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French Version

Arab ministers endorse 'green' corporate practices

In its 19th session held at the League of Arab States in Cairo, Egypt, the Council of Arab Ministers Responsible for the Environment unanimously endorsed on Thursday "The Abu Dhabi Declaration on Corporate Environmental Responsibility and Cleaner Production."

The declaration was issued at the conclusion of the Arab Corporate Environmental Responsibility Summit, which was held in Abu Dhabi on November 29 and attended by over 120 chief executives representing major business sectors from across the region. The summit was organized by the Arab Forum for Environment and Development (AFED), in cooperation with Environment Agency - Abu Dhabi, under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammad bin Zayed al-Nahyan, crown prince of Abu Dhabi. The initiative was supported by the UN Environment Program (UNEP) and the World Business Council for Sustainable Development (WBCSD).

The Arab ministers, in the resolutions issued at the end of their annual session, called on Arab corporations to adhere to the commitments of the declaration, and asked governments to support its implementation.

The declaration called for cleaner and green production methods to be preferred options, as they are fundamental to competitiveness locally, regionally and internationally. It called for the integration of environmental considerations in internal and external operations and the adoption of preventive environmental strategies at all levels of business.

It further called for developing innovative solutions that shift the priority from end-of-pipe to preventive strategies and supporting the provision of products and services that meet environmental and health standards. It also endorsed a commitment to set a target of 20 percent reduction in the use of energy and water in the production of products per unit by the year 2012 from base year 2002, and strive to compete actively in the growing global environmental industries.

It also committed to complying with national and international environmental regulations applicable to operations and business, and pledged to go beyond compliance to develop and adopt voluntary targets and encourage clients, partners and suppliers to do likewise.

The declaration recommended that all corporations in the Arab world develop and publish statements of their environmental policies and the steps they have taken to promote the integration of environmental considerations into their operations. The declaration also requested UNEP, WBCSD and AFED to assist corporations operating in the Arab region to further the principles and goals of this declaration, through providing technical assistance, training and relevant information relating to best practices in achieving corporate environmental responsibility.

At the conclusion of the ministers' session, Jordanian Environment Minister Khaled Irani invited AFED to organize a meeting in Amman for the Jordanian business community aimed at involving national corporations in the implementation of the goals set in the declaration. Preparations are under way between the ministry and AFED to organize the meeting, which will also involve UNEP and WBCSD.

Marseille,12 17 2007
The Daily Star
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