(EnergyAsia, May 7, Wednesday) — More than 500 government, non-government organisation, business leaders and press from about 30 countries attended the second B4E – Business for the Environment Global Summit in Singapore last month.

Jointly hosted by the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) and the UN Global Compact, the event was held at the Suntec Singapore International Convention & Exhibition Centre. The two-day summit addressed how corporate citizens can advance business-driven, pro-environment strategies that will also have a positive impact on their bottom line.

“One of the central achievements from the recently concluded COP 13 Bali talks was that both developed and developing countries acknowledged that climate change is everyone’s challenges and everyone’s opportunity. The B4E Global Summit 2008 in Singapore marks another milestone in our effort to assemble a coalition of public and private organisations from Asia and across the world that are determined to realise tomorrow’s economy today,” said Achim Steiner, UN Under-Secretary General and executive director of UNEP.

Highlights of the summit included the launch of the UNEP study on transboundary movement in ozone depleting chemicals, highlighting the prevalence of illegal trade in chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in the Asia Pacific, the release of a new book by the President of the Maldives, Maumoon Abdul Gayoom, titled ‘Paradise Drowning’, and a new report on biodiversity, titled, ‘Sustaining Life’, published by Oxford University Press, supported by UNEP; the Secretariat of the CBD; the UN Development Programme (UNDP) and IUCN. 

“Habitat loss, destruction and degradation of ecosystems, pollution, over-exploitation and climate change are among the powerful and persistent impacts that are running down the planet’s nature-based capital, including the medical treasure trove of the world’s biodiversity”, said Mr Steiner on the ‘Sustaining Life’ report.

“This book explores seven threatened groups of organisms valuable to medicine which we may lose many of the land and marine-based life forms of economic and medical interest before we can learn their secrets, or, in some cases, before we know they exist.”

High-level roundtable discussions were conducted at this year’s Summit with UNEP Champions of the Earth laureates on the topic of advancing the climate agenda through policy, mitigation and adaptation, while industry-specific tracks discussed the concrete value that businesses can realise by financing and investing in climate-friendly production; policy tools and market instruments that can be used in sustainable building and construction; and how climate change can be tackled through information communication and technology.

B4E is an important platform for policy makers, business and civil society to come together and build strong, lasting partnerships to tackle global challenges,” said Georg Kell, executive director of the UN Global Compact.

“It is an appropriate forum to highlight “Caring for Climate”, our global engagement platform and call to action, which has now been endorsed by more than 200 companies from around the world. 

These companies are not merely discussing the need for action against climate change. Instead, they have committed to measuring, tracking and communicating their progress in incorporating sustainability principles into business practices, and ensuring transparency and unbiased dialogue with stakeholders.”

The B4E Global Summit 2008 was supported by Business for Social Responsibility, strategic partner Asia Pacific Resources International Holdings Limited (APRIL), corporate partners, Arcelor Mittal, 

The Dow Chemical Company, OSRAM, and Singapore government partners Ministry of Environment & Water Resources and the Singapore Tourism Board.