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Joahannesburg Summit 2002
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Business Leaders Begin Organizing for Johannesburg

10 October 2001– More than 140 business leaders met in Paris to begin preparations for their participation in the World Summit for Sustainable Development, which will be held next September in Johannesburg, South Africa.

The preparations are being organized by Business Action for Sustainable Development, a coalition formed by two major business groups, the International Chamber of Commerce and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development.

Sir Mark Moody Stuart, BASD Chairman and former Chairman of Shell, said the purpose of the meeting was to discuss how business can demonstrate its progress in the field of sustainable development over the last ten years, and to provide an idea of visions for the future.

"We need to discuss how we can best project those examples and the lessons learned from them, and how business will best participate at Johannesburg," according to Sir Mark.

Eric Beynom of BASD said it was important for business to show that it wants to be involved in work to promote sustainable development. "Business is willing to be part of the process and wants to show that it has done things to promote sustainable development. It does not want to be seen as just sitting on the sidelines.

" Nitin Desai, United Nations Under-Secretary-General for Economic and Social Affairs, stressed that sustainable development required the involvement of many groups and organizations, and that implementation went far beyond the scope of governments alone. "It's not just Prime Ministers and Presidents, but it is also chief executive officers, trade union leaders, cooperatives and local authorities. They can make just as big a difference.

" About 50 protesters claiming that the businesses participating in BASD were engaging in "greenwash" attempted to block the building's doorway, and banged drums loudly to drown out the discussions inside. One group present among the protesters, ASEED, issued a statement saying that behind a new public relations strategy "the underlying aims and operations of companies haven't really changed. Profits and an insistence upon adhering to the ever-increasing economic growth and production 'paradigm' still remain core to their actions.

" Although the protesters were invited to participate in the meeting, they refused. Sir Mark, while dismissing the charges of greenwash, said, "We welcome their presence. We welcome their passion. These people have as much of a contribution to make to the process of sustainable development as the business community does."

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24 August 2006