Good News from the Rio+20 Earth Summit

Carole Parkes

9 July 2012

Aston academic, Carole Parkes, was involved with two of the areas successfully agreed on during the Rio+20 Summit.

Carole Parkes, Co-Director Social Responsibility & Sustainability at Aston Business School, was a discussion leader in areas focused on in the summit document ‘The Future We Want’- educating future leaders about sustainable development (PRME) and encourage businesses to adopt sustainability standards (United Nations Global Compact).

The Rio Declaration on the Contribution of Higher Education Institutions and Management Schools to The Future We Want sets out a Roadmap for Management Education to 2020’. This was agreed by all stakeholders at the summit and sets out specific goals for changing management education. Commitments were made by the major accreditation bodies on changes to their requirements in ethics, social responsibility & sustainability and a new initiative setting out new benchmarks for management education was formed.

‘The Inspirational Guide on Integrating Social Responsibility’, which features a case study from Aston University, and was launched at the summit and has been distributed to business and management schools worldwide. In addition the, ‘Fighting Poverty as a Challenge for Business & Management Education Report’, co-authored by Carole Parkes, was presented. The discussions in Rio about this area were a success and the distribution of these documents has ensured clear guidance to the range of business and universities now in support of sustainable development.

The Rio+20 Corporate Sustainability Forum report Innovation & Collaboration, Public Policy Recommendations, Commitments to Action’ sets out private-public partnerships and the sharing of technological know how that were a key part of the discussions in Rio. The commitment by private sector organisations of finance and technology to work with governments on this agenda is one of the solid outcomes of the summit.

Carole Parkes said: “The focus of most reports from Rio focused on the lack of International agreements and overlooked to positive changes that are happening in business and management education aimed at changing the culture of business organisations and the commitments of businesses. The real story of Rio is how the agenda has shifted to implementation. We do not need to wait for politicians to sign agreements; we need to get on with making the changes”.

The summit’s final points stated that there is more than $500bn mobilised, with more than 700 commitments made, prompting the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, to confirm that “transformation is underway”.

For further media information contact Kreesha Pattani, Aston University Communications on 0121 204 4552 or k.pattani1@aston.ac.uk.