Select Committee on Environmental Audit Minutes of Evidence

Memorandum from Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD)


  Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) will be the first time the world's major business organisations have come together under one banner in the interests of sustainable development.

  A joint initiative of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the BASD has been formed to ensure business rallies its collective forces for the UN World Summit on Sustainable Development to be held in Johannesburg this August/September.

  Its aim is to create a network among business groups, whether international, sectoral or regional, in the months leading up to the Johannesburg Summit to ensure the world business community is assigned its proper place in preparations for the Summit and is seen at the event itself to be playing a constructive role.

  "Our messages will be straightforward: a business-like emphasis on action and not merely process; an openness to partnership with other players in a wide variety of sustainable development initiatives; and a commitment to openness and accountability all round. Put simply, our message going into the World Summit in 2002 is that business is part of the solution to sustainable development."


  Parents: The ICC and WBCSD have been very involved in sustainable development activities since the Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro in 1992.

  Advisory Board: Chairing the initiative is recently retired Chairman of the Royal Dutch Shell Group, Sir Mark Moody-Stuart. The Advisory Board is made up of top-level business people from all over the world.

  Supporters: The BASD is supported not only by the two parent organisations, but has also received generous contributions from nearly 20 industry associations and organisations.


  A major element in the business preparations for the World Summit will be to examine the role of all types of representative business groups—international, regional, national and sectoral organisations. Examples of business activities to achieving sustainable development are invited, especially those focusing on partnership and cooperation with public institutions, key non-governmental organisations, academic institutions, community groups, etc.

  A key feature of the BASD initiative is the mobilisation and presentation of business organisations' own initiatives which demonstrate progress in addressing the challenges issued in Agenda 21, and in support of a series of events leading up to, and including, the Johannesburg Summit.

  Initiatives will be displayed on BASD's website in the lead up to the Summit. This function will be operational early in 2002.


Business Day

  The partners in Business Action for Sustainable Development plan to organise a high profile business day during the Johannesburg Summit that will bring world business leaders together with others—NGOs, labour unions and government officials—to discuss the issues of sustainable development. This one-day business event will take place on Sunday, 1 September 2002.

  The basis for convening the meeting should be to express commitments and initiatives in-line with the agenda and main objectives of the Summit. Objectives include: presenting a vision of the role of business in implementing the Summit's decisions; demonstrating commitment to this vision; and stressing shared responsibilities with policy makers and other leaders.


  A virtual exhibition is intended as a continuous presentation in Johannesburg—centrally located in the main conference centre, in exhibition halls and around the city—with screens displaying "live" and "prepared" presentations including interactive web pages of sustainable development initiatives and projects from around the world. In a sense a "living exhibition". Where appropriate, live "webcam" broadcasts will provide real-time access. It is potentially an enhanced opportunity to show, in high traffic areas and with an interactive media, what actions are taking place in the real world.


  The South African Government is planning a "physical" exhibition. The exhibition will be tailored more towards NGOs and focus primarily on cultural and social matters as opposed to what was originally proposed to be a technological exhibit. The exhibition will be housed outside the summit grounds in a park so that it is available to all.


  BASD fully supports the idea that the Summit should leave a lasting legacy. One such way business can contribute is through the support of the proposed "legacy projects". These projects actually offer business a concrete and sustainable way of contributing to the summit. Many of the projects fit in well with normal business social development aims.

  The legacy projects—as proposed by the Business Coordinating Forum of South Africa (BCF) and ESKOM in collaboration with the SA Environment Ministry—are a series of sustainable development projects in Africa. They have been organised into three main clusters: (1) FDI long-term projects; (2) Local Agenda 21 projects; (3) A CO2 and water neutral summit.

January 2002

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