During the last week of September, I had the great opportunity to attend UN-related conferences and meetings in New York City. Nonprofit organizations, governments, development agencies and businesses discussed at length climate change and sustainable development.
I was particularly interested in hearing what businesses had to say in that respect. Among other issues, the Business Call to Action 5th Annual Forum emphasized on the need for businesses to focus on green growth. To do so, they have to engage in a dialogue with governments, civil society organizations and scientists, for example, the ultimate goal being to set up partnerships for sustainable development, investments in human capital, education, infrastructures and better regulations.
In this day and age, we are accustomed to hearing disheartening news about big firms laying off employees while making huge profits. But I have realized that academics like Stuart L. Hart, academic and top authority on the implications of environment and poverty for business strategy (Cornell University) and some business leaders are striving to make a difference. They seek to harness the power of the private sector to generate ideas and foster sustainable development.
As a representative of DFID stated , the issue at stake is: "What kind of business do you want to be in?" I would add that sporadic and symbolic actions are not enough, the private sector ought to take a clear stance in favor of green development for concerted efforts with governments and civil society.
* DFID : British government department whose goal is to promote development and eliminate poverty