Groups like the United States Council for International Business are here in Rio to call for policies that will drive economic growth while improving environmental quality and creating social benefits, not least of which are jobs, whether green or any other color. For business, this is vital. If done right, the Rio+20 outcomes can provide enabling frameworks to smooth the way for technological innovation, and new markets for energy options and other products, services and improved, more efficient processes that are at the heart of greener growth.
In anticipation of Rio+20, the United States Council Foundation, working with a number of partner organizations from business and the NGO community, organized an innovative program called the Green Economies Dialogue (GED). Through a series of workshops around the world, the GED has brought together policymakers, NGOs, business and researchers to brainstorm and discuss practical ways that green growth can be integrated into globalized economies and markets.
Over the past year, the project has informed international policy deliberation in the lead-up to Rio+20, with industry, government and other actors working together to map the transition to a global framework where the private sector and the marketplace have bottom-line motivations to drive improvements in technology and business practices.
Through intensive dialogue sessions in Washington, Paris, Beijing, Tokyo, and Brasilia, the Green Economies Dialogue has provided a platform to discuss key international policy issues, with the goal of ensuring that economic growth and the pursuit of environmental objectives go hand-in-hand. Issues addressed included access to environmental innovation, the role of international institutions, trade and climate policies, the role of subsidies and many others.
In addition, as part of the GED project, academic research has been commissioned for publication in the influential publication Energy Economics, with research papers by highly regarded experts exploring a variety of aspects of green growth and green jobs.
So as we begin here in Rio, the sprawling conference facility of RioCentro is still under construction, somehow in line with the work-in-progress nature of the agreements governments hope to reach at this meeting. As work gets underway in several perhaps aptly named “splinter groups,” we hope governments will seriously consider bringing business into the conversation and the implementation ahead. We have come to Rio to engage and to act, and we look forward to contributing to an actionable outcome as the legacy of this historic event.
Image of Business people standing with question mark by Yuri Arcurs via Shutterstock.