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NEWS: Big business backs water agenda at Rio+20

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development, a CEO-led global association of 200 corporations including Coca-Cola, BP, Royal Dutch Shell and Walmart, recently stated, “the foundation for a green economy must be built upon water, energy and food security.”

They add, “Business plays an important role deploying new initiatives which are helping improve access to water and sanitation, and supports the (Stockholm water statement) recommendations. However, it would benefit from more detailed and benchmarked targets. The World Business Council for Sustainable Development is bridging this gap. For example it launched, at World Water Week, the first water tools addressing the industry specific challenges faced by the oil and gas, and power utilities sectors. The tools offer companies specific, measured data metrics and were shaped and tested by WBCSD member companies. To enable business to continue to play an active and affective role in ensuring water, energy and food security and improving access to safe drinking water and sanitation, initiatives like these are essential and will ensure that all stakeholders in sustainable development are able to make meaningful contributions.”

In 1997, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development was awarded the CorpWatch GreenWash Award. CorpWatch stated, “(The WBCSD has) been the primary force behind negotiations under GATT, WTO, NAFTA and now the OECD’s Multilateral Agreement on Investment. All of these agreements give corporations ever greater rights and ever fewer trade and investment restrictions. There is simply no evidence that increased corporate rights has led or will lead toward sustainable development or environmental protection, yet this assumption underlies the WBCSD philosophy.” In 2001, activists from France, Belgium, the Netherlands, England, Germany, Denmark, Nigeria and Spain gathered outside the headquarters of the International Chamber of Commerce in Paris to protest against the first meeting of the Business Action for Sustainable Development group, a joint initiative with the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to lobby the United Nations World Summit on Sustainable Development. Regrettably, at the Earth Summit in 2002, Greenpeace partnered with the group to deliver a message on the need for greater action on climate change.

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development commentary can be read on the Guardian UK website at http://www.guardian.co.uk/sustainable-business/business-supports-world-water-week. You can read more about the Stockholm water statement and our concerns about Rio+20 at http://canadians.org/blog/?p=10145.

The Council of Canadians continues to develop its analysis of Rio +20, the green economy and water and intends to intervene at the June 4-6, 2012 summit in Rio.