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
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
" 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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Department of Economic and
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24 August 2006