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Businesses Gather for Summit on Sustainable Growth

14 February 2012: KPMG International, in cooperation with the UN Global Compact, the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) and the UN Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted a Summit on the Business Perspective for Sustainable Growth, at which UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon called for business leaders' support in achieving “critical mass” for corporate sustainability.

Participants in the Summit, which opened on 14 February 2012, in New York, US, included over 400 CEOs, senior business leaders from major corporations, and key policymakers.

Alongside declining trust in government in the past year, Ban also noted declining trust in the private sector, as “a series of disasters, scandals and business-as-usual have made people increasingly skeptical of the corporate world.” Ban also highlighted the UN Conference on Sustainable Development (UNCSD, or Rio+20) as an opportunity for business and investors to show leadership. He asked them to “do more.” From business' perspective, he suggested, the case for sustainability is getting stronger, given both risks, and the growing consumer desire and demand for greener products and services.

Ban called on businesses to take the following five steps: participate in the Corporate Sustainability Forum during the UNCSD; publicly report on sustainability performance; make their lobbying and advocacy more responsible and consistent with stated values, including by not blocking action on climate change; support regulatory frameworks and incentives to reward environmental and social performance; and work with the UN in its platforms and initiatives, such as the Global Compact, the Sustainable Energy for All (SE4ALL) effort to mobilize the private sector on energy, the Caring for Climate initiative, CEO Water Mandate, Women's Empowerment Principles, and Every Woman Every Child initiative.

Also during the Summit, KPMG released a report titled “Expect the Unexpected: Building Business Value in a Changing World.” [Statement of Secretary-General to KPMG Summit] [UN Press Release] [KPMG Press Release]