Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Business leaders launch a blueprint for tomorrow's global sustainable business

By 2015 the world could have failed to combat poverty and be heading for environmental catastrophe, or it could be on track for sustainable development and a sustainable environment. What role does business have in deciding which scenario comes about?

The World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) has marked its first ten years by looking at business’s role and its ability to contribute to a sustainable future. The WBSCD states that companies that contribute to tackling poverty, climate change and population shifts are those most likely to succeed.

In the paper 'From Challenge to Opportunity', the Tomorrow's Leaders' group, representing companies based in Europe, the Americas and Asia, sets out a manifesto for tomorrow's global business. The paper argues that 'we prosper by helping society to prosper'. It also states that 'we see shareholder value as a measure of how successfully we deliver value to society, rather than as an end in itself.'

The paper, which discusses four key areas of business and sustainable development, including poverty, the environment, population and globalization, adds that large-scale business action on these issues needs to be profitable to be effective.

'Our major contribution to society will come through our core business, rather than through our philanthropic programs. If action to address such issues is to be substantial and sustainable, it must also be profitable'.

The Tomorrow's Leaders Group:

- Frank Dassler, General Counsel and Head of the Global Legal Department, Adidas-Salomon
- John Manzoni, Chief Executive, Refining & Marketing, BP
- Andrew Brandler, CEO, CLP
- Julio Moura, Chairman and CEO, GrupoNueva
- Paul Polman, former Group President, Western Europe, Procter & Gamble
- Idar Kreutzer, CEO, Storebrand
- Christian Mumenthaler, Chief Risk Officer and Member of the Executive Board, Swiss Re
- Peter Bakker, CEO, TNT

From Challenge to Opportunity: The Role of Business in Tomorrow’s Society (1 MB pdf)

Catalyzing Change: A Short History of the WBCSD (3.3 MB pdf)


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