UNIDO Director General and industry leaders advocate for green industry

25 September, 2013

The United Nations Industrial Development Organization (UNIDO), together with the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP), hosted a panel discussion promoting green industry on the fringes of last week’s 2013 United Nations Global Compact Leaders Summit.


The event brought together top-level speakers from the United Nations and a diversity of industrial sectors to discuss how measures such as resource efficiency, greener information technology solutions and business plans that take into account sustainability, make sense in economic, environmental and social terms.


In his first public speech since assuming office, UNIDO’s newly-elected Director General, LI Yong, emphasized the need to recognize that producing and consuming sustainably is a global necessity, and that it takes concerted action from a wide range of stakeholders to achieve this objective.


“While some companies have fully embraced this path and are moving on from ‘business as usual’, the vast majority still face significant barriers to implementing the policies and practices needed to make their operations fully sustainable. This is why the United Nations today is engaging global businesses at a scale never seen before,” LI said.


LI further emphasized that UNIDO would continue to push a Green Industry agenda under his leadership by stating: “I intend to carry this effort forward with renewed momentum, so that UNIDO will continue to deliver inclusive and sustainable industrial development on a global scale.”


The event’s featured speakers gave examples from key industrial actors to outline the core tenets of a green industry approach to a focused audience of government, business and civil society representatives. Speakers included Thomas Videbæk, Executive Vice President of Business Development at Novozymes; Peter Lacy, Managing Director of Strategy and Sustainability Services, Asia-Pacific, at Accenture; Paul Hengeveld, Senior Director of International Organizations at Microsoft; Jorge Soto, Director of Sustainable Development at Braskem; and Dave Knight, Director of Two Tomorrows North America; each of whom outlined clear, concrete and diverse measures to improve the sustainability of production processes and products.


The multi-stakeholder UNIDO-UNEP Green Industry Platform was also highlighted as a vehicle to scale up and mainstream a green industry approach throughout the world’s manufacturing industry. LI announced a heightened effort by UNIDO and UNEP to get more businesses around the world sign the Platform’s “Statement of Support”, committing them to pursue core green industry policies and practices.


Heinz Leuenberger, Director of UNIDO’s Environmental Management Branch, added: “By outlining the multiple facets of green industry and the kind of partnerships required to implement it, this event has helped government and business alike realize what is needed from both of them to advance sustainable industrial development.”


A facilitated discussion involving the audience, and led by Paul Hohnen, of Sustainability Strategies, rounded off the event. In closing, LI issued an open invitation to attend the forthcoming Green Industry Conference 2013, which will take place in early November in Guangzhou, China. The conference will focus on strategies to overcome the challenges of implementing green industry solutions and aims to provide a more actionable understanding of how green industry can be realized.


Following the event, Peter Lacy of Accenture summarized the participants’ outlook by noting that he “greatly enjoyed the discussion” but sees the need to “urgently take green industry to speed”.


Original article