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Last modified on Tuesday, 19 June 2012 18:00

World business and NGO leaders call for large scale big impact collaborations to tackle climate change

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A Message from the Friends of Rio 20

On the occasion of the United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, we, the undersigned, come together as a coalition of business, science and civil society to call for greatly expanded action and cooperation by all stakeholders to meet urgent sustainable development challenges.

We live in a world where 1 billion people are hungry, 1.5 billion people lack access to clean water and electricity and half a billion new jobs will need to be found in the next decade. Climate research indicates that pressure on our environmental systems is increasing to the point where we may soon move beyond safe natural boundaries. 
The magnitude and time-sensitivity of these challenges require the international community to adopt a more practical and results-oriented approach to organizing progress. Only if we take advantage of all the potential dimensions of international cooperation will we be likely to realize the vision of the original Rio Conference within the next 20 years.

There is now substantial evidence that clearly defined coalitions of government, business, science and civil society can mobilize their combined skills, creativity and resources to make progress at scale against specific sustainable development goals.

Therefore, we urge government leaders gathered at Rio 20 to take two initiatives:

  • Commit to designing economies which put us on the path to sustainable development and to developing a clear set of ambitious, universal and equitable global goals.
  • Invite multistakeholder, multi-country coalitions to undertake specific sets of actions to help achieve these goals.

We encourage governments explicitly to enlist the support of a wider range of partners, not as a substitute for multilateral agreements or national plans, but as a way of translating their aspirations into additional action.

By embracing the widest spectrum of cooperation capable of drawing more fully on the resources and expertise of business, science and civil society, the Rio 20 conference could leave a lasting legacy of accelerated progress on sustainable development.

Working together, we can get things done. To seize this opportunity, we invite government leaders gathered in Rio to engage us and others of like mind. There is no time for waiting.

The Friends of Rio 20

Fazle H. Abed, Founder and Chair, BRAC, Bangladesh
James Bacchus, Chair, World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council Governance for Sustainability, Greenberg Traurig LLP, USA
Peter Bakker, President, World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), Switzerland
Marcos Bicudo, CEO; President CBDES (Brazil Business Council for Sustainable Development), Philips Latin America, Brazil
Peter Brabeck-Letmathe, Chairman of the Board, Nestlé, Switzerland
Sharan Burrow, General Secretary, International Trade Union Confederation (ITUC), Belgium
Cynthia Carroll, CEO, Anglo American Plc, UK
Frederico Curado, CEO, Embraer, Brazil
Carlos Fadigas, CEO, Braskem , Brazil
Gao Jifan, Chairman and CEO, Trina Solar Ltd, People's Republic of China
Bekele Geleta, Secretary-General, International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies, Switzerland
Vitor Hallack, Chairman of the Board, Camargo Corrêa, Brazil
Muhtar Kent, Chairman and CEO, The Coca-Cola Company, USA
Caio Koch-Weser, Vice Chairman, Deutsche Bank Group, Germany
Barbara Kux, Chief Sustainability Officer and Member of the Managing Board, Siemens AG, Germany
Jim Leape, Director General, WWF International, Switzerland
Lee Yuan Tseh, President, Nobel Laureate, International Council of Science, France
Paul Polman, CEO, Unilever, Netherlands/United Kingdom
Maria Ramos, CEO, Absa Group and CEO, Barclays Africa, South Africa
Johan Rockström, Executive Director, Stockholm Resilience Centre, Sweden
Richard Samans, Executive Director, Global Green Growth Institute, Korea
Josette Sheeran, Vice-Chairman, World Economic Forum, Switzerland
Wang Shi, Chairman, China Vanke Co. Ltd, People's Republic of China
B. G. Srinivas, Member of the Board, Infosys, India
Maurice Strong, Chairman of the Advisory Board, Institute for Research on Security and Sustainability for Northeast Asia, China
Ben J. Verwaayen, CEO, Alcatel Lucent, France

To read the full message that the Friends of Rio 20 are presenting to leaders in Rio de Janeiro, and learn more about how collaborations can help to deliver sustainable development outcomes at scale, visit:

Join our group: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
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 “Friends of Rio 20” is a group of business, scientific and civil society leaders convened by the World Economic Forum.

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