United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs Sustainable Development

Major Group: Business & Industry

Thank you Mr. Chair.
As several speakers have observed in the past week, business is intrinsic to many of the issues
before the CSD in this bi-ennium, and perhaps none more so than SCP. Businesses of all
sizes and sectors all over the world are both producers and consumers, and have been engaged
for some time in 1) offering more sustainable products and services to our customers, 2)
operating in a less environmentally impactive manner, and 3) managing our supply chains
We have been supportively engaged in SCP related efforts through UNEP, the Marrakesh
process, and in CSD meetings since its inception. We have emphasized SCP as a priority
consideration in partnerships and voluntary initiatives. We understand that SCP is the axis
around which international efforts to green economies will revolve. We believe SCP is highly
relevant to all major groups, and to countries, whether developed or developing.
Throughout, the business/industry major group has encouraged CSD, and a host of other intergovernmental
forums and international cooperative initiatives to adopt a lifecycle approach,
from resource extraction to marketing to use/recycling/disposal and reuse, to SCP to drive
policies and measures that will empower the market to embrace SCP practices.
One example of a contribution: In January, ICC produced a new global Framework for
Responsible Environmental Marketing Communications in response to a call from
stakeholders for guidance on how to better engage in and evaluate environmental marketing
communications to ensure that consumer confidence in such claims is safeguarded.
In developing its guidance, ICC responded to the absence of internationally agreed-upon
definitions of certain claims, and focussed on core advertising principles and tools to help
advertisers assure that environmental claims are truthful, supported by science, appropriately
qualified, and clear.
A significant part of the greening economy challenge is empowering the market to work for
sustainability by focusing policies, programs and measures towards enabling the relevant
lifecycle stages in the provision of products and services that advance sustainable
consumption and production, namely R&D, eco-efficient manufacturing, green marketing,
eco-aware consumption, responsible end of life management, etc..
In our view, there is no fundamental disconnect between sustainability and a market based
economy. With an enabling framework in place, producers and consumers can and will both
benefit from an economy that fosters eco-efficient production and eco-aware consumption.
We must recognize that with economic development, many societies with see increasing
consumption, so the challenge of SCP is not so much about consuming less, but rather
consuming better and improving quality of life for all. We should be pursuing economies that
are progressively delinked from an unsustainable impact on the earth as technology,
production methods and consumer demand evolves.
Diversity, flexibility and adaptability are important watchwords in this regard. SCP needs to
remain a dynamic concept, adaptable to different consumption patterns driven by cultural,
social and regional considerations (e,g, local availability of natural and human resources). In
this regard industry supports a vision of SCP that is long term, dynamic, and allows for
regional differentiation.
Government policy plays a critical enabling role, for many attributes of SCP. A case in point
is innovation, which should be encouraged but not mandated. Similarly procurement policies,
consumer information programs, and regulatory regimes should provide operational clarity,
remove unwarranted market rigidities, and in some cases facilitate market introduction of new
products, but avoid prescribing products, technologies, or production methods, or generally
restrict choice, which is as a general rule is better left to the market to allocate.
We see a supportive role for governments to encourage the lead markets that are needed to
enable sustainable innovations to become commercially viable. We need the right balanced
ecosystem of regulations, supplemented by voluntary initiatives and partnerships, where the
governments work with industry and stakeholders to shape the markets that foster sustainable
production and enable smarter consumption. We see a key role for industry in advancing ecoefficient
production and standard development, consumers need to drive the demand for
environmentally preferred products, and workers need to have the capacity to move to the
jobs created by a more eco-efficient economy.