Memorandum from The Confederation of British
1. The CBI represents businesses operating
in the UK, who collectively account for approximately 40 per cent
of the UK workforce. Our membership is drawn from across a wide
range of sectors (including manufacturing and services) and a
wide range of company sizes, from SMEs to major multinational
2. The CBI mission is to promote the conditions
in which businesses in the UK can compete and prosper. A key area
of our activity is to ensure that public policy contributes positively
to this mission.
3. National and international public policy
on sustainable development is also an important element of CBI
work. Our activities range from commenting on individual policy
proposals, to informing public debate (eg through surveys, position
papers), to playing a key role in developing leading edge policies
(eg on emissions trading) and practical applications (eg on reporting
and benchmarking corporate environmental performance).
4. The World Summit on Sustainable Development
("Rio + 1 0") takes place in August and September 2002
with a remit to review the progress made since the "Earth
Summit" which took place in Rio in 1992, and to accelerate
the implementation of commitments made then. Business welcomes
the fact that the summit is to focus on "action-orientated"
issues. However there is concern within the business community
that the summit will be diverted from this focus and revisit individual
agendas around intractable problems.
5. For UK business sustainable development
is about ensuring a better quality of life for everyone, now and
for generations to come. The World Summit should focus on how
society can deliver prosperity to a greater proportion of the
global population. The agenda at Johannesburg should reflect the
need attain development that is sustainable.
6. Business is aware it shares the responsibility
with civic society and government for ensuring that development
becomes sustainable. UK business suggests that the following principles
should underpin UK Government thinking on the summit.
7. There should be a move away from the
purely reductionist interpretations of sustainable development
which focus simply on reducing levels of production and consumption.
For there to be real improvement in the quality of life for vast
numbers of the global population the situation demands an increase
in production, not a decrease. To achieve progress changes
must be made in the nature and patterns of production and consumption
rather than in their relative levels.
8. However it is clear that business should
continue to reduce its dependence on hazardous materials in favour
of the more benign and increase the (re) use of materials from
renewable sources. Government has a key role to play in facilitating
the development of a more effective market in these materials.
9. We believe that healthily growing business
is fundamental to the delivery of sustainable development. Improved,
smarter risk-based regulation has an important role to play. We
welcome the Environment Agency's initiatives in this direction
and are keen to play a role in their further development. A transparent
and equitable regulatory system and other conditions have to be
in place to enable business to develop, such as sound governance
within the workings of civil society, including rights to property,
education and freedom from corruption. Without these neither business
nor society in general can function to its full capacity.
10. A most effective motivation for sustainable
development is the market. It is the business view that sustainable
development is facilitated through open and competitive markets
that encourage efficiency and innovation. Markets engender sustainable
Wealth Creation: the market system
is a tried and tested means of ensuring economic growth and wider
Competition: plays a vital role in
driving business towards resource-efficient provision of goods
and services provided it is transparently regulated.
Choice: empowers consumers with the
freedom to choose how to enhance their quality of life.
Innovation: clearly there are is
requirement to find new ways to deliver our needs, new approaches
to existing problems as well as new ways to do deal with future
challenges. Markets encourage such innovation.
11. The last decade has shown that business
is committed to working in partnership with Governments and Civic
Society to facilitate the shift to make development more sustainable.
(Recent UK examples of such partnership approaches include the
UK Emissions Trading Scheme, Project Acorn, Groundwork and projects
under the landfil tax credit scheme. An international example
would be the Global Reporting Initiative).
12. CBI applauds the UK Government for setting
up the five sectoral initiatives to inform the UK input to the
Summit process. CBI feels that it is vital that business must
be fully engaged in the summit process. Experience has shown that
business is most effectively engaged on a sectoral basis. It is
on a sectoral or even individual business level that commitments
can be made, targets set and performance monitored. At a national
level the Government has played an important role in supporting
this approach with the DTI Sustainability Pioneers Group. Internationally
the ICC and World Business Council for Sustainable have supported
a number of sector specific initiatives (ie in the cement, electric
utilities, forestry and mining sectors).
13. CBI has engaged with UK Government officials
about formalising UK business involvement in the summit. While
these discussions are at an early stage, it is clear that there
is the will and commitment on both sides to come up with a coherent
stance for the summit.
14. The Rio summit had the effect of galvanising
the principal actors around a number of key issues. It also placed
the issue of climate change fully into the public consciousness.
The Johannesburg summit should aim to have a similar effect, propagating
a wider understanding of the concept of sustainable development.
15. While there is no fixed agenda for the
summit, business welcomes the agreement that the outputs from
Rio eg Climate Change Treaty, biodiversity, Agenda 21 should not
be renegotiated in Johannesburg. Rio + 10 will be a failure if
it becomes nothing more than a repeat of the arguments of Rio,
at the same time business does not view Johannesburg as the place
to create additional Multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs).
Efforts should concentrate on progress made and outcomes (not
16. As with all involved in the summit,
business wants it to be a meaningful dialogue that engages all
the relevant stakeholders. The UK government should use its influence
to ensure that tangible and action orientated initiatives that
are realistic to be implemented in specific business sectors are
an outcome of the summit.
17. It is clear from the preparatory meetings
that eradicating poverty and promoting sustainable livelihoods
will be central to the final summit agenda. To facilitate the
delivery of these aims the summit should concern itself with delivery
and implementation in the following key areas:
Finance is an extremely problematic
issue which must be tackled at Johannesburg. Business is concerned
that the current financial arrangements are too bureaucratic and
have led to limited financial sector involvement. Indeed CBI would
also like to see clarification on the role of the private sector,
and the use of new approaches such as mini and micro finance and
public private partnerships. Business would also like to see movement
on the issue of perverse subsidies such as the Common Agricultural
Technology Transplant: The use of
public private partnerships (in the broadest sense) should be
explored as a means for improving access to, and transplant of,
environmentally sound technologies, such as: Joint Implementation
and Clean Development Mechanisms which make up part of the Kyoto
protocol. Also market based policy instruments should be used
to stimulate the development of new technologies and accompany
the culture change required, with attention to specific financing
for small and medium enterprises.
Trade: An open and equitable system
of world trade is vital to sustainable development, the summit
should use the momentum generated at The WTO Ministerial in Doha
to clarify the relationship between WTO rules and existing MEAs.
The summit should encourage the removal of trade distorting and
environmentally detrimental subsides.