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What is the World Business Council For Sustainable Development (WBCSD)?

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) logo
Nasir Khan

Nasir Khan

The world business council for sustainable development is a network comprising of 200+ business members who are working  to create economic policies with the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) in mind.

Read on to find out how WBCSD members are making sustainable business a reality

Introduction

The world is currently facing three major challenges: Climate Change, Extinction, and Social Disparity. And it seems that more just keeps coming. 

Our current systems aren’t prepared to tackle sudden shocks like the crises we are currently facing such as COVID-19 and the Russian invasion on Ukraine. But there is a glimmer of hope on the horizon.

Fortunately, business leaders around the world are now rallying towards bold and transformational agendas developed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) to solve sustainability challenges around the world.

So, what is the WBCSD?

The WBCSD is a global CEO-led community that comprises more than 200 CEOs of leading businesses from different industrial sectors from all parts of the world.

Its leaders are working together to achieve a common goal which is well-defined within the three pillars of sustainability – environment, economic and social.

WBCSD is a leading force working to make business processes and policies more sustainable.

It is a unique network where each and every community member learns from each other. Smaller players interact with larger corporations and each and everyone of them gets access to tools and expertise about moving forward in the direction of sustainability.

A Brief History of The World Business Council For Sustainable Development 

World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) logo

WBCSD was established in 1995 as a platform for business organisations to tackle the complex sustainability issues of time and the pending future. The functioning principle of the organisation is essentially based upon two core values- Leadership and Collaboration.

Here’s an overview of the timeline of events leading to the formation of WBCSD in 1995

  • In 1990, Maurice Strong who was the Secretary General of the United Nations conference on Environment and Development (UNCED) appointed Swiss businessman Schmidheiny with a responsibility to spread the concept of Sustainable Development among the world’s business leaders, especially at the upcoming Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

 

  • Accordingly, Schmidheiny realised that this was an opportunity to inject the importance of sustainability into business leaders and make them advocates of the concept rather than leaving them with just an awareness of the subject. So, he recruited 48 CEOs from around the globe to begin discussions which first resulted into the formation of “Business Council for Sustainable Development” in 1991.

 

  • At their very first meeting of the newly formed organisation, all CEOs or members agreed that the world needs an open discussion platform to discuss sustainability needs of the future and the present – a spirit of freedom which holds an utmost value even in the present times.

 

The key outcome of this meeting was an agreement to publish an in-depth documentation citing ways for the business community to make their operations and policies more environmentally and climate friendly while maintaining their profit margins. 

So, with the aforementioned goals, the publication named “Changing Course” arrived in June 1992 which was created with the collaboration of 50+ business leaders of the world. It included the existing case studies highlighting the best sustainability practices, and information that was presented at the Rio Earth Summit in 1992.

The meeting turned out to be fruitful and plenty of members of the BCSD pledged to continue with their commitment and work towards the ambitious goals of the organisation.

 

  • The organisation continued for 2 years after which Born Stigson was designated as the new president of the BCSD who decided to merge the organisation with a similar business association named World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE), which in turn, was created by the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) after the Rio Summit.

 

  • On 1 January 1995, the Council merged with the World Industry Council for the Environment (WICE) thus leading to the creation of the present World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD). This formation further strengthened the business’s commitment towards sustainability. At present, WBCSD has its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland and has 120 members in their organisation.

How Does The World Business Council for Sustainable Development Work?

The WBCSD coalition is a network that enables the sharing of knowledge, adoption of climate action tools and standards and provides opportunities to share inputs for policy creation and its amendments. This allows its members to accelerate the transformation of their economic systems while keeping them in line with the Sustainable Development Goals(SGDs), the Paris Climate Agreement and Vision 2050.

What is Vision 2050?

Vision 2050 is a framework designed by the World Business Council for Sustainable Development to guide businesses on how to make the Earth a more sustainable place by 2050. To achieve this mission, businesses need to devise solutions for challenges across many different areas essential to society. That’s why the Vision 2050 framework lays out nine transformational pathways viz. – Energy; Transportation and Mobility; Living Spaces; Products and Materials; Financial Products and Services; Connectivity; Health and well-being; Water and Sanitation; and Food – that allows companies to feasibility take action in these respective areas.

So, we can deduce here that the vision and transformation pathways, not exclusive to but, are aligned with the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and the targets of the Paris Agreement. Each of the nine transformation pathways comprises ten action plans to be executed by businesses for a positive impact on the environment and society for the decade ahead in the future.

The members of the  World Business Council for Sustainable Development platform remain clearly in advantage as compared to others who are not or to be precise, from those who don’t aren’t taking any initiatives towards climate goals. This is for the obvious reason that the  WBCSD  are highly active and work with a well defined strategy to improve their value chain while attracting lower cost of capital in order to achieve their mission.

By 2025, the aim of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development along with its 250+ members and influential companies is to enable the 9+ billion on Earth to live sustainably and well within the boundaries of this planet.

Members of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development

members of the world Business Council for Sustainable Development

Currently, there are more than 200+ business members working together towards the common goal of WBCSD. The businesses arrive from almost all the sectors ranging from chemicals and automobiles to IT and pharmaceuticals, and from all over the world. Some of the prominent business names include ABB, Accenture, Aditya Birla Group, and Apple Inc.

The essence of sustainability lies close to many businesses around the world. But the collaboration between those different companies from many different industrial sectors is another important criteria to build a safe and resilient world where each and every company is more successful and prosperity is shared equally between all.

Summary

To tackle some of the major challenges of climate change, wildlife extinction and social disparity, CEOs of businesses around the globe have established a premier global organisation named World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The WBCSD is the network comprising 200+ business members and it encourages its members to create their policies and economic systems while keeping the Sustainable Development Goals (SGDs) in mind. The ultimate goal of the organisation is to make this planet a more sustainable place to live in.

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