Dear members of the ESBN Executive Council and colleagues,
When we last met, many were hoping for improvements by the end of 2021. And it does seem that things are improving; for example, Thailand has taken steps to open.
Yet, the realities are that jobs are slow to return, and the seemingly waning crisis does not mean we should let our guard down.
Further, we must highlight that the crisis has continued to stall progress on several Sustainable Development Goals. It has forced governments to rethink their economies and national priorities, with many also committing to build back better and invest in building resilience.
Building back better and greener requires increased resiliency by improving social safety nets, accelerating the transition to low carbon pathways, increasing digitalization, and ensuring we have habitable cities.
These are all embedded in the “ESBN Green Deal for Business,” – which will be adopted today and which I actively support.
Attaining the Sustainable Development Goals will require coordinated efforts by governments, civil society, businesses and public-private investment. It is a call for which the ESBN Green Deal for Business was set up.
The Green Deal will encourage companies to go greener by decarbonizing both their own operations and that of their supply chains, mitigating negative environmental impacts and acting responsibly towards workers and communities.
We would like the ESBN, through this Green Deal and the Asia-Pacific Business Forum, to lead private sector sustainability efforts in the region to accelerate a green transformation by working with relevant stakeholders to identify the policies and initiatives that will speed up sustainability efforts.
Therefore, we call on ESBN members to lead by example and to inspire other businesses in the region to sign up for the Green Deal and to commit to transforming their businesses in line with its principles.
I am pleased to note that the next Business Forum will focus on the Green Deal and will prioritize action on decarbonizing energy systems, promoting a circular economy and green finance, and encouraging climate action by businesses.
These priority areas of the Green Deal are closely linked to the work of ESCAP and I call on ESBN task forces to closely align their activities to our work, explore synergies and identify actions and initiatives in support of the rollout of the Green Deal.
Thank you very much to all ESBN Executive Council members, colleagues and I looking forward to your further deliberation for today and looking forward to the upcoming Asia Pacific Business Forum.
Thank you very much.