31 May 2012 - Private Sector

"With less than a month to go, it looks set that mandatory corporate reporting is the best outcome possible at Rio+20. But we as civil society, should unite once more like back in 2002 and call for “rights for people and rules for big business”

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Jeannet Lingan, Stakeholder Forum

Momentum is picking up for the corporate sustainability reporting proposal at the negotiations on the Rio+20 Outcome Document. We have yet to find out whether it is positive movement, but we can still hope. Yesterday's initial discussions on the new streamlined Co-Chairs' text – now paragraph 41 – was rather lively. The paragraph received more amendments than expected at this stage, which triggered Chair Kim's impatience as governments' were supposed to streamline and reduce the text, not add more. The amendments represented two main positions: a call to launch a process to support the implementation of national policies for large and listed companies to publish their sustainability reports or explain why they do not, and strong opposition against any proposal that would impose conditions on companies, keeping the conversation at the level of voluntary commitments for companies. Between amendments and brackets, the paragraph went from six to fourteen lines.



Helen Murphy, James Cook University; Michael Winer, Cape York Institute for Policy and Leadership; Harold Ludwick, Aurukun Opportunity Hub


In the run up to Rio+20 there has been much focus on the green economy as a means to achieve sustainable development and poverty eradication. For indigenous groups, participation in the green economy is intimately connected with the need to protect their human and social rights as local stewards of ecosystems and biodiversity. In Australia in particular, there must be stronger recognition of indigenous rights to land, territory and resources, as well as respect for traditional knowledge systems and governance. Attempts currently being made to encourage indigenous peoples’ participation in the green economy without addressing weak land and property rights will only further strengthen current inequalities. Ongoing work by the Cape York Institute shows that current ‘green jobs’ for indigenous peoples in Cape York are mainly restricted to a small number of short-term government funded land management positions, while larger opportunities for participation are being lost.


Daniel Mittler, Greenpeace International

Twenty years ago, the power of corporations over governments was already mighty. Witness the fact that just a few months before the 1992 Rio Earth Summit, the only intergovernmental mechanism that had been monitoring transnational corporations – the UN Centre on Transnational Corporations (UNCTC) – was discontinued. Along with it went almost 15 years of work on the Code of Conduct on Transnational Corporations (TNCs), which attempted to spell out the rights and duties of TNCs and the rights of States to regulate them. While Principles 13 (Liability), 14 (Double Standards), 15 (Precautionary Principle) and 16 (Polluter Pays Principle) of the Rio Declaration all relate to corporate behaviour, governments failed to commit business to concrete actions to achieve sustainable development.



Marco DeSena, Greenwashing The Facts

As governments and NGOs around the world strive toward setting real goals for global sustainability, it is important to acknowledge just how much traction this movement has gained within many of the world's largest transnational corporations.


A defined goal centred on sustainability reporting by companies ‘a must’ at global Summit

Corporate reporting needs to be brought into the 21st century by integrating material sustainability information into corporate reports, asserts the Association of Chartered Certified Accountants (ACCA) today ahead of Rio+20.