Review of ESMT Rio+20 Lunch April
Sustainable growth: Which factors exist for its implementation?
On April 12, 2011, ESMT in Berlin greeted around 30 guests on campus for the Rio+20 Lunch to discuss measures, potentials, and the difficulties of combining sustainable growth and responsible corporate action. The moderator Christoph Burger from ESMT introduced the three panelists – Dr. Carsten Neßhöver from Helmholtz-Zentrum for Environmental Research, Thomas Koenen, leader of the department climate and sustainable development of the Bundesverband der Deutschen Industrie BDI, and Günter Mitlacher from the WWF (leader of biological diversity).
Dr. Carsten Neßhöver shortly repeated the meaning of the term and concept “ecosystem service” (Ökosystemdienstleistung). Convinced that the problematic plains of biodiversity and the ecosystem exist on a national, an international, and a global scale, he discussed the problem of how to combine human well-being and nature’s condition.
Thomas Koenen tried to find out how to redesign and reorganize indicators of respecting ecological sustainability to take economic factors better into. He claimed that companies need a poster-like idea to finally change their business concept and that this may take a lot of time.
While introducing studies about the overuse of resources, Günter Mitlacher stressed that humans will pay for the costs of this overuse. He introduced the term “socio-ecological market economy” and advocated its adaption in Germany.
The panelists formulated the problem in its entirety by stressing that growth has arrived at its limits and that nowadays people globally strive for a consumption-based way of life. They stressed that we need companies to lead the way to make changes to corporate action in favor of sustainable growth. Each panelist emphasized that corporations should become aware of their dependency on nature’s services and costs and should definitely prepare for the soon-appearing risks which will not only affect corporate action but also human beings. Moreover, we need global institutions to control the confluence of economic growth on an international level.
In conclusion, the panelists mentioned the foundation of an UNEO as a good goal for the Rio+20 meeting. Furthermore, they expect an operational solution from Rio+20 to transform economies of developing countries into green economies.