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An estimated 2-minute read

Global Compact and Corporate Environment Responsibility

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Agenda 21, which is the Declaration of Principle and an International Action Plan, forms the basis of the three environmental principles of the Global Compact, Principle 7, 8 and 9. It was the result of the United Nations Conference on environment and development, also known as the earth summit, which was held in Rio de Janerio in 1992. The role of the policies and operations of businesses in reducing the impact on resource use and the environment was identified in Chapter 30 of Agenda 21. In fact, the contribution of business through activities like promotion of cleaner production and responsible entrepreneurship can go a long way in reducing the impact on environment. The environmental principles of the Global Compact recognise this potential and provide a platform for businesses to address crucial environmental challenges. By investing in activities such as self-regulation, research, innovation, co-operation and education, these businesses can effectively tackle the problem of environmental degradation and contribute towards the conservation and protection of environment from the damage caused by human activities.

The principles are inspired by the following documents-

The Rio Declaration- the Rio Declaration was constructed on an earlier declaration of the United Nations Conference on Human Environment which was adopted in Stockholm, in the year 1972. The Conference in Stockholm has the distinction of being the first global meeting of governments with an environmental agenda and was the first to recognise the link between long-term economic growth and environmental conservation. The Rio declaration finds its basis in this conference and contains a set of 27 principles on the basis of which signatory nations have agreed to base their actions in dealing with the twin and often conflicting issues of development and environmental protection.

Agenda 21- It documented the primary reasons behind environmental change in the form of population, consumption and technology. It further provided the much needed link between development and poverty eradication with progress in the form of sustainable development. It was the first time that it was recognised on the international stage that development and conservation are not two competing concepts but in fact, can peacefully co-exist in the form of sustainable development. It contains 40 chapters, dealing with specific issues pertaining to sustainable development.

The Brundland Report- the Brundland Report was published by the world Commission on Environment and Development in 1987. The report was titled “our common future” and laid the foundation for environmental principles. The document is significant for its clear warning of change needed in the lifestyle of people and the running of businesses on an urgent basis in order to protect the environment which would otherwise lead to catastrophic levels of environmental degradation and human suffering.

United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP)- UNEP has been the undisputed leader in championing the cause of environment worldwide since the time of its inception in 1973 and has provided a much needed platform for international coordination on environment. It has been instrumental in creating multi-national partnerships to conserve the environment. One of the best example of such initiatives are the multilateral Environmental Agreements (MEAs) which have tackled a host of issues ranging from but not limited to species loss and the need for cooperation among states for the protection of environment at a global as well as regional level. In fact, majority of the international environmental laws today are a result of UNDP’s initiatives. Furthermore, UNEP's Division of Technology Industry and Economics (DTIE), is involved in developing voluntary initiatives by bringing together business leaders and organisations committed to environmental conservation, sustainable use of resources and innovation.[1]

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Tagged in: United Nations
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