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Ban Ki-moon calls for greater sustainability commitment from US and Chinese companies

Date
14 June 2013
Ban Ki-moon calls for greater sustainability commitment from US and Chinese companies

NEW YORK: Ban Ki-moon, Secretary General of the UN, has called for greater commitment from US and Chinese companies to sustainable development and ethical practice.

In a speech delivered on June 12 at the Hong Kong-US Business Council Dialogue, Mr. Ban stressed the need for cooperation between state leaders and the corporate world, arguing that dedication from the former alone is not enough to achieve equitable development and country prosperity.

The message was delivered in a direct fashion: “There should be no more denial, no more deferring action, no more avoiding the tough decisions, no more hoping that a technological silver bullet will save us ...The private sector will have a central role to play in unlocking clean energy investments.”

However, Mr. Ban was also keen to highlight that such action would not be to the detriment of the companies. He argued that there is no necessary trade-off between ethics and business advancement: “I am convinced that principles and profits can go hand-in-hand. Business success requires delivering long-term value – not just financially, but also socially, environmentally and ethically.”

He elaborated that the corporate world has an integral role to play in both technology and innovation, two areas which will be crucial for determining the feasibility of new sustainability targets in the aftermath of the MDGs.

The Secretary General used the speech as an opportunity to encourage US and Chinese companies to sign the UN Global Compact, which binds companies to a set of 10 principles in the areas of human rights, labour standards, the environment and anti-corruption.

Furthermore, he highlighted the importance of the Caring for Climate initiative for business. The program advises companies on how to progress towards greater energy efficiency and sustainable practice. He said, all businesses should, “..uphold responsible practices in their strategies, in their supply chains, and in the communities where they operate.

“Today, our challenge remains clear and urgent: cut greenhouse gas emissions; increase efficiency, rely more on clean energy and provide sustainable energy for all; and reach a global legal climate agreement by 2015.”

By Alana Ryan.

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