With rich countries going ‘green’ and striving for a sustainable development, the United States today underlined why transitioning to green economy is relevant to our economy, planet and energy security.
On his remarks on Green Growth at DC, Under Secretary Robert D. Hormats for Economic, Energy and Agricultural Affair said for much of the 20th century, businesses and governments typically focused on the allocation and optimization of their labor and capital resources for growth.
“Their assumption was that natural and environmental resources were so abundant that they could be treated as “free” goods.” -Mr. Hormats
As a result, approximately one-third of the world’s biodiversity has been lost since 1970, three-fourths of the world’s marine fisheries are fully or over exploited, and two-fifths of the planet’s original forests are gone, Ms. Hormats explained.
He cites that business as usual is not a viable option.
He stresses there’s a need to revise world’s strategy going forward for the sake of the planet and for the continued success of economies.
“More than ever before, the wellbeing of our economy, the planet, and our energy security are inextricably linked. This connection hasn’t always been so obvious.” -Mr Hormats
Moving to a green economy doesn’t mean sacrificing economic growth or creating fewer jobs, Mr. Hormats stressed.
He says quite the contrary, transitioning to a green economy is an opportunity for businesses and governments to implement practices that are more responsible to country’s citizens, planet Earth, and budgets.
There are numerous examples of businesses and investors seizing opportunities to improve profitability through the adoption of environmentally-friendly practices, he noted.
In particular, the World Wildlife Fund (an international NGO) has partnered with The Coca-Cola Company since 2007 to conserve priority river basins around the world and integrate sustainability into Coca-Cola’s operations, Mr. Hormats cited.
He says water is the main ingredient in every one of Coca-Cola’s products. And, water is essential for the health of ecosystems and biodiversity.
He commends Coca-Cola for being on track to improve its water efficiency by 20 percent by the end of this year, compared to 2004.
“It means that they will have cut nearly 50 billion liters of water usage. This is a win, win partnership.” -Mr. Hormats
However, Mr. Hormast pointed out that value-added from sustainable business practices isn’t restricted to large corporations.
He cites that the State Department partnered with the World Environment Center and multinationals such as Walmart to help small and medium sized enterprises around the world improve their environmental performance, reduce costs, and improve efficiency and competitiveness.
Thirty-five small and medium sized businesses from Guatemala and El Salvador participated in the project to improve their environmental performance, Mr. Hormats reported
The countries achieved a combined total savings of over $600,000 from an initial investment of approximately $300,000.
He cites that these companies aren’t alone.
More than 80 percent of Fortune 500 companies have created environmental charters and have adopted sustainability strategies because it helps their profitability, he cited.
He stresses that governments also have a role to play in driving private sector adoption of environmental technologies and investment in cleaner practices through financing and other fostering voluntary agreements, and by setting standards such as air and water pollution limits.
“In addition, governments themselves have a responsibility to lead by example.” -Mr. Hormats
The State Department’s Greening Diplomacy Initiative for particular have reduced energy consumption by consolidating US information technology platforms.
He reports that approximately 45 percent of the energy delivered to the Department’s Washington, D.C. facilities will come from renewable sources.
The United States is engaging the global community at Rio+20 to build greener and more inclusive economies, smarter cities, and to strengthen institutions and networks to address current and future challenges.
“Our approach to Rio+20 is focused on three key areas.” -Mr. Hormats
Mr. Hormats underlines that the world needs to modernize global institutions to be effective in the 21st century.
The Internet, social media, and other connection technologies allow us to transcend the walls of traditional institutions, fostering truly global collaboration, he added.
Through embracing twenty-first century connectivity, the countries can deploy the collective ingenuity and capability of governments, citizens, businesses, and civil society stakeholders from around the world to promote economic development and sustainable environmental practices.
United States is committed in pursuing economic growth while protecting the environment.
The US believes that green economy offers a path to sustainable development and poverty eradication with the potential for new jobs, business opportunities and community development all proceeding in a sustainable and environmentally sound manner.
Pursuing economic growth while protecting the environment is a priority for the United States of America.
The US sees the green economy as a means to raise living standards in a manner that also improves health and well-being for all segments of society, while at the same time using world’s resources in a more sustainable manner.