, as well as with health, employment and economic
development. Consumers groups, local communities and authorities and other
stakeholders are indispensable partners ? focusing on just one societal party will not
address the improvements that can be made all along the value chain, by educated
consumers, by adequately resourced and trained local authorities, and so on. And as we
have heard, different regions and jurisdictions will likely have different priorities and
challenges.
Waste minimization and efficiency are bottom-line considerations and intrinsic to the
management systems of many businesses ? even more compellingly, they are
increasingly important for the many types of customers we serve, whether they be
consumers, other businesses or governments ? as such, they have become an imperative,
integrated by many companies as a fundamental part of cleaner production. So, waste
minimization and management practices make good business sense in keeping costs
down and in enhancing productivity and competitiveness, as well as answering clear
signals from the public, retailers, and regulators. Business has gotten the message.
If we put our ?green economy? glasses on, we can see that waste is indeed a resource, but
like any resource, requires the right capacity, knowhow and infrastructure to gain any
benefit from it. In addition to providing a source of energy as the Indian bio-gas video at
the outset showed us, there are other potential uses. Like UNEP?s Executive Director,
Achim Steiner, we see environmentally sound re-use and recovery as a fundamental part
of greening economies and greening jobs. This is particularly relevant to the e-waste
challenge, which several government delegations have drawn attention to. There are
numerous initiatives and partnerships to address e-waste, whether through take-back,
environmental sound recovery and management or capacity building. A good list can be
found in the Basel Convention document, UNEP CHW.9/INF/10.
For business, key areas for focus in the waste management area during this CSD session
are:
1) Enabling frameworks and integrated multisectoral approaches to environmentally
sound waste minimization and management
2) Supply and Value Chains working together ? shared product responsibility, retailer
partnerships and procurement, working with SMEs
3) Technology Cooperation and Capacity building through partnerships on eco- and
resource-efficiency ? innovating to design for environment and reduce waste, increase
recycled content, improve re-useability and recyclability and bio-degradability.
One example of a business initiative in the e-waste area is the Global E-sustainability
Initiative, or GESI. GESI is a global partnership of ICT companies that promotes
technologies for a sustainable development. GESI fosters global and open cooperation,
informs the public of members? voluntary actions to improve sustainability performance,
and promotes technologies that foster sustainable development. GESI is also developing
tools and processes to measure, monitor and improve supply chain corporate
responsibility performance across the ICT sector -- these include supplier selfassessment
questionnaires, risk assessment tools, common audit protocols and a joint
audit process, web-based data management tools (E-TASC) and other learning and
capability building strategies
We are encouraged to hear many common chords emerging in this challenging issue this
afternoon. While existing regulatory and market drivers and competition already offer
powerful incentives to improve performance in these areas and promote innovation, more
can and should be done. Our next focus should be on technology solutions, management
systems and policy frameworks that incentivize and support efficiency and better
environmental practices, and their implementation and broader use. Within business,
technological innovation to close manufacturing loops will be a key area for further
action. Industrial parks practicing "industrial ecology", materials and waste exchanges,
and environmentally sound energy recovery from post consumer waste are also areas for
further development.