The UN is no stranger to sustainable development. Over the years, the organization has been at the forefront of making environmental issues something the world should take notice of. One way of doing this was through the creation of the UN Environment Programme (UNEP) in 1972 to better promote sustainable development in the global environment. It works to assess, develop and strengthen worldwide institutions and programs that have a primary focus on the environment and sustainability.

UNEP held the first UN Environment Assembly (UNEA) last June in Nairobi, Kenya. This assembly was organized with the intention of getting the world’s attention turned to the environment. The event was the first environmental forum to be attended by delegates from 163 out of 193 member states.

Aside from the member states, representatives from the private and public sectors also attended the assembly in order to gather new information on the state of the environment, understand new developments in sustainable technologies, and learn how to help with UNEP’s initiatives, elaborated in The Post-2015 Agenda.

One of the main goals for the assembly was to set the foundation that the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) will be built upon this month. With 2015 nearing, the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) are close to being fully accomplished with the help of governments, private businesses and civilians. The mission of the SDGs is to properly balance the three main factors of sustainability: environmental, social and economic.

From all accounts, the event achieved its goal of putting the environment and the importance of sustainability on a pedestal.  At the end of the five-day event, sixteen resolutions were adopted by the assembly for a greener tomorrow, including:

  • “Strengthening the role of the United Nations Environment Programme in promoting air quality”
    • With air pollution contributing to millions of deaths worldwide every year, the Committee of the Whole submitted that this resolution be adopted by all member states to ensure the safety of their respective citizens. Governments are encouraged to implement tougher regulations for companies and industries that have any effect on the air.
  • “Science-policy interface”
    • This resolution encourages the use and application of new discoveries and technologies in the field of sustainability around the world. This resolution also encourages the use of new information in improving and creating sustainable practices in all sectors.
  • “Global Environmental Monitoring System/Water (GEMS/Water)”
    • The UN wants the world to recognize the value of water quality and quantity. GEMS was established in order to provide the latest data on the situation of the various bodies of water around the world. It aims to promote proper water management among industries and citizens.

The outcome of the UNEA means a lot of things for businesses around the world. These resolutions give the public the opportunity to voice their environmental concerns to the various industries that have yet to disclose their practices. The majority of these businesses will likely have to change company practices in order to comply with new policies governments create to fulfill their responsibilities to the UN and the rest of the world.

Companies are beginning to realize that not making these changes will cause irreparable damage to the environment and the finite resources within it. Companies that exercise sustainable practices have a following of loyal customers because they go above and beyond what governments require and consumers choose them over companies that do not.

Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) and good citizenship are highly valued in the business world, with the public becoming aware of their social, economic and environmental situation. Sustainable development requires time, patience and endurance with the lengths that it reaches. Proper management and information dissemination are imperative for sustainable practices to work.

FirstCarbon Solutions (FCS) has the unique expertise to help businesses reach their sustainability goals. With various industries taking notice of the numerous benefits of sustainable development, their corporate agendas and strategies are bound to change. The challenge for these industries is how to go about these changes while remaining transparent about them. FCS offers consulting for energy, sustainability and supply chain management. With its team of experts on hand to give industries information specific to them, FCS helps clients reach their respective goals. 

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