Sustainable consumption?

22 June, Rio Centro

It’s the final day of the Rio+20 summit and today it feels that everything is fizzling out a bit with heads of state, ministers and in some cases just the civil servant heading the delegation making their countries’ plenary speeches. No-one is expecting fireworks in the final plenary when countries will finally decide whether to adopt the text and sitting here in the media centre there is a real sense that journalists here are not sure what the story for today is… On the other hand there have been plenty of fireworks most nights coming from the favelas on the hills above where I have been staying these past two weeks.

Many of those still here not in the plenary room or media centre seem to be using the enormous food court as a base for the day – where at least the super-strength and excellent Brazilian coffee is keeping some very weary people going. So after drinking several large espressos myself I took some pictures of the various food and other businesses here in the conference centre all keen to stress their sustainable credentials and here they are below. From the top they are of a major supermarket chain, a national government owned savings bank, Coca Cola and a major Brazilian energy supplier. The UK and many other governments have rightly stressed the importance of involving businesses and the private sector in discussions on sustainability.

In his speech to the plenary here Nick Clegg said: “we need to involve businesses more. Government cannot do this alone. There is increasing recognition among major companies that using resources sustainably is in their own interests. That is why it is so important that Rio has recognised the role of business sustainability reporting. There is a market demand for this. Companies have been asking for it, investors need to know, consumers want to make informed decisions, and this should eventually lead to a global framework.”

However some would say that in seeking to involve businesses much more and get them on board governments have allowed them to have much more influence on the final text than NGOs were able to have here in Rio….

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