Saturday, January 9, 2016

The Business & Climate Summit: an illustration of corporate commitment to a sustainable future

The vital involvement of the private sector

200 days before COP 21, the Summit brought together nearly 1,200 international leaders and investors from numerous sectors (energy, transportation, food, construction, public authorities, etc.) alongside François Hollande, Laurent Fabius and Ségolène Royal. Over the course of two days, UNESCO Headquarters was the venue for conferences on the technological, organizational and financial solutions needed to reach an ambitious, restrictive climate agreement.

Also on the program were thematic round tables on energy, cities and land use as key avenues for the reduction of greenhouse gas emissions.

On this occasion, Emmanuel Faber reiterated Danone’s commitment to creating the right conditions for sustainable development, by reconciling the company’s performance with social progress. As he said, “We are committed to fighting climate change through more sustainable production and sourcing. We also believe in the effectiveness of solutions that are co-created with the communities around us.”

Reforestation: a key topic in climate change

On the first day of the Summit, a thematic session organized by the Consumer Goods Forum (CGF) – one of the event’s main partners – was devoted to climate issues associated with agriculture, forests and food. During the discussions, members of governments and representatives from the private sector emphasized the colossal pressure exerted on the land and water resources used in agriculture and forestry by the growing global population, urbanization and rising income levels.

Among the solutions mentioned for curbing this phenomenon at the heart of food security and sustainability issues, Indonesia’s Minister of the Environment Yetti Rusli spontaneously cited the Livelihoods Project as a best practice in the fight against deforestation in her country.

Since 2011, Danone has been supporting rural communities in developing countries, via the Livelihoods carbon investment fund, in their efforts to restore their natural ecosystems. In this way, the populations can improve their food security, increase their revenues and identify new sources of livelihood.

Livelihoods Project actions with the NGO Yagasu

In Indonesia, the Livelihoods fund is supporting Yagasu in the restoration of the archipelago’s mangrove forests. The aim is to boost the security of the local populations and, above all, that of coastal communities, which are particularly vulnerable to tsunamis. This involves not only restoring vital arable land, but also developing new economic sources of income (fish, mollusks, honey, etc.), which will have a concrete impact on the lives of local residents.

“We need to expedite the broad-scale replication of this type of best practice,” said the Indonesian Minister. A sign of recognition that not only highlights the projects initiated under Livelihoods, but also Danone’s global, long-term commitment to eliminating deforestation all along its supply chain.

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