28 August 2019
As joint statements out of successive G7 Summits have become increasingly watered down and shallow, and the Group of 20 meeting in Japan two months ago ended with a bifurcated statement on climate approved by every country except for the US, business has led through commitment and action on a range of issues.
The Business 7 (B7) 18-page declaration, titled ‘Inclusive, Sustainable Economic Growth and Governance for the 21st Century’, delivers an alternative path for solving problems of international scope in stark contrast to the G7’s less than one-page joint final statement.
“This call by the B7, led by leading business groups representing the G7 countries, is clearly showing that there is significant momentum on redefining the value of business to ensure a more inclusive society, a more protected environment and a more resilient economy,” said Andrew Petersen, CEO of the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSD Australia).
In its just released G7 Perspectives Report, BCSD Australia analyses these calls to understand the important implications and opportunities for Australian business.
“This message from the B7 reiterates the recent Declaration by the Business Roundtable – 180 CEOs of companies that together employ more than 10 million people – which issued a new definition of the purpose of a company placing responsibilities to customers, employees, suppliers, communities, and the environment on par with the responsibility to shareholders,” said Mr Petersen.
“But these calls, transformative as they are, only work if governments are held to account and realise the new sustainable building blocks of future economic growth."
In the lead up to this year’s G7 work the French government completely overhauled the format of the G-7, so that it is no longer “just a behind-closed-doors meeting between heads of state and government”. This resulted in the French Presidency setting a new standard bringing recommendations to the table from all relevant stakeholders by convening young people (Youth 7), women (Women 7), non-governmental organisations (C7), unions (Labor 7), employers (Business 7), research centers (Think Tanks 7) and academies of science (Science 7).
"It definitely points to a new framework for government-business collaboration,” said Mr Petersen.
Irrespective of the moderate political outcomes of the 2019 G7 Summit, it is apparent that corporations recognise they can to do more to protect Earth’s resources and also to pay workers fairly and support innovative research, rather than limit their concerns to quarterly earnings and share buybacks.
For more information, please contact:
Andrew Petersen CEO Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia
About the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSD Australia)
Previously known as Sustainable Business Australia, the Business Council for Sustainable Development Australia (BCSD Australia) is the national peak body representing forward-thinking companies and organisations that are working towards the transition to a sustainable Australia. Our mission is to accelerate this transition by making sustainable business more successful. We are the Australian partner of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), the We Mean Business coalition and the Carbon Disclosure Project, and we are the Australian focal point for the Natural Capital Coalition. Our members come from all sectors and industries, representing more than 150,000 employees across Australia.