Distinguished Panelists,Ladies and Gentlemen,
It is a pleasure to be with you again in Davos.
This is my second visit as Secretary-General, and I must say that the mood is very different from the optimistic spirit of the past. I’ve been calling this the year of multiple crises. Economies are in trouble.Trust in business and in markets has eroded.People everywhere worry about their jobs and struggle to survive.Yet amid these difficulties, we face another crisis.It has been building for years and is global in scope.Climate change threatens all our goals for development and social progress.Indeed, it is the one true existential threat to the planet.On the other hand, it also presents us with a gilt-edged opportunity.By tackling climate change head-on we can solve many of our current troubles, including thethreat of global recession.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We stand at a crossroads. It is important that we realize we have a choice.We can choose short-sighted unilateralism and business as usual. Or we can grasp globalcooperation and partnership on a scale never before seen.Exactly ten years ago, my predecessor, Kofi Annan, stood in this hall. He called on businessleaders to initiate a “Global Compact” of shared values and principles.He sought to give a human face to the global market.Then, as now, the world faced a crisis in confidence.Yes, globalization had lifted many from poverty.Yet the spread of free markets and capital did not raise all boats.In fact, it hurt many of the world’s poorest people.The Global Compact was our enlightened response.It challenged business to embrace universal principles and to partner with the United Nations onthe big issues.Chief among them were the Millennium Development Goals.Ten years on, the Global Compact stands as the world’s largest corporate sustainability initiative.We can boast more than 6,000 business participants in more than 130 countries.The Global Compact has become a by-word for corporate responsibility.Its members have moved far beyond mere philanthropy.They have pioneered new standards of “best practice” in the areas of human rights and labor law.In many countries they work to protect the environment and fight against corruption.They have undertaken hundreds of projects in health, education and infrastructure in countriesaround the world.Now, a new set of crises prompts a renewed sense of mission.So today I urge you to join a new phase of the Global Compact.We might call it the Global Compact 2.0.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We live in a new era.Its challenges can all be solved by cooperation — and only by cooperation.Our times demand a new definition of leadership — global leadership.They demand a new constellation of international cooperation — governments, civil society andthe private sector, working together for a collective global good.Some might say such a vision is naïve. That it is wishful thinking.Yet we have inspiring examples proving the contrary.Often, business has played a critical role.Think of the Green Revolution in the 1960s that lifted hundreds of millions out of poverty inThink of the global vaccination campaign that eradicated smallpox by 1979.Business and government cooperation has reversed the depletion of the ozone layer.And we have seen solid progress in the fight against AIDS, TB, polio and malaria.
Today, we have an opportunity – and an obligation – to build on these inspiring examples.But we must break the tyranny of short-term thinking in favor of long-term solutions.This will demand a renewed commitment to core principles.
A new Global Compact.
In this time of economic crisis I know there will be a tendency to retreat into nationalism,protectionism and the other “isms” that promote narrow self-interests over common global objectives.
Doing so would be a mistake – not just for global development objectives, such as giving thepoor a fair chance to make a living. It would also compromise national self-interest.The challenges we face today are global in nature.By working together we can solve them. The Global Compact provides an excellent platform.Let me give you some examples.The Global Compact’s “Caring for Climate” is the world’s largest business-led initiative onclimate change. Chief Executive Officers are disclosing their carbon emissions and committingto comprehensive climate policies.They are using renewable energy, investing in energy efficiency, and promoting climate friendlypractices such as virtual meetings.
The “CEO Water Mandate” is advancing water stewardship through strategies such as dripirrigation and water harvesting. New technologies are recycling water used in manufacturing soit can be returned safely to the environment.Wind-powered desalination plants are being built that can producing drinkable water for a city of over 1 million people.
In financial markets, the Global Compact, through the “Principles for Responsible Investment,”has begun working with major investors so their investment evaluations can incorporate keyenvironmental, social and governance issues.
Ladies and gentlemen,
Today with the economic downturn and climate change, the stakes for companies have neverbeen higher.But for businesses with vision, the rewards are equally high.
Over the past few months momentum has grown for what I call a global “Green New Deal.”
Last week saw the inauguration of a new President of the United States.Barack Obama has made a clear commitment to re-energizing the American economy by boosting the “green economy.”The green economy is low-carbon and energy-efficient.It creates jobs.Investment in sustainable technologies will turn today’s crisis into tomorrow’s sustainablegrowth.President Obama is not the only political or business leader choosing to follow such a path.
