Author: Teodora Visnjic
International Law Student, University of Belgrade Faculty of Law

This article is dedicated to showcasing the efforts and thoughts on the changes in todays market. The World Trade Ogranization, World Economic Forum, United Nations and the World Bank have recognised the importance of adjusting bussiness to the newly challenges of climate change and its affect on trade and communities and vice versa trade on the environment and communities.

During the Davos meetings one of the most important topics was reinventing bussinesses handling of the environment and people’s well-being. Dedicating several meetings and sessions to this topic under the slogan ‘Better business’. Relating to the paragraph from the updated manifesto that the World Economic Forum published for its 50th anniversary.

Under section B. of the  „Davos Manifesto 2020: The Universal Purpose of a Company in the Fourth Industrial Revolution“ states that „- A company is more than an economic unit generating wealth. It fulfills human and societal aspirations as part of the broader social system. Performance must be measured not only on the return to shareholders, but also on how it achieves its environmental, social and good governance objectives. Executive remuneration should reflect stakeholder responsibility.;

Alongside the United Nations suggestion of implementing the SDGs in the core of  bussiness conduct in order for bussiness to strive and make sustainability its strongest pillar for its survival in the future. The World Economic Forum gives advice through four concrete steps bussiness should consider in order to become sustainble and stakeholder responsible. As it is now an imperative due to the fact that 80% of consumers are of the opinion that companies should act with responsibility in regard of their stakeholders. The directions are as follows:

  • Source ethically and responsibly by working with suppliers who are committed to sustainable environmental practices and protecting the health and safety of people and the planet. Hold suppliers accountable to your own code of conduct and partner with them to achieve goals around reducing greenhouse gas emissions or delivering future-ready skills development for their workers. And when issues are found, confront them; investigate misconduct, remove intransigent offenders and drive responsible practices deep into your supply chain.
  • Minimize your footprint by increasing energy efficiency, reducing energy consumption and moving toward zero waste. Take initiative now to set certain commitments – either small goals or large-scale transformations. Educate your employees on eco-friendly behaviours and encourage them to make positive changes.
  • Innovate around the life cycles of resources. For example, a typical computer contains plastics, metals, metalloids, ceramics, copper, carbon fibre, silicon, glass, steel, aluminium and countless other obscure materials. Each material comes with complexity, but to stem the rising tide of e-waste, it is critical to find ways to reuse and recycle these materials.
  • Set goals and be transparent about your progress. Understand where your company can make a difference on issues that are affecting the planet. Become familiar with what other companies in your industry are striving to achieve. Identify the metrics you want to hit and establish a time frame.

Taken from “Why sustainability isn’t just for green companies”, World Economic Forum.

The banking sectors is getting increadingly active in the fight for climate change, helping the private and public sector in their ambitions to change the market for the better.

The World Bank present practice shows support for contries projects aimed at ensuring future access of communities to employment opportunities, health care eduaction and other social services. Finding solutions for bringing down CO2 emmisions, supporting investments in solar power and wind energy. The World Bank exceeded its targets for the fiscal year whilst helping countries with their climate actions plans.

In India the World Bank has lended 2.725 billion dollars dedicated to the development of a new rail corridor which will be freeing the capacity of the existing railway lines and thus opening the space for more passenger services that enhances societal mobility. This especially helping porer states of the country such as Uttar Pradech and Bihar. The project will reduce transport GHG emissions by more than half over 30 years, improve service reliability and increase commercial speeds. The technological aspect of this project is actively seeking to improve energy efficiency as well through for example communication based train control and driver advice systems.

According to the WTO report by 2050 suply chains, global food demand etc. will be at high risk due to the effects of climate change (rising sea levels, closing of main trade roots and ports..). But there is a chance for a different scenario, two hundred million jobs can be created across the entire food production system through transition to sustainable agriculture. It is expected that the green bussineses and the costs of production of renewable energy will have further fallen due to the the large suply and gradual demand for the use of renewable energy.

In todays circumstances „tackling the world’s environmental challenges unquestionably requires the development and widespread dissemination of technological solutions around the world. Trade can serve as a powerful tool to help achieve this goal, as it facilitates countries’ access to the best environmental goods and services available in the world market at lower cost.” (WTO Report). In the midst of recognasing climate change and income inequality for the begging of 21st century and its pricey demands now we see it’s gradual shift due to global efforts to tackle the issue unforseen in the past.

In conclusion, if the Forth Industrial Revolution is to succeed it needs the colaboration and dedication of both the public and private sector. Supported by financial institutions recognising its potentials and the growing and all so present need for sustainability in the widest range of sectors. What is the best way that the public and private sector can work alongside International Institutions for the above mentioned goal?

There is yet no right anwser but transperancy and knowledge sharing will be key for the road to sustainbility and market stability.

References:

https://www.wto.org/english/res_e/publications_e/unereport2018_e.htm
https://www.worldbank.org/content/dam/Worldbank/document/Climate/FinanceClimateAction_Web.pdf
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/what-to-know-about-better-business-davos/
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2019/12/davos-manifesto-2020-the-universal-purpose-of-a-company-in-the-fourth-industrial-revolution/
https://www.weforum.org/agenda/2020/01/sustainability-green-companies-business-partnership/
https://www.worldbank.org/en/topic/climatefinance#2