KPMG Issues Business Guide to Rio+20

Michelle Remo, “Big 4″ observer
June 14, 2012 /

As governments around the world prepare to meet for the United Nations Rio+20 Earth Summit, KPMG released a roadmap report to help businesses understand the central themes from the Summit and its potential impacts.

The report “Sustainable Insight: Road to Rio”, provides practical information for businesses planning to be ‘’on the ground” in Rio, as well as a perspective on the likely outcomes from the Summit. It concludes that while binding agreements may be off the table, the Summit can help reinforce and catalyse a growing trend towards sustainable development. And most of all, help build momentum and opportunities towards a green economy.

Yvo de Boer, KPMG’s Special Global Advisor on Climate Change and Sustainability says there is no question that short-term thinking and the global economic turmoil have created strong headwinds for Rio+20, limiting – but not preventing – the ability to deliver concrete and binding outcomes.

“While this is disappointing, it would be a mistake to conclude that Rio+20 will not have an impact on business, or that business can’t influence Rio+20. Rio provides an opportunity for momentum towards a more sustainable economy. The role of business is of crucial value if long-term economic growth is to be safeguarded,” said Mr de Boer.

“My sense is that Rio+20 will mark the start of a broader global approach to sustainability, expanding the historical focus on climate change and carbon. In fact, I expect it will quietly initiate action on a range of sustainability issues which in time will have significant implications for business.”

The Sustainable Insight report builds on a recent study from KPMG – Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World, which identified 10 “megaforces” that will significantly affect corporate growth globally over the next two decades.

Mr de Boer says business leaders need to develop a solid understanding of their business profile in relation to the full system of sustainability megaforces so they can understand where to act in minimizing their risks and maximizing their opportunities.

Vincent Neate, head of climate finance, mitigation and reporting in Europe at KPMG in the UK, says that when viewed in the context of these megaforces, such as climate change, energy and fuel volatility not to mention water scarcity, “it is tempting to view moderate action at Rio+20 to be too little too late.”

“However, a successful outcome for business would be action-oriented policies that unlock global capital flows toward green economic growth. This depends on how governments follow through on the implementation of their commitments and how convinced investors are of their intentions. “Regardless of how quickly the change happens, it is the duty of business to be ready to capitalize on the opportunities of a changing marketplace. Indeed, our market leaders are already beginning to make the most out of sustainable business practice and Rio+20 is a reminder to us all that times are changing,.” says Vincent Neate.

 

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