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Business and the Summit: Corporates Find Themselves in Spotlight as Commitment to Sustainability is Questioned

Business and the Summit: Corporates Find Themselves in Spotlight as Commitment to Sustainability is Questioned

Published 07-26-02

Submitted by Infonic Ltd

UNITED KINGDOM - Business' current inability to offer a concerted, long-term solution to the problems of sustainability is inflicting serious reputational damage on companies. That is the conclusion of a report released today by Infonic, the Internet research and communications consultancy. The report, the third in a series of five analysing the implications of the World Summit on Sustainable Development (WSSD), also predicts that membership of corporate groups such as Business Action for Sustainable Development (BASD) is not a panacea for the corporate reputation risks of its members.The report concludes that:

·BASD will have to defend itself from corporate accountability groups targeting the organisation and its members
·Individual companies, such as Rio Tinto and Shell, are being attacked for their membership of the organisation
·Companies committed to forging partnerships to promote sustainable energy in developing countries will be seen to have a competitive edge
·The pharmaceutical sector needs to demonstrate that its concern for health in the developing world overrides its desire for profits

Next month's WSSD will provide a stage for NGOs to criticise companies' lack of commitment to the Summit's sustainable development objectives.

"The Johannesburg Summit's own commitment to openness and accountability has boosted the influence of pressure groups and NGOs", says Infonic's Managing Director Roy Lipski. "The impact of these groups' statements should not be underestimated."

Since October 2001 Infonic has been tracking the build up to the WSSD, which runs from 26 August - 4 September. The series of monthly executive reports entitled "Johannesburg Briefings" focuses on the reputational implications of the event, the follow-up to the hugely influential Rio Summit in 1992. The Briefings series started in May, it will finish with a post-Summit evaluation in September. Just some of the areas covered include:

·Expectations and trends: Why is the Summit important? What impact is it likely to have? What are the 'trigger points' that will be the main focus of discussions at and around the event?
·Strategic positioning of the business lobby: What opportunities and threats exist?
·Tactics and strategies of NGOs: Who are the key players? Are networks and coalitions emerging? If so, what are their goals?
·Post-Summit evaluation: What are the implications for business? How has the Summit changed expectations of corporate responsibility? Who are the winners and losers?

The reports are available through subscription from Infonic Publications for £695 + VAT. Individual reports in the series can be bought for £250 +VAT each.

About Infonic Ltd.

Infonic Limited ( ) is an Internet research and communications consultancy specialising in analysis of social and environmental issues and trends online. Recent projects include work on globalisation, climate change and access to medicines. Infonic also works with clients to help them identify, monitor and respond to online reputation opportunities and threats. Founded in 1997, Infonic has a prestigious client list of international companies including Unilever, Bayer, Diageo and Levi Strauss & Co.

For further information or to receive a press copy of the "Johannesburg Briefing":
Sophie Holtham - telephone +44 (0) 20 7490 8844 or email

Infonic Ltd

Infonic Ltd

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