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Business and environmental leaders make ideas for better future

2019-06-24author:source:China Daily

Experts called for more cooperation between the public and private sectors and a greater role for the business community to play in addressing environmental issues at a forum on Sunday.

Part of the ongoing 2019 annual general meeting of the China Council for International Cooperation on Environment and Development, the parallel open forum on global environment governance and best industry practice attracted business leaders and environmental experts to share their insights.

Peter White, ambassador for biodiversity at the World Business Council for Sustainable Development, emphasized the need for business to focus on systematic transformation and sustainable lifestyles.

Leadership from the business community will help advance the overall systematic overhaul, White said. Companies need to give attention to and provide leadership on risk management, given that most of the top 10 global risks today relate to the environment, he added.

Guillermo Castilleja, a CCICED special adviser and senior fellow at the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation in California, the United States, said while the green revolution had dramatically increased agricultural productivity, the costs associated with this increase have been tremendous, citing the environmental impacts of agrochemicals and the concentration of power in large agribusiness investors.

He said that the lack of attention to serious impacts was the result of taking a sector approach to solving problems, rather than a systematic approach.

Dominic Kailash Nath Waughray, a member of the Executive Committee at the World Economic Forum, cited examples of public-private partnerships that are working for systemic changes.

He highlighted WEF's convening of representatives from "hard to abate" industries, such as shipping, construction and aluminum production, ahead of the United Nations Climate Action Summit in September 2019. The discussions aim to achieve massive reductions in greenhouse gas emissions through the commitment of 60 to 70 corporate CEOs.

Jean-Paul Paddack, director of global initiatives at the World Wide Fund for Nature International, noted that businesses account for almost half of greenhouse gas emissions worldwide, and therefore they "are part of the solution".

He shared examples of the WWF's action on climate mitigation in China, including its Climate Saver program that seeks to transform business leaders into champions of climate action.

Whether a business is a success does not just depend on its economic indicators, but its environmental efforts and corporate social responsibilities should also be taken into consideration, he said.

People, profit and planet are key dimensions of judging a business' performance, he added.

Liang Yisong, director of business cooperation and development at BP China, said that the world faces the dual challenges of meeting rising energy needs, as well as the requirement to cut greenhouse gas emissions.

He said he expects the government to roll out incentive policies targeting companies involved in the low-carbon economy and to expand carbon emission trading, thus encouraging businesses to reduce emissions.

Liu Kun, a CCICED special adviser and general manager of the Medical and Health Department at China General Technology (Group), addressed the health impacts of environmental degradation, such as the contribution of air pollution to cardiovascular disease.

While action and awareness for environmental protection has increased, the public still lacks information about the environmental detriments to health, she noted.

She suggested conducting an assessment of environmental impacts on health and collecting typical cases to better regulate business operations.

Wang Tianyi, CEO of China Everbright International, presented the possibilities for achieving zero-waste cities in China.

The Chinese government has designated 100 pilot waste-free cities, according to the CEO.

He highlighted three main objectives for waste-free cities: maximizing the reuse of waste, the reduction in landfill and minimizing the impact of waste on the environment.

Use of refuse incineration power plants is an effective approach to dealing with urban waste, Wang said, adding that with increased environmental awareness, the public and the government can leverage advanced overseas practices to help address the issue.

Stephan Sicars from the United Nations Industrial Development Organization, said that companies need to consider where they can "put their weight" in order to have maximum impact.

E-mail:li.yutong@mepfeco.org.cn

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