Firms pledge Rio+20 sustainability

2012-06-18 10:27
Mohamad Shinaz, a Maldives climate activist holds a sign reading 'Act Now Save Lives' as he is submerged in water in a 3m perspex tube. (AFP)

Mohamad Shinaz, a Maldives climate activist holds a sign reading 'Act Now Save Lives' as he is submerged in water in a 3m perspex tube. (AFP)

Multimedia   ·   User Galleries   ·   News in Pictures Send us your pictures  ·  Send us your stories

Rio de Janeiro - Microsoft and other firms attending the Rio+20 business forum are falling over each other to prove their corporate responsibility credentials, but critics remain highly sceptical about their commitments.

About 1 000 business chiefs from around the world are attending a four-day Corporate Sustainability Forum, organised by the Global Compact.

The Compact, a UN initiative to encourage businesses worldwide to respect human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption principles, has 7 000 corporate participants in 135 countries.

Scores have already responded to a call to do the right thing and commit to actions and partnerships that advance progress along the forum's six core themes.

These are energy and climate, water and ecosystems, agriculture and food, social development, urbanisation and cities, economy and financing.

Data centres

On Sunday, US technology titan Microsoft announced plans to achieve net zero emissions for its data centres, software development centres, software development labs, offices and employee air travel by boosting energy efficiency and buying renewable energy.

"We said we would be carbon neutral starting July 1," Rob Bernard, Microsoft's chief environmentalist strategist, told a press conference.

This would be achieved in part through offset, meaning balancing a measured amount of carbon released with an equivalent amount sequestered, or buying enough carbon credits to make up the difference.

Luxembour-based ArcelorMittal, the world's largest steelmaker, says it will reduce its CO2 emissions by 8% for every ton of steel produced by 2020, based on a 2007 baseline.

In Brazil, Netafim, a global leader in smart drip and micro-irrigation solutions says it is working with the ministry of integration to install 1000 family drip systems on small-scale farms in the north-eastern state of Piaui by 2014.

Drip irrigation helps save water and fertiliser by allowing water to drip slowly to the roots of plants, either onto the soil surface or directly onto the root zone.

US chemicals giant Dupont is committing $10bn by 2020 to research and development and plans to launch 4 000 new products by the end of 2020 to produce more food, enhance nutrition and food and farming sustainability worldwide.

South Africa's state-owned utility Eskom and US Duke Energy have pledged to assist the development of an electrification roadmap to ensure 500 million people across Africa and developing countries have access to energy by 2025.

Marketing tool

These are some of the more than 100 corporate commitments which organisers say will be announced at the close of the forum on Monday along with recommendations for Rio+20 summit leaders due to meet from Wednesday to Friday.

But critics have accused the Global Compact of acting as a marketing tool for big business.

The Compact rejects the charge, saying its scheme incorporates a strict accountability mechanism under which signatories must report annually on their implementation or risk expulsion.

"[They] are trying to look good here at Rio, but they are amongst the worst polluters and are actively holding back sustainable development," said Daniel Mittler, political director of Greenpeace International on the commitments made by Eskom and Duke Energy.

Greenpeace is also taking Microsoft, one of three largest owners of data centres in the world along with Amazon and Apple, to task for not quitting the coal habit.

"Giant data centres which store and send the terabytes of pictures, e-mails, songs and streaming videos we enjoy every day are now one of the fastest growing sources of new electricity demand in the world," the group said. "Every day, tons of asthma-inducing, climate destroying coal pollution is thrown in the air to keep the internet humming."

"Rio+20 will be known as Greenwash+20 because governments are failing to hold corporations to account and are serving the interest of polluters not their people," said Mittler.
- SAPA
Read more on:    greenpeace  |  eskom  |  microsoft  |  rio climate conference  |  climate change
NEXT ON NEWS24X
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
0 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining
 

Inside News24

 
/Dewani Trial
 

Red Bull Lionheart trail run - not for the fainthearted!

Entries are open, so what are you waiting for?

 
 

Where were you when you last felt alive?

Adventure holidays for your bucket list
Top 10 water sports to try before you die
6 impressive camping tips
LOL! The 8 stages of marathon running

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to R1000 on Hisense smartphones!

View the large range of Hisense smartphones. Buy today and save up to R1000!

Deal of the week!

Save R1200 on the Samsung 48” smart full HD LED television now only R8799. Buy now!

Toys 4 for the price of 3

Buy 4 toys and get the cheapest FREE! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Mind blowing prices – As seen on TV

Get mind blowing prices on 1000’s of products! Shop now.

Save 20% on Nivea beauty products!

Buy any two Nivea beauty products and save 20%. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

There is an easy social flow and the need to blend in, yet you may not feel entirely comfortable. Something beneath the surface...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.