United Nations, June 24 - Leaders in CSR/sustainable development today generated major advances in Global Compact platforms on climate change and educating the next generation of business leaders.
GC "Caring For Climate" supporters reported progress on several fronts in commitments to develop a global framework for efficient carbon pricing. Meeting separately, educators and business leaders reviewed and endorsed successful academic programs - and plans - for delivering sustainable development preparation for students.
Some key takeaways from each session:
Climate and free market solutions
"Caring For Climate" was established by the United Nations in 2007 to advance the role of business in addressing climate change. Currently endorsed by 400 companies in 60 countries, it seeks to provide a framework for business leaders to advance practical solutions and help shape public policy as well as public attitudes.
The initiative has emphasized market-based potential solutions related to climate change. It has focused on carbon pricing as the preferred policy for reducing carbon emissions by industry and other institutions.
Experts at today's session (coincidental with, but directly relevant to, the global dialogue precipitated by Pope Francis's encyclical on the environment) reported wide ranging progress on "Caring For Climate" objectives:
Many companies are well along on measuring and limiting their carbon footprints. Some, with internal controls, are "taxing" themselves for current emissions and applying the "taxes" for reduction of these emissions.
Investors, across asset classes, are increasingly engaged. They are asking CEOs about projected costs, risks and emission-reduction plans. The aviation industry is will be particularly affected.
Multilateral organizations are well "into" carbon pricing. For example, The World Bank, in service to its foreign minister clients, has established a "leadership coalition" of 50 businesses and 15 governments to stimulate progress. It reports a "tremendous momentum on pricing carbon."
Preparing future business leaders
In a separate New York City venue (the downtown Chase Manhattan Plaza) some 300 business and educator delegates also met today under the auspices of the GC-related Principles for Responsible Management Education.
Some highlights of this program:
Surveys indicate that a substantial percent of business students want more preparation on sustainable development and how to establish social enterprises.
University accrediting bodies are adding sustainable development curriculum to their standards for certifying excellence of business schools.
Dialogue between business leaders and university faculty is increasing but should be accelerated for more creative initiatives in this space.
A company executive summed up the vast opportunity and challenge for PRME signatories: "In our hands is the future of the next generation."
Coming tomorrow: The CSRwire report on the UN General Assembly session on "Global Compact+15 Business as a Force For Good" as it represents a vital potential element for the coming UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs).
Business in Society www.businessinsociety.net , @Biz_in_Society reports regularly on CSR and sustainable development in a variety of social and legacy media. John Paluszek, executive producer, is also senior counsel at Ketchum.