I therefore urge all of you, through your supplier chains and via your business partners, to develop good policies and practices in the areas of human rights, the treatment of workers, the environment, and anti-corruption.You can use the Global Compact’s accountability framework and disclose your progress annually.By doing so you will not only be doing what is right. You will also be helping restore trust,confidence and credibility into the markets.Recent polls show a dramatic erosion of faith in business.Three of four Americans trust business less than they did one year ago.Only a third trust business to do the right thing — half what it used to be. Among young people,the loss of confidence is especially marked.These figures are mirrored across the world.And the same polls show that, globally, 66 percent of the world’s people think business should be fully engaged in tackling our common problems.Those who disagree total only 3 percent.
Ladies and gentlemen,
The writing is right there on the wall.Without trust, we cannot prosper.It is time to get off the fence and take up this agenda seriously.Many of you are cutting costs to deal with the economic downturn.But I think you will agree that it is important to re-orient your organizations for the economy ofthe future.
Every downturn is followed by an upturn.
If you make the right investments now, you will be laying the foundations to tackle critical long-term issues.You will be in the forefront of a new green economy.I encourage you to help create a future based on a low-carbon economy – green jobs, renewableenergy and energy efficiency.
I also ask you to be part of the movement for a comprehensive and meaningful agreement at theclimate change summit in Copenhagen at the end of this year.
I call on you to make full use of your supply chains to make sure that the cleanest technologiesare developed and applied everywhere.
And I ask you to lead by example.
Educate your consumers, suppliers and workers.
Share your technologies with the poor.It is the one and only path to a sustainable future, with the prospect of prosperity for all.
Ladies and gentlemen,
We have choices to make.
Now is the time to rebuild trust.
We can only do it by offering genuine, long-term solutions to real problems. People need to be confident that we are doing the smart thing and the right thing.This means investing in the new economy -- the economy of the future.
Enlightened self-interest is the essence of corporate responsibility and the key to a better world.
Thursday, January 29, 2009
Sunday, January 25, 2009
Monday, January 12, 2009
Global Synergetic Foundation
CEO's Statement of Support
WE, THE BUSINESS LEADERS OF THE UN GLOBAL COMPACT:
1. Climate Change is an issue requiring urgent and extensive action on the part of governments, business and citizens if the risk of serious damage to global prosperity and security is to be avoided.
2. Climate change poses both risks and opportunities to all parts of the business sector, everywhere. It is in the interest of the business community, as well as responsible behavior, for companies and their associations to play a full part in increasing energy efficiency and reducing carbon emissions to the atmosphere and, where possible, assisting society to respond to those changes in the climate to which we are already committed.
1. Taking practical actions now to increase the efficiency of energy usage and to reduce the carbon burden of our products, services and processes, to set voluntary targets for doing so, and to report publicly on the achievement of those targets annually in our Communication on Progress.
2. Building significant capacity within our organizations to understand fully the implications of climate change for our business and to develop a coherent business strategy for minimizing risks and identifying opportunities.
3. Engaging fully and positively with our own national governments, inter-governmental organizations and civil society organizations to develop policies and measures that will provide an enabling framework for the business sector to contribute effectively to building a low carbon economy.
4. Working collaboratively with other enterprises nationally and sectorally, and along our value-chains, by setting standards and taking joint initiatives aimed at reducing climate risks, assisting with adaptation to climate change and enhancing climate-related opportunities.
5. Becoming an active business champion for rapid and extensive response to climate change with our peers, employees,customers, investors and the broader public.
EXPECT FROM GOVERNMENTS:
1. The urgent creation, in close consultation with the business community and civil society, of comprehensive, long-term and effective legislative and fiscal frameworks designed to make markets work for the climate, in particular policies and mechanisms intended to create a stable price for carbon;
2. Recognition that building effective public-private partnerships to respond to the climate challenge will require major public investments to catalyze and support business and civil society led initiatives, especially in relation to research, development, deployment and transfer of low carbon energy technologies and practices.
3. Vigorous international cooperation aimed at providing a robust global policy framework within which private investments in building a low carbon economy can be made, as well as providing financial and other support to assist those countries that require help to realize their own climate mitigation and adaptation targets whilst achieving poverty alleviation, energy security and natural resource management.
1. Work collaboratively on joint initiatives between public and private sectors and through them achieve a comprehensive understanding of how both public and private sectors can best play a pro-active and leading role in meeting the climate challenge in an effective way.
2. Invite the UN Global Compact to promote the public disclosure of actions taken by the signatories to this Statement and,in cooperation with UNEP and the WBCSD, communicate on this on a regular basis, starting July 2008.