The G20: Building Low-Carbon Economic Prosperity

April 1, 2009
  • Aron Cramer portrait

    Aron Cramer

    President and CEO, BSR

Following on my post earlier this week, I want to draw your attention to an open letter (PDF) BSR joined in sending to UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown, which outlines several steps to the creation of “low-carbon economic prosperity.” This letter is organized by the climate program of the World Economic Forum and is signed by 52 companies—including many BSR members—and other organizations and individuals actively working to combat climate change. 

As the letter states, “global economic growth and the prospects for the achievement of a UN climate agreement in Copenhagen later this year can be strengthened by placing low-carbon growth strategies at the heart of economic stimulus measures now being implemented in many countries.”

The core elements of the message are:

  • Develop market mechanisms that place a price on carbon
  • Develop universal standards and metrics to measure and promote progress
  • Create incentives for accelerating investments in new technologies
  • Promote energy efficiency
  • Accelerate action on deforestation and adaptation measures 

We support this agenda because it provides a framework for business innovation to meet the climate challenge. The agenda outlined in the letter will send a strong signal to the entire world that governments are serious about addressing climate change even as they face the most serious economic challenge in decades.

Government action won’t create new technologies, change consumer behavior, or even ensure that a deal at Copenhagen later this year will actually be implemented. But without coordinated action, it will be much harder for businesses that are looking to innovate, create markets, and generally maximize their contributions to the creation of a low-carbon economy.

In the reset world, business as usual won’t suffice. If Obama, Brown, Sarkozy, Merkel, Hu & co. follow the path outlined in this letter, we may be able to look at this week as the time when the contours of a more stable and sustainable economy began to emerge. If not, we may all be missing out on a critical opportunity.

Let’s talk about how BSR can help you to transform your business and achieve your sustainability goals.

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