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 May 04, 2012
UN's Ban Ki-moon urges firms to go green in run-up to Rio

 United Nations Secretary General Ban Ki-moon has urged companies to step up their commitment to sustainability in the run-up to the Rio+20 Earth summit in Brazil next month.

The UN Global Compact is hosting a Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum from 15-18 June in Rio de Janeiro, just days ahead of the of main Rio+20 Summit that will be attended by world leaders.

The Global Compact currently includes around 6,000 companies that have made a commitment to becoming more sustainable. It is now urging firms to make public commitments to improving their environmental impact that will then be promoted during the Forum.

Speaking in a video address, Ban said businesses could play a key role in helping to reduce the effects of climate change and repair declining ecosystems.

"Solutions exist that can have a profound impact," he said. "We need many more companies to awaken to this agenda. A United Nations Global Compact already has 6,000 companies committed to sustainability and you can join them. The RIO+20 conference is our launchpad for action and collaboration. Together we can deliver the future we want."

The Global Compact Office and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development plan to publish a series of corporate commitments on a forum website and mobile app that will be made available to the nearly 2,000 participants of the Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum.

Commitments must be submitted by 1 June in order to be considered for recognition, and must meet criteria including advancing one or more UN goals, and featuring a time-bound target and a commitment to publicly report on progress on an annual basis.

In related news, Caring for Climate, a joint initiative between the UN Global Compact and the UN Environment Programme, has recommended the Carbon Disclosure Project (CDP) as a reporting framework for all signatory companies.

Guidance issued last week outlines disclosure-related responsibilities for signatory companies. Companies that are publicly disclosing their climate change strategies and carbon emissions through CDP automatically meet the Caring for Climate reporting requirements and need only refer to their most recent CDP response to be in full compliance.