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On 22 November 2013, ELIA participated in the partnership meeting of the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD), hosted by the project ISLANDS of the Indian Ocean Commission, in Mauritius. For this meeting, Ms Rabab Fayad, Director – Regional Network WBCSD, made a special trip to Mauritius to meet with key business leaders of the private sector in Mauritius for the establishment of a WBCSD regional network in Mauritius.

ABOUT WBCSD AND VISION2050 AND ACTION2020

The WBCSD is a CEO-led not-for-profit organization having as its members some of the largest private sector organizations. It seeks to galvanize the private sector community to support the creation of a sustainable world. To this effect, the WBCSD has developed Vision 2050 that provides the road map for private sector engagement for sustainable development. To operationalize the road map, the WBCSD has recently launched Action2020 that provides clear guidance on the following:

  1. Societal/Planetary Goals which must be met by 2020 to achieve Vision2050.
  2. Business Solutions: Sets of specific actions led by business to achieve one or more Societal/Planetary Goal by 2020.
  3. Impact measurement and action monitoring to assess progress at company/sector/country levels.

Action2020 seeks to leverage the power of business to solve problems – i.e. to create Business Solutions – in nine priority areas. The Business Solutions have the following characteristics, namely: impactful, measurable, scalable, replicable and beyond business-as-usual.

ABOUT THE MEETING

Mrs Fayad explained during her presentation why business leaders need to get that sustainability should be a key concern and that this is part of “good business practice”. She also highlighted all the different ways that business will be negatively impacted if it does not actively work towards the kind of solutions and future outcomes that are covered by Vision2050 and Action2020. She gave some key examples, for instance, on how climate change vulnerabilities can affect the entire supply chain. She also mentioned that private sector commitment to sustainable development does not need to ‘cost the organization’, in fact quite the opposite it is part of profit-making strategies and long-term business sustainability. She further explained the relationship between the actions of the WBCSD and other initiatives like the Global Reporting Initiative (GRI), OECD, World Resources Institute (carbon accounting), IFC, and the Global Footprint Network.

The meeting was well attended with key representatives from Omnicane, Terra, GML, Investec, MIoD, the National Women Entrepreneur Council, the Stockexchange Mauritius, the Joint Economic Council (JEC), Rogers, Sotravic, UDC, ISLANDS, and ACCA, among others. The discussion that followed was rich, with many participants showing a keen interest and commitment to the formation of this regional network of the WBCSD here in Mauritius. Mrs Fayad also explained how the WBCSD can support the private sector in Mauritius through this regional network, and different models of partnership and engagement to achieve this.

The Mauritius Institute of Directors (MIoD) offered its support for hosting the Secretariat for a possible Regional Network of the WBCSD in Mauritius. Follow-up conversations with the WBCSD are planned to work out the institutional model most suitable for Mauritius (and the Indian Ocean Region).