Due to our commitment to sustainable development we – 11 organising and networking partners of the 3rd International Conference on Sustainable Business and Consumption (SusCon) held on 27 to 28 November 2012 in Bonn, Germany – met with representatives from civil society, business, government and the United Nations to promote the development of an economically, socially and environmentally sustainable future for our planet as well as for present and future generations.
We declare our conviction that
1. the model of growth and prosperity that has dominated in the Western world since the industrial revolution is no longer an acceptable model to live by. It is clear that this economic pattern, along with Western consumer habits, must change if equality on a global level is to be achieved. To do so the increasing scarcity of resources, the growing world population (predicted to reach eight billion by 2025), and the present inequalities of political and economic power must be taken into account;
2. the primary sector (e.g. agriculture, forestry, fishing) and its value chains has an enormous effect on the economic, social and natural environment, as well as on human health. Consequently, we consider the primary sector and its value chains are the decisive factor in achieving the fair and sustainable coexistence of mankind;
3. collective action across all levels and groups of society is essential. The current business model must be abandoned and we need to work together to reinvent a model that is both sustainable and economically viable;
4. business is the main driver and promoter of today’s unsustainable paradigm. Private enterprise should take on the responsibility by running business operations according to sustainability criteria;
5. political and economic framework requirements need to be adjusted so they encourage businesses to adopt a decisive role as “agents of change” for sustainable development;
6. the public sector along with financial service contractors, such as banks, associated companies and insurance companies, are the key drivers for enabling the fundamental transition from the present economic model to a greener economy based on sustainability and resource conservation;
7. Consumer Social Responsibility must complement Corporate Social Responsibility;
8. a Green Economy has to be based on a strong social pillar and that we need to integrate social and cultural influences alongside ecological issues; and
9. in the light of individuals, think tanks, scientists, NGOs, companies, international organisations and governments that have already begun to map the necessary paradigm change, we will further accelerate this process by acting as a conduit for more links between actors; but we also acknowledge that we will have a role in pointing out deficits.
We believe the public and private sector must
1. accept responsibility and understand that sustainability should be part of a long-term corporate strategy;
2. create clear frameworks and effective market conditions on a national and global level, that incentivize sustainable business and prevent ecological damage;
3. ensure sustainability goals are established and supported, with smallholders as key actors for change in the primary sector;
4. invest in resource-efficient projects;
5. mobilize resources to help fund actors that are without other financial means, most notably smallholders and small and medium enterprises (SMEs);
6. prohibit acquisitions of land for the purpose of exploiting natural resources for exportation without benefiting the local population, and make investments in land and other scarce resources that provide opportunities to combat poverty, enhance local cultures, and ensure food security – a vital component of any bilateral or multilateral agreement (public and private) such as the WTO rules;
7. ensure that natural resources – like water, biodiversity and timber – are used in an environmentally and socially responsible ways, and ensure the value of ecosystem services are taken into consideration by introducing payment systems that fully compensate their utility;
8. use their available resources – for example companies and advertising agencies should use their budgets and professionals – to communicate and promote sustainable products and new business models such as “Collaborative Consumption” in an attractive and responsible manner, while standing up against practices that consciously deceive consumers; and
9. ensure that public and private procurement policies consider sustainability criteria as core preconditions for their purchasing decision.
Bonn, Germany 28 November 2012
The Declaration is endorsed by:
SusCon Organizers: COLABORA Let’s work together, forum CSR international;
Organic Services GmbH international consultancy
SusCon Partner Network: FiBL (Research Institute of Organic Agriculture), The Forest Stewardship Council (FSC), International Federation of Organic Agriculture Movements (IFOAM), Naturland e.V., Rainforest Alliance, Soil & More International BV, World Agroforestry Centre, WWF Germany
SusCon – The “International Conference on Sustainable Business and Consumption” links representatives from business with stakeholders from government and UN organisations, as well as NGOs. The third SusCon conference took place from November 27th – 28th 2012 in the UN city of Bonn and brought together around 450 participants from 37 countries. Businesses, NGOs and politicians discussed on issues related to a “Green Economy” and debated on solutions for sustainable supply chains. Major topics were technical innovations, CSR 2.0, resource efficiency, certification as well as financial transitions and lifestyles. 450 participants from 37 countries attended the conference.
The conference was supported by the European Regional Development Fund and the Minister for Federal Affairs, Europe and the Media of North Rhine-Westphalia: