I have just returned from an enriching trip to Japan and used the opportunity to meet with our member companies, get to know my colleagues and better understand their concerns and priorities. I was particularly keen to find out first-hand how Japanese business opinion on the future energy mix, after Fukushima, has changed. In the year after the disaster Japan has taken all but two of its 54 nuclear reactors offline and business is still readjusting to the change. I was very impressed to see the huge amount of work companies have done using their resources and expertise to help communities, and their own operations, get back on their feet.
On the way home I stopped off in Copenhagen and met with the Global Green Growth Forum. This is an important platform, driven by the governments of Denmark, Korea and Mexico, that aims to spur green growth through better public-private collaboration. Their approach is one the WBCSD supports and our soon-to-launch discussion paper, Changing Pace, is an action oriented piece calling for policy frameworks that support business in its sustainability initiatives. We are working towards this year’s autumn forum, which is supported by Danish Prime Minister Helle Thorning-Schmidt.
After Copenhagen I joined a meeting attended by all OECD environmental ministers at which the OECD launched its Environmental Outlook to 2050. The unfortunate news coming out of this paper, similar to the conclusions in earlier papers by McKinsey and the IEA, is that the earth’s temperatures will rise to 5.5 degrees unless we radically change our course.
Back at the WBCSD’s Geneva headquarters all hands are on deck in preparation for our annual member meeting. This important event provides a space where our members can discuss and get different perspectives on the sustainability projects they are working on, or considering starting. It also helps inform our work program to make sure we are addressing our member companies’ most pressing issues. I will be presenting all the latest insights from around the world, and driving home a sense of urgency!