From their website:
THE WORLD BUSINESS COUNCIL ON SUSTAINABLE DEVELOPMENT
The WBCSD was founded on the eve of the 1992 Rio Earth Summit to ensure the business voice was heard at the forum. It was created by Swiss entrepreneur and philanthropist Stephan Schmidheiny who believed that business had an inescapable role to play in sustainable development: at the same time as making significant contributions to the creation of a sustainable society, it is in the interest of business, and its bottom line, to do so.
Maurice Strong, then Secretary General of the Rio Summit, invited Mr. Schmidheiny to coordinate the business participation in the 1992 Rio Earth Summit. Its success lead to a book, Changing Course: A global business perspective on development and the environment, which gathers the expertise of more than 50 global business leaders to show how the business community can achieve environmental protection coupled with economic growth.
The WBCSD’s cornerstone Vision 2050 report calls for a new agenda for business laying out a pathway to a world in which nine billion people can live well, and within the planet’s resources, by mid-century. The report is a consensus piece that was compiled by 29 leading global companies from 14 industries and is the result of an 18 month long combined effort between CEOs and experts, and dialogues with more than 200 companies and external stakeholders in some 20 countries.
The report features a set of agreed must haves. They represent vital developments that the report’s stakeholders hope organizations will consider putting in place within the next decade, to help ensure a steady course towards global sustainability is set. Ultimately, they are intended to provide a springboard for dialogue and debate.
Must haves include:
- Incorporating the costs of externalities, starting with carbon, ecosystem services and water, into the structure of the marketplace;
- Doubling agricultural output without increasing the amount of land or water used;
- Halting deforestation and increasing yields from planted forests;
- Halving carbon emissions worldwide (based on 2005 levels) by 2050 through a shift to low-carbon energy systems;
- Improved demand-side energy efficiency, and providing universal access to low-carbon mobility.
Following the summit, Schmidheiny and his fellow business partners concluded that to keep up the momentum that had been created, it was necessary to keep the cooperation alive. In 1995, the Council merged with the World Industry Council on the Environment and opened its secretariat in Geneva, Switzerland: the WBCSD was born. A second office in Washington DC, United States was opened in 2007.
Today, the WBCSD has some 200 members drawn from more than 35 countries and 20 major industrial sectors, involving some 1,000 business leaders globally. The Council also comprises a Regional Network of 60 national and regional partner organizations – called Business Councils for Sustainable Development (BCSDs) – mostly located in developing countries.
UPDATE: MONSANTO HAS JUST BECOME A MEMBER