Magazine article Ecos

The Good Signs of Progress

Magazine article Ecos

The Good Signs of Progress

Article excerpt

It has been only six months since the last Business Leaders Forum on Sustainable Development, but this year's gathering in early April had a distinctly positive atmosphere--especially considering it closely followed the jolting results of the Millennium Ecosystem Assessment, the most comprehensive review of the state of Earth's natural systems ever undertaken.

1360 experts from 95 countries reported that in just the last 50 years, the rising human population has polluted or overexploited two-thirds of the world's ecological systems, to the point now, where 'the ability of the planet's ecosystems to sustain future generations can no longer be taken for granted'. Surely, if ever there was a confirmation point for immediate, coordinated and decisive action for more sustainable practices, this is it?

There were opening references to the Assessment report at the Business Leaders Forum, and a reminder that we need faster leads from industry and government to effect wholesale changes, but what followed were encouraging signs that Australia's companies are increasingly making sustainable practice fundamental to their operations. Westpac beat 137 British and 27 Australian competitors to top this year's voluntary Corporate Responsibility Index, an outstanding result. The Forum also emphasised, however, the true commitment being shown by other companies in the Index--such as Fosters Group and IBM Australia--to opening themselves up to scrutiny and making changes. …

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