Rio+20 to put spotlight on sustainability

At the Rio+20 sustainable development conference next week, world leaders will thrash out the environmental and ethical issues facing the planet.

by Rebecca Burn-Callander
Last Updated: 19 Aug 2013

Over the past decade, competition for scarce resources has increased exponentially. Be it gold, cotton, or even vanilla, markets have become increasingly volatile, and prices have soared. And it's not just rising commodity costs affecting the world's poor; water shortages continue to plague large swathes of the globe. Extreme weather, tied to climate change, is wreaking havoc across the developing world. So, how can today's leaders build an inclusive, green, ethical economy to enable future generations to live well and in harmony on the planet?

This is just what the leaders at the Rio+20 are hoping to find out. On the table for discussion are: new Sustainable Development Goals to replace the old (and largely ignored) Millennium Development Goals that expire in 2015, and a new economic measure to replace GDP – the current measure of economic progress. One that puts a value on sustainable ecosystems. So, rather than just weighing up the market value of goods and services produced by a nation, forests, wetlands and other natural systems that generate clean water, help to provide stable rainfall and aid pollination, will count too.

It's a difficult time to be talking sustainability. The eurozone crisis and financial turbulence across the world have taken prominence on leaders' agendas in recent months. The Rio+20 also happens to clash with the G20 meeting taking place on Monday.

Should we be thinking about sorting out tomorrow's world while today's is in flux? Will there ever be a 'convenient' time to deal with sustainability?

One argument states that leaders – whether in politics or business - must at times push aside short-term problems in favour of taking a long-term view. A future-gazing leader who keeps tomorrow's problems in mind while solving today's is often the most successful.

And MT has noticed a burgeoning trend in fast-growing, innovative, successful businesses. A committment to sustainability.

That’s why we have teamed up with our like-minded colleagues at Sky to bring you the MT Sky Future Leaders Awards. This new award scheme is not aimed at today’s bosses and CEOs, instead it aims to recognise and reward the leaders of tomorrow. A new generation of innovators from across the whole business spectrum, making sustainability their watchword. With five categories covering all walks of business life - Corporate Ace, MBA Mastermind, Start-Up Star, Non-Profiteer and One to Watch - there’s something for everyone.
So if you - or someone you know - is a rising sustainability champion with a promising future ahead, check out the MT Sky Future Leaders Awards. Entries close July 13 2012.

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