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Prudent Use Of Natural Resources Can Boost Profits

Prudent Use Of Natural Resources Can Boost Company Profits, Preserve Ecosystems – UN Report

New York, Jul 12 2005

With many of the planet’s ecosystems such as fisheries, forests and water supplies in serious decline, a new report by the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) argued today that by using the Earth’s natural resources more wisely, big companies can boost their profits and reduce ecosystem damage at the same time.

“We need imaginative financial mechanisms and incentives to give these resources real value and to encourage re-investment in the natural capital we have already over-used”, said UNEP’s Executive Director Klaus Toepfer, launching the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, “Ecosystems and Human Well-Being: Opportunities and Challenges for Business and Industry.”

“In doing so we will not only conserve the life support systems upon which current and future generations depend, but also provide new income flows to overcome poverty and help us meet the United Nations Millennium Development Goals whose implementation will be reviewed at the 2005 World Summit in New York in September”, he added.

The report stressed that with many of Earth’s ecosystems in decline, in as little as five years, this could trigger increased costs for companies who rely directly and indirectly on nature-based services. Therefore, companies who managed ecosystems more prudently and who invested in their care and conservation were likely to enjoy multiple benefits including enhanced profits, improved reputations among consumers and new business opportunities.

They would also be better placed to respond to sudden “shocks” including higher oil prices, a dramatic fall in the availability of raw materials or greener rules, regulations and laws that may be in the pipeline, the report argues. Meanwhile, research and development in cleaner and greener technologies would increasingly be needed to reduce ecosystem damage and to better use nature’s goods and services.

“Fortunately, many corporations are already aware of this and are grappling with these fundamental issues through initiatives such as the UN Secretary-General’s Global Compact,” he said, referring to the a UN inter-agency initiative championed by Mr. Annan, which seeks to advance good corporate citizenship and responsible globalization.

“New markets, such as those that trade carbon and access and benefit sharing of genetic resources, are also developing. And many governments are drawing up regulations and legislation to steer firms onto a more resource efficient path, he added.

“However, given the scale of environmental damage and the urgency to act much, much more needs to be done. I hope this report, the work of over 1,300 experts including representatives of business, will be that wake up call”, said Mr. Toepfer.


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