Outline of the International Conference on Voluntary Business Initiatives for Mitigating Climate Change

(Wednesday, 3 and Thursday 4, December)

  1. The Japan Federation of Economic Organizations (Keidanren), the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD) hosted the International Conference on Voluntary Business Initiatives for Mitigating Climate Change on Wednesday and Thursday, 3 and 4 December for the purpose of heightening awareness among representatives from governments, international organizations and NGOs in regard to voluntary business initiatives for mitigating climate change and considering the effectiveness of these initiatives.

  2. First day of the conference was opened by Dr. Shoichiro Toyoda, Chairman of Keidanren. The guest speakers Mr. Koichi Yamamoto, the State Secretary for Environment, and Ms. Elizabeth Dowdeswell, Executive Director of the United Nations Environment Programme both voiced high hopes in regard to voluntary initiatives by industry. The symposium introduced efforts to combat global warming undertaken by the ICC and the WBCSD, as well voluntary initiatives in the same area by industry representatives from Japan, Germany, the Netherlands, France, Finland, Switzerland, European Union, the United States, Australia, the Republic of Korea and China. Also in attendance at the symposium was an audience of about 800 which included government, industry and NGO representatives and ordinary citizens.

  3. The symposium adopted a joint statement incorporating the following concepts:

    1. The industrial sector plays a crucial role in mitigating climate change through the development, commercialization and dissemination of technologies.
    2. Voluntary initiatives are taken by business and in response to climate change. These efforts are showing constructive results and will be further tiostrengthened and broadened.
    3. The range of different types of voluntary actions includes specific company programs, sectoral voluntary plans, and plans comprising part of national plans.
    4. Government has a responsibility to put in placegeneral framework that allows industry to contribute its technological, managerial and entrepreneurial expertise to the fullest extent. Governmental measures should not distort trade patterns or inter-industry competitiveness.

  4. On the second of the conference participants exchanged views on measures to combat climate change, including voluntary business initiatives for mitigating this change.Participants numbered around 130 people, including members of the business community from around the world as well as Michael Zammit Cutajar, Executive Secretary of the United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change, Robert Priddle, Executive Director of the International Energy Agency, and representatives from international agencies, research organizations and national governments. The participants.

  5. Basing his comments on what was debated at the symposium of the previous day, Director General Kozo Uchida of Keidanren opened the round-table discussion on December 4 by noting that industries in countries around the world are making constructive efforts to combat global warming.
    Participants argued that voluntary efforts by industry, drawing on companies' human, technological, and financial resources, have an important role to play in the campaign against global warming, and that governments must show more respect for these efforts and provide encouragement through public policy.
    Industry can not develop and popularize energy-saving products alone. It needs ,some said, coupled with the support of 'green-minded' administrative authorities and the cooperation of the public.
    It was also pointed out that progress reviews will be essential to make individual industries' efforts bear fruit and to keep up the momentum of improve.

  6. The three organizations hosting the discussion were united in their affirmation that in order for governments, industry and NGOs to work together in a partnership toward the mitigation of climate change, more dialogue, such as this conference, are needed for exchanges of views.

